Michael Christie and New West Symphony present A Tour of China

Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021 at 3pm PST – Concert Additional Cultural Festival Events Feb. 25, 26, 27


Featuring Pipa Virtuoso Wu Man, Mezzo-Soprano Sasha Cooke, and Erhu Master Hong Wang

New West Symphony (NWS), with Grammy-winning conductor Michael Christie as Artistic and Music Director, continues its 2020-21 groundbreaking and reimagined season of “Global Sounds, Local Cultures” with A Tour of China a celebration of Chinese New Year and the Spring Lantern Festival. This four-day cultural festival culminates with a symphony concert on Sunday, February 28, 2021 at 3pm PST. Featured performers include the world’s premier Pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Wu Man; multi-Grammy-winning soprano Sasha Cooke; and a master of erhu, Hong Wang. New West’s multimedia celebration will explore music of Wu Man, Tan Dun, Mahler, Beethoven and traditional arrangements for orchestra – Hua Yanjun’s “Ah Bing” / Wu Ziqiang’s “Moon Reflecting in the Second Spring.”

Along with the symphony concert, Season and Concert Passport holders can enjoy access to companion cultural festival programs for further immersion into the music, the artistry, and the culture that inspired the concert, curated by Michael Christie. These events will take place on Thursday, February 25 at 6pm PST – an informative, audience-friendly Pre-Concert Talk via Zoom from UCLA Senior Lecturer David Ravetch, discussing the music to be presented on Sunday’s concert; Friday, February 26 at 7pm PST – a Culture Insights program offering insights into contributions made by Chinese Americans to California’s culture including demonstrations of traditional instruments, and discussions about history, arts and music with partner organizations; and Saturday, February 27 at 7pm PST – Meet the Artists featuring interviews and performances with Pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music Wu Man, Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, and erhu master Hong Wang.

Christie will be available to answer questions in the live chat during each program. In addition to each initial live-streamed event, all programs will be available on-demand to passport holders shortly after the initial broadcast ends. A Tour of China is presented in partnership with the Conejo Chinese Cultural Association, the Camarillo Kung Fu and Lion Dance Association, and the Pacific Pearl Music Association.

“There is palpable excitement of performing together again (even at physical distance) combined with the thrill of exploring the influence of Chinese musical culture on Western musical traditions,” said Christie. “I am honored to welcome Wu Man, Sasha Cooke and Hong Wang, artists of extraordinary talent and notoriety, to the Kavli Theater stage to join our magnificent New West Symphony musicians. These artists are such joyful performers that I know our festival patrons will experience ravishing and energetic musical performances and unique traditional instrumental virtuosity.”

A Tour of China is the fourth in a series of festivals being held October 2020 through June 2021 designed to spotlight the vivid cultural influences that have shaped classical music and Southern California itself. Each festival tradition has strong connections to symphonic music of the past and present. The season’s repertoire includes works composed by J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Elgar, Gershwin, Mahler, Mozart, Schubert, Vaughan Williams, Scott Joplin, Florence Price, Toru Takemitsu, George Walker and more. Contemporary composers include Reena Esmail, Shinichi Yuize, John Williams, and others.

The season has so far included A Tour of Japan (October 2020) featuring violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, NWS concertmaster Alyssa Park, and Japanese drum ensemble Makoto Taiko; A Tour of India (November 2020) where works of Reena Esmail, Debussy, Elgar, Turina, Cooke and Philip Glass shared the spotlight with performances of Hindustani and Carnatic music; and Holocaust Remembrance (January 2021), to commemorate and honor six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism voices, featuring touching historical context and music of the early 20th century and today exploring Jewish themes. All three festivals are now available for on-demand viewing to passport holders at www.newwestsymphony.org/2020-21-virtual-season.

Program Information: A Tour of China – Symphony Concert and Cultural Festival

Sunday, February 28, 2021 at 3pm PST – A Tour of China Symphony Concert

Michael Christie, Artistic and Music Director

Wu Man, Pipa

Sasha Cooke, mezzo soprano

Hong Wang, erhu and chinese wind instruments

Hua Yanjun “Ah Bing” / Wu Ziqiang “Moon Reflecting in the Second Spring”

Wu Man: Two Chinese Paintings

Tan Dun: Concerto for Pipa and Strings

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat Major. Op. 74 (“Harp Quartet”)

Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (arr. A. Schoenberg)

Additional programming may be announced at a later date

Additional Cultural Programs Included with a Concert Passport

Thursday, February 25th, 2021 | 6pm PST – Pre-Concert Talk with David Ravetch

An informative, audience-friendly Zoom presentation from UCLA Senior Lecturer David Ravetch discussing the music to be presented on the Sunday, February 28 A Tour of China program.

Friday, February 26th, 2021 | 7pm PST – Culture Insights

A program offering insights into contributions made by Chinese Americans to California’s culture featuring demonstrations of traditional instruments, and discussions about history, arts and music with partner organizations Conejo Chinese Cultural Association, the Camarillo Kung Fu and Lion Dance Association, and the Pacific Pearl Music Association.

Saturday, February 27th, 2021 | 7pm PST – Meet the Artists

Interviews with Pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music Wu Man, Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, and erhu master Hong Wang. Performances to include Dance of the Golden Dragon 金蛇狂舞and The Red River in the Sunset 傍晚的红河 by Wu Man and Hong Wang.

Ticketing Information

Cost for each “Festival Passport” is $25 per household. Patrons may also select an “All Access Season Passport” for the full season for $160 for all festivals. Tickets and memberships may be purchased online at www.newwestsymphony.org or by phone at 805-497-5880 or 866-776-8400. After the initial airing, all concerts and content will be streamed online and/or available to watch on-demand through September 30, 2021.

New West Symphony Upcoming Concerts

Program details will be released four weeks prior to the streaming dates.

A Tour of Iran Sunday, April 11, 2021, 3pm PT

A Tour of Mexico Sunday, May 2, 2021, 3pm PT

A Tour of South Korea Sunday, June 13, 2021, 3pm PT

Community partners and advisors who have collaborated with New West Symphony on the development on the 2020-21 season include Ronald Reagan Presidential Library; Hirokazu Kosaka, Japanese American Cultural Community Center; Composer Reena Esmail; and Mark Kligman and Supeena Adler from UCLA’s Department of Ethnomusicology. Season sponsors are Home Helpers Home Care, Karen and Dr. Paul Finkel, Susan Burgos, and Fern & Dr. Arnold Heyman. New West Symphony has received grants to support this season from the Colburn Foundation, California Arts Council, Edison Foundation, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Neiman Marcus Foundation, TOArts, City of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Women’s Club, Meadowlark Service League, City of Agoura Hills, Bank of America Foundation, and others.


About New West Symphony: Now in its 26th season, the New West Symphony draws its players from the rich talent pool of accomplished Los Angeles-area musicians. Its mission is to inspire passion for symphonic music through live performances and education initiatives that engage and enrich its diverse audiences. For more information, visit www.newwestsymphony.org or connect on Facebook and Instagram.

About Michael Christie: Grammy award-winning conductor Michael Christie is a thoughtfully innovative conductor, equally at home in the symphonic and opera worlds, who is focused on making the audience experience at his performances entertaining, enlightening, and enriching. The New York Times reports, “Michael Christie is a director open to adventure and challenge,” and the Cincinnati Enquirer declares, “If Michael Christie represents the future of music in this country, the future looks promising indeed.” For more information, visit www.michaelchristieonline.com.

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