Suzhou Symphony Orchestra performs during the Chinese Lunar New Year concert at the UN headquarters in New York, Feb. 8, 2019. A Chinese orchestra on Friday evening entertained diplomats and overseas Chinese at the UN General Assembly hall in celebration of the Lunar New Year. The performance by the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra marks the first time that the UN headquarters hosts a concert celebrating the most important holiday of the global Chinese community. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese orchestra on Friday evening entertained diplomats and overseas Chinese at the UN General Assembly hall in celebration of the Lunar New Year.
The performance by the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra marks the first time that the UN headquarters hosts a concert celebrating the most important holiday of the global Chinese community.
The orchestra, conducted by the renowned Chen Xieyang, played a medley of Chinese and Western music as well as a fusion of traditional and modern works, including well-known Chinese folk song Jasmine Flower and classics by J. Strauss, Jr. and Tchaikovsky.
Completing the repertoire, the musicians played three more pieces, Beijing Happiness, Beautiful Flower and Full Moon and Radetzky March, after the conductor had to return twice following an enduring applause by the audience.
Friday's music, mostly of upbeat tempo, sent festive vibes across the hall.
Elliot Downey, an associate director of admissions with Tianjin Juilliard School, said the highlight of the evening for him was the Erhu performance, which was his first time hearing the traditional Chinese instrument.
Greek deputy UN envoy Dionyssios Kalamvrezos was brought back to his "good old days" in China when he had worked in Beijing from 2011 to 2014. "The first part of the concert, mostly Chinese music, evoked my attachment to China. I love the Chinese language. I love the Chinese culture."
His teenage daughter Andromeda said in Chinese that she could feel the music was sending a message of a joyous Spring Festival.
Founded in late 2016, the young orchestra from China's eastern city of Suzhou has performed in multiple countries including France, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan, said its director Chen Guangxian.
He added the orchestra is very young and highly international, with its 70 members hailing from 20 countries and regions. The average age of the members is 30.
Besides the symphony, iSuzhou, a digital platform by the municipal government, has been holding an exhibition at the UN General Assembly lobby depicting the culture of Chinese Lunar New Year as well as a historical and modern Suzhou.