The Seattle Symphony presents the eleventh annual Celebrate Asia concert on January 27, 2019 at Benaroya Hall. Celebrate Asia honors Seattle’s Asian American community through a concert that explores the rich musical traditions of Asian countries. This annual celebration is presented with a myriad of pre- and post-concert performances that reflect various Asian cultures. Celebrate Asia has become an annual tradition where people and families of all ethnicities come to immerse themselves in an afternoon of cultural exchange and vibrant celebration. This year’s festivities focus on the remarkable musicians and music from South Korea, in addition to Taiwan and Thailand.
South Korean conductor Shiyeon Sung, the first woman to win the Sir Georg Solti International Conductors’ Competition in 2007, will conduct the performance. The concert beings with John Adams’ The Chairman Dances from Nixon in China followed by the world premiere of Taiwanese composer Chia-Ying Lin’s Ascolsia. Ascolsia is the 2019 winner of the Seattle Symphony’s annual Celebrate Asia Composition Competition, a meaningful initiative that honors new works by young composers inspired by rich Asian cultures. Lin’s compositions have been described as having “outstanding originality and creativity;” this piece uses musical elements and instruments of the Beiguan music of Taiwan, a local folk genre that accompanies rituals such as weddings and funerals. The first half of the program concludes with pianist Seong-Jin Cho performing Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. A Deutsche Gramophone artist, Cho was the grand-prize winner of the Chopin International Competition in Warsaw.
The second half of the program features soprano Kathleen Kim on snagS&Snarls by Unsuk Chin, one of today’s most prominent contemporary composers. Chin’s song cycle for soprano and orchestra uses texts from Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, which formed the basis of Chin’s celebrated opera Alice in Wonderland. A dazzling showpiece from Thailand’s foremost composer of Western classical music, Thai composer Narong Prangcharoen’s Pubbanimitta for Orchestra follows. Celebrate Asia closes with two of the most recognizable and beloved Korean songs, “New Arirang” and “I Miss Mount Keumkang.”
Pre-concert performances begin in the Samuel & Althea Stroum Grand Lobby at 2:30 p.m. Performers include the Swaranjali School of Music and Morning Star Cultural Center and International Lion Dance and Martial Arts Team. The celebration concludes with post-concert activities in the Grand Lobby with a performance by CHIKIRI and The School of TAIKO and Bhangra dancing led by Rhythms of India. Admission to both pre- and post-concert activities are included with concert ticket.