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TSO's The Year of the Horse: A Chinese New Year Celebration

Last night we went to see the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's The Year of the Horse: A Chinese New Year Celebration.

When we got to Roy Thompson Hall there were performers doing the Lion Dance. I tried to get a video but it wasn't very good. You can see it here. The Red Lion started to chase me and I ran back to my Dad. :-) 

Here are a couple screenshots from the lion dance.

The TSO was conducted by Long Yu. It was his first time conducting the TSO but he heard them play in China in 1978 when he was 14 years old!

The soloists were:
Song Zuying, vocalist (special appearance)
Yuja Wang, piano
Cho-Liang Lin, violin
Jian Wang, cello

Mark Rowswell, (“Dashan”) hosted. He's Canadian and he's famous in China . He joked that his brother studied music and plays saxophone but the way to be on stage with the TSO was to study Chinese.

The program included:
Li Huanzhi: Spring Festival Overture
Tan Dun: The Triple Resurrection
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme
Dvořák: Romance for Violin and Orchestra
Bai Chengren/Ouyang Changlin: Little Back-Basket
Luo Xiuying and Zheng Hanfeng/Hu Rui: Soaring Song of Miaoling
Xu Peidong/Zheng Nan: Flying Song of the Earth

My favourite piece from last night was the Spring Festival Overture. It had a nice mix of Chinese and Western sounds.

The Triple Resurrection was different because they used water and a colander to make rain sounds. While the pianist played, the percussionist played the same rhythm on the edge of water container. It was really cool.

Song Zuying's singing was amazing! She sang Little Back-Basket, Soaring Song of Miaoling and Flying Song of the Earth. She wore the traditional costume from her region of China. I wish I could have gotten a picture of her! 

Here is a video of Song Zuying singing Little Back-Basket at the Sydney Opera House.

Flying Song of the Earth was definitely a hit with the audience. The orchestra even played it a second time. The second time around everybody clapped along. 

At the end of the concert, when we were leaving, a lady was giving out lai see (red envelopes) with sweeties inside them. 

I hope that next year they use some traditional Chinese instruments in their New Year Concert for the Year of the Ram.

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