Philadelphia Orchestra celebrating Lunar New Year with music, movie premiere

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Lunar New Year is a 15-day festival in China and other Asian countries.

"There's just a lot of momentum and joy and celebration," says Executive Director Ryan Fleur.

To spread that joy to the other side of the world, the Philadelphia Orchestra is performing two works that celebrate Asian culture.

"The first is a piece called The Butterfly Lovers' Violin Concerto, based on a popular Chinese legend of a tragic love story.

"This is a work that was written in 1959 and is actually the most frequently performed orchestral work in the world," Fleur says.

The concert also features a work called Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women.

"Nu Shu is a Chinese word that refers to a secret language only spoken by mothers and daughters in the Hunan province of China," Fleur explains.

The orchestra commissioned the work from Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun, and it includes music and a movie.

"He went around the Hunan Province; he made films, capturing the essence of some of the music and some of the words that these women have spoken," Fleur says.

The project has been in the works for 3 years and this will be the premiere.

"There's one particular movement where there's a woman who's actually rowing down a river, and she's singing a song about her upcoming wedding," Fleur says, "the orchestra accompanies that, and it's really quite, quite beautiful.

The Philadelphia Orchestra launched its digital stage during the pandemic with the hope that the platform will cross frontiers.

"One of the beauties of music is that it's an international language and we're trying to meet people where they are," Fleur says.

The Philadelphia Orchestra: Lunar New Year Celebration |Website

February 4-14, 2021
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