Chicago steps up Chinese New Year celebration

Updated: 2015-02-18 11:53

By Jian Ping in Chicago(China Daily USA)

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Chicago steps up Chinese New Year celebration

Members of the National Chinese Traditional Orchestra posing after their performance at the Chicago Symphony Center on Feb 15. [Photo by Jian ping / China Daily]

Sounds of Music, a concert of traditional and contemporary Chinese music performed by the National Chinese Traditional Orchestra with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, elevated the city's celebration of the Chinese New Year to a new level.

The concert at the Chicago Symphony Center on Feb 15 marked the first time that the Chicago Symphony participated in the Chinese New Year celebration.

The audience, a combination of Chinese and Americans, responded with enthusiasm to the performance. All the scores were by Chinese composers, including Nie Er, Jiuyue Ma, Chen Yi and Tan Dun, with familiar tones such as A Place Far, Far Away, Shushan Mountain and Elixir of Love.

"It's a wonderful performance," Steve Robinson, general manager of WFMT Radio Network in Chicago, told China Daily. "It presents traditional Chinese music with a contemporary approach."

"I was moved to tears," said Li-kuo Chang of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, referring both to the high caliber performance and the high turnout of attendees. "It's such a great success," he said.

James Fahey, director of the Symphony Center, also said he impressed with the concert. He thanked all the organizations that made the performance a reality, including the Chinese Fine Arts Society and the Chinese Consulate in Chicago.

The Sounds of China kicked off a series of large-scale celebrations for the Lunar New Year in Chicago until March 1, a line-up that demonstrates the endeavors by the city and local organizations to make Chicago "the most China-friendly city in the US", a goal advocated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The Chicago Cultural Center will feature a lion dance and traditional Chinese music, presented by the Chinese Fine Arts Society, on Thursday.

There will be two large parades, one on Argyle Street on the city's north side on Feb 21; and the other, in Chinatown, on Feb. 22, which will feature marching bands, floats, dragons and lion dance performers.

The Museum of the Art Institute and the Field Museum will also join the celebration, with the former offering free Mandarin audio guides until March 1, and, the opening of its new exhibition, City Windows, on Wednesday, featuring 15 large-scale panels of paper cuttings by Qiao Xiaoguang, an artist and professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.

Even the Chicago Botanic Garden joins the celebration by presenting free puppet and shadow shows, staged by the Shaanxi Folk Arts Group, on Feb. 21.

The city's Chinese New Year celebration will continue until the Lantern Festival at Navy Pier will mark its end on March 1.