On Feb 15th, 2018, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts featured renowned Chinese conductor and composer Tan Dun as the highlight of their three-year Lunar New Year celebration. Tan Dun conducted the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra in a spectacular program. The performance was bookended by two of Igor Stravinsky’s works, opening with Feu d’artifice Op. 4 (Fireworks) and closing with Firebird Suite. The Washington Classical Review, stated that the “first, a colorful and precise read of Fireworks allowed the musicians to acclimate to the hall’s dry acoustics; and finally a triumphant performance of The Firebird Suite. For most of the latter, [Tan] Dun did without a baton and held his hands out like a puppeteer, simply wiggling his fingers to convey his desires. The musicians responded with their best playing of the evening, sounding focused and lithe as [Tan] Dun kept a clean tempo, even towards the end when many orchestras accelerate into a cacophony of splattered notes. Instead of producing haphazard splashes of color, the orchestra glowed on every chord.”
The program also included Guan Xia’s One Hundred Birds Flying Towards the Phoenix with traditional suona soloist Wenwen Liu, Tan Dun’s own Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin and Violoncello: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon featuring Dan Zhu (violin), Jiapeng Nie (cello) and Yumin Wu (piano). “[Tan Dun’s] Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Violoncello was the other U.S. premiere…the work’s repeating rhythms created a meditative, trance-like foundation for layered harmonies and melodic phrases that expanded and contracted throughout. Violinist Dan Zhu, cellist Jiapeng Nie and pianist Yumin Wu were as attuned to one another as they were to their composer-conductor, who turned around often to direct them. The burnished sweetness of Nie’s cello blended well with the mahogany richness of Zhu’s violin, and the air of dreaminess created by pianist Wu in the fourth movement made his ominous counterpart — an incessant, foreboding pulse from the low orchestral strings — all the more unsettling.” =
Tan Dun’s concert was the highlight of Kennedy Center’s three days celebration for 2018’s Lunar New Year Celebration.
Read more here: Washington Classical Review