China Festival coming to Orange County, via Carnegie Hall

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A bicoastal collaboration between the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and New York’s Carnegie Hall is in the works to bring performing arts groups from China for a five-week festival this fall.

Ancient Paths, Modern Voices’ will kick off in mid-October at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. The festival will include classical music and folk art performances, and feature appearances by superstar pianist Lang Lang and the Shanghai Symphony. The festival marks the first time Carnegie Hall’s live programming will be made available to audiences outside New York.


The Philharmonic Society is also working with the Orange County Museum of Art, South Coast Repertory and several other institutions to produce ancillary programs in conjunction with the musical events.

One of the festival’s biggest draws is expected to be the Quanzhou Marionette Theatre, which is scheduled for three performances (Oct. 15-17) at the center’s Samueli Theatre. The troupe will perform music, song and puppetry to illustrate selections from traditional Chinese folk tales.

The Colburn Orchestra will take the stage of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on Oct. 29 for a concert featuring Tan Dun’s ‘Out of Peking Opera’ and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.

On Nov. 3, Lang Lang will be joined by a select group of young classical musicians from China in what is being billed as ‘an intimate evening’ of solo and chamber music. The concert’s participants will include erhu player Guo Gan, tenor GeQuan Wang and 10-year-old piano prodigy Marc Yu.

Keep reading for the full program of events at the China Festival ...

The festival ends Nov. 24 with a performance by the Shanghai Symphony, which is replacing the previously announced China Philharmonic. Long Yu will conduct the orchestra in a concert featuring Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Chen Qigang’s ‘Iris Devoilee.’ The piano soloist will be Yuja Wang.

Rounding out the musical portion of the festival will be a concert of folk musicians scheduled for Oct. 27.

The Orange County Museum of Art will present an exhibition titled ‘Video Work by Gao Shiqiang and Chen Qiulin,’ which pairs multimedia creations by these two artists, who are both under 40. The exhibition runs Oct. 11 to Jan. 3, 2010.

On Nov. 17, South Coast Repertory will present a staged reading of a contemporary Chinese play, the title of which is to be announced at a later date.

The Orange County festival will run parallel with the one at Carnegie Hall, which begins Oct. 21. The New York festival will include a larger selection of performers, with appearances by most of the above artists as well as Shen Wei Dance Arts, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and the Han Tang Yuefu Music and Dance Ensemble.

-- David Ng