Chinese Fine Arts Society to Celebrate 30th Anniversary With FORCES OF NATURE: THE FIVE ELEMENTS PROJECT, 4/27
The Chinese Fine Arts Society (CFAS), Chicago's champion for the art and culture of China led by Julie Tiao Ma, celebrates its milestone 30th Anniversary Season with a year-long series of concerts, lectures and events inspired by the world's fundamental building blocks in Forces of Nature: The Five Elements Project. Inspired by late CFAS founder Barbara Tiao, who many considered a "force of nature," The Five Elements Project is themed around the five elements found throughout Chinese art, science and philosophy: earth, fire, metal, water and wood. The Five Elements Project makes a splash with its first event, "Water," a concert featuring traditional and contemporary works by renowned Chinese composers, including a World Premiere by New York composer Huang Ruo, at the University of Chicago's Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street in Hyde Park, Sunday, April 27 at 3 pm.
The Five Elements Project opener "Water" is curated by Qing Hou, Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist and CFAS artist-in-residence. Wang Lu from the University of Chicago's Center for East Asian Studies presents a pre-concert talk beginning at 2 pm on the five elements and how western audiences can better understand eastern philosophy through these keystones. The "Water" program is co-presented by the Logan Center for the Arts and is part of Envisioning China, a five-month festival of art and culture presented by UChicago Arts (envisioningchina.uchicago.edu).
Many of the Chinese Fine Arts Society concerts feature instruments harkening back to China's 5,000-year-old musical traditions. The "Water" program features Ruo's Phrases of the Stream, a work featuring Yihan Chen on the pipa (a four-stringed plucked instrument similar to a lute) and Chicagoan Betti Xiang on the erhu (a two-stringed bowed instrument similar to a fiddle). A collage of musical images drawn from the flowing, breaking, gathering and diverging of a mountain stream, Ruo's piece was originally commissioned in 2002 by George Tiao, husband of CFAS founder Barbara Tiao, for Barbara's 70th birthday. This marks the work's first public performance. The "Water" concert also includes: Traditional Chinese Tune: The Love of the Wei River (featuring Yihan Chen, pipa); Traditional Chinese Tune: Winter Duck Playing in Water (featuring YuQi Deng, guzheng); Traditional Chinese Tune: Flowing Spring Stream (featuring YuQi Deng, guzheng); Lake by Lei Liang (featuring Eugenia Moliner, flute, and Jennifer Woodrum, clarinet); The Stream Flows by Bright Sheng (featuring MingHuan Xu, violin, and Jessica Tong, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago dancer); Three Gorges Dam Capriccio by Liu Wenjin (featuring Betti Xiang, erhu, and Amy Briggs, piano); and Happy Rain On A Spring Night by Chen Yi (Emanuele Andrizzi, conductor; Eugenia Moliner, flute; Jennifer Woodrum, clarinet; MingHuan Xu, violin; David Cunliffe, cello; and Amy Briggs, piano).