Chinese orchestra to play Houston

Updated: 2015-01-21 13:21

By May Zhou in Houston(China Daily USA)

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Chinese orchestra to play Houston

Steve Wenig (left), director of community partnerships of the Houston Symphony, and Steve Mikelman, deputy director of Houston Chinese Community Center, announce a Lunar New Year performance by Forbidden City Orchestra from Beijing at the center on Tuesday. May Zhou / China Daily

The stirrings of traditional Chinese musical instruments can be heard in Houston at the end of this month.

The Houston Symphony will present a Lunar New Year celebration concert featuring the Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra (FCCO), a 12-member world-class ensemble from Beijing.

"Eight musicians from the string section of Houston Symphony will join the Chinese musicians to perform for this cross-cultural music fun," said Steve Wenig, director of community partnerships at the Houston Symphony, on Tuesday.

FCCO is now on a US tour, performing in Miami, Florida.

The concert, scheduled for 2 pm on Jan 31, will be held at the Houston Chinese Community Center. A total of 12 pieces of classical Chinese music will be performed.

Two pieces will be a collaborative effort between members of the Houston Symphony and FCCO; one solo piece, Bluegrass, by the Houston Symphony, and the rest by guest musicians with traditional Chinese instruments such as the guzheng, pipa and erhu.

Comprised of renowned musicians and professors from the China Conservatory - China's most prestigious music school - the FCCO has participated in many festivals across the world, including the Brisbane and Canberra international music festivals in Australia, the George Enescu Festival in Romania, the Cervantes Festival in Mexico and the Chinese Festival of Arts in Singapore.

"Every member of FCCO is a virtuoso; this is truly a very talented group," Wenig said.

By bringing the concert to the community center, the Houston Symphony is fulfilling its new mission of inspiring a diverse audience, he said.

The FCCO will also hold a master class on Feb 1 in collaboration with the North America Youth Chinese Orchestra (NAYCO) at the Asia Society Texas Center.

NAYCO, a youth music group with a focus on Chinese instruments, is led by pipa virtuoso Wu Changlu, who arranged Frontier Song to be performed by the Houston Symphony and FCCO. About 30 members of NAYCO will participate in the lesson.

"FCCO members are all masters of various Chinese instruments," Wu said. "Our kids are extremely lucky to have such a wonderful opportunity to learn from the best of the best. We really appreciate Houston Symphony's arranging this for us. This also goes well with FCCO's mission to carry forward the traditional music of China, and develop the fine music and culture of the Chinese nation."