VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Image China: East / West Symphonic Concert, presented by China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd., will debut in Vancouver on November 22. Renowned Chinese conductor, Tong Chen, will lead the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO), together with renowned pipa virtuoso Wu Man, violinist Yi-Jia Susanne Hou, bass Hao Jiang Tian, and soprano Raquel Suarez Groen, to present a symphonic celebration featuring east-west cultural exchange.
Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2022 at 8pm
Venue: Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver
"This concert is a perfect blend of Chinese and Western masterpieces, including a special chance to hear the work of celebrated Vancouver composer Jean Coulthard." says Angela Elster, President and CEO of the VSO and VSO School of Music. "The VSO is honored to welcome the Chinese community and symphonic music lovers to the Orpheum for what promises to be an unforgettable evening." Founded in 1919, the Grammy and Juno-award winning Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) is one of the three largest orchestra in Canada. The VSO has performed more than 150 concerts each year throughout Vancouver and the province of British Columbia and reached over 270,000 people annually, impressing audiences of all ages and backgrounds with its high-quality and passionate performances of classical, pop and multicultural music.
"We are equally thrilled to cooperate with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to bring out the best of us. The fusion of Eastern and Western styles will fully reflect the artistic characteristics of musical diversity and inclusivity" said Tong Chen, the conductor of the East / West Symphonic Concert. This century-old orchestra will be led by the famous Chinese conductor Tong Chen in the Image China: East/West Symphonic Concert. As a prizewinner of the prestigious International Malko Conducting competition, Chen has quickly established herself as one of her generation's most promising and exciting young conductors. She has worked with numerous orchestras across the globe including the Orquestra Sinfo?nica do Estado de Sa?o Paulo, Besanc?on Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Symphony Orchestra. She is also a regular guest conductor of symphony orchestras throughout China.
For more information about programs and artists, please refer to Program and Artist Notes below.
Program and Artist Notes
The opening piece Opera life is a soundtrack excerpt from the large-scale Chinese dance drama "Opera Warrior" which received an enthusiastic response when it debuted in Vancouver in 2016. The music will present the local audience with the essence of the rich historical and humanistic resources of Shanxi province to convey the fascinating Chinese traditional culture, and to celebrate the spirit of Chinese people who are brave to embrace difficulties and innovative changes, leading the audience into this Celebration of East-West cultural exchange.
Canada Mosaic Suite: Introduction and Three Folk Songs is the work of renowned Canadian composer and music educator Jean Coulthard. As one of a trio of women composers who dominated Western Canadian music in the twentieth century, Coulthard's music is known for its profound emotion and purity of expression. This work was composed in 1974 when Coulthard's composition gradually matured. This period also witnessed her creation of increasingly profound and complex works which fully demonstrated her mastery of musical form and content. Introduction and 3 Folk Songs is an extraordinary statement of her musical expression and compositional skills.
Composed in the summer of 2013 in Xi'an, Pipa Concerto No.2 by the well-known Chinese composer Jiping Zhao is a work jointly commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and six symphony orchestras in the United States. The performer Wu Man, recognized as the world's premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, is an iconic figure in crossover music and cross-cultural exchange. As the Gramophone Magazine comments, "If any one artist has become an ambassador for multiple artistic communities, it's the vibrant pipa master Wu Man. A one-woman force of nature, she is a key figure not only for bringing Chinese traditional music to new audiences, but in becoming a muse for all manner of contemporary composers, from Tan Dun to Terry Riley". Wu has always been a purveyor of Chinese music and an active advocate of the promotion and preservation of traditional music. Mr. Zhao has mentioned that the concerto is indeed tailor-made for Wu since the work specifically leverages the unique style featuring the pleasant-sounding Wu dialect and Su Hang Pingtan art from Wu Man's hometown, and such a style also best reflects the rhythm of the pipa. On the basis of the traditional Western concerto structure, the work explores more on the poetic expression of ideas and emotions, allowing it to stimulate the audience's multi-layered imagination.
The household name Butterfly Lovers violin concerto will be performed by the amazing violinist Yi-Jia Susanne Hou. Taking a romantic Chinese folk tale as its theme and tunes from Yue opera as its material, the music combines symphonic music with the representational approach of Chinese folk opera music. It is the most famous violin piece ever written in China, achieving the genesis of the nationalization of symphonic music. Born in a musical family, the Chinese Canadian violinist Yi-Jia Susanne Hou has made a name for herself on the international concert stage, performing as a soloist with major orchestras in over 50 countries. 2016 saw her perform and record the Butterfly Lovers violin concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor John Nelson at Cadogan Hall, a work she subsequently toured within Canada and China.
After the poignant love story from the orient, the renowned baritone singer Haojiang Tian will sing the Non più andrai, an excerpt from one of Mozart's most outstanding operas Le Nozze di Figaro. Tian is the only Chinese singer who has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera for 20 years. He has worked with more than 30 major opera houses around the world and as a Chinese opera performer, Tian has earned a worldwide reputation, respected in both Eastern and Western opera worlds. As The New York Times wrote in a feature article about Tian, "the reason for Tian's success lies in his experience, and his experience itself is an opera".
All I Ask of You from The Phantom of the Opera by musical master Andrew Lloyd Webber will be jointly performed by Haojiang Tian and Raquel Suarez Groen. Groen made her Broadway debut in the iconic role of Carlotta Giudicelli in The Phantom of the Opera which she has since performed over 1000 performances in her 5 years with the company. Known for her fresh, bright voice and her versatile performances of complex characters, Groen is a force to be reckoned with on both opera and theatre stages and she has been invited to concerts around the world.
The grand finale of this concert is the classic song "On the Fields of Hope" composed by the famous Chinese composer Shi Guangnan and it will be sung in Chinese by soprano Raquel Suarez-Gren. This is a song celebrating prosperity and through the praise of the fields of hope in their hometown, the song expresses people's aspiration for a better life, re-creating for the audience the rustic countryside at that time and the harmonious picture of the people longing for prosperity and a better future.
About Image China
The Image China Concert, a cultural exchange initiative presented by China Arts and Entertainment Group, aims to advance the best works of Chinese stage performing arts around the world and continuously enhance the international influence of Chinese culture. Since its establishment in 2009, it has selected more than 40 high-quality plays from more than 30 art troupes in China, and performed more than 600 performances in mainstream theaters in?countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. The total number of spectators at various venues has surpassed one million. Since 2021, Image China has appeared in mainstream overseas theaters in the form of co-productions. In addition to the United States, other countries that have already completed or will soon stage Image China concerts include Austria, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada.
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