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Orchestra performance to honor the birth of a dragon

30 p.m. Jan. 21 and 7 p.m. Jan. 22.

The ball has been dropped, confetti spread near and far, many resolutions made and broken, but the clock is still counting down to the Year of the Dragon.    

In celebration of the Chinese New Year, the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra will be performing the program “Happy Year of the Dragon,” featuring Chinese-born pianist Di Wu, at the Southern Theatre at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday.   

The program will feature four pieces: two by Mozart and Chopin and two by Chinese composers Yao Chen and Huang Ruo. The orchestra will accompany Wu during Chopin’s “Piano Concerto No. 1.” The program selections are meant to highlight and blend eastern and western orchestral styles. Yao Chen and Ruo‘s works emphasize the use of traditional Chinese instruments and percussion.

“We’re always trying to create different experiences for audiences,” said Janet Chen, executive director.

The pieces written by Yao Chen and Ruo have never been performed in Columbus. Janet Chen said they were chosen to showcase the upcoming talent emerging from Asia.

PCO wanted a concert that could celebrate the Chinese New Year and “combine the influences of the east and more traditional works,” Janet Chen said. “It will open people up to different composers and styles and what the Chinese New Year is all about.”

PCO was founded in 1978 with the goal of delivering “a unique classical music experience,” according to the ProMusica website. Unlike a symphony, a chamber orchestra is much smaller and delivers a different performance because of its size.

“Chamber orchestra doesn’t have the sheer power of a symphony orchestra, but it has a much more intimate sound,” said Marc Moskovitz, principal cellist.

Moskovitz said he looks forward to hearing all parts of the orchestra come together for the performance.

“Aside from our own part, we have no clue what it will sound like as an ensemble,” Moskovitz said.

In China, the New Year or Spring Festival is a special time during which people come together to celebrate with family and friends, said Yaqian Zhang, a second-year in business administration.

“Chinese New Year is like Christmas here,” said Lidong Yang, a third-year in finance.

An orchestral performance is not the traditional way to celebrate the Chinese New Year, Zhang said.

“I think it’s celebrating Chinese New Year in an American way,” Zhang said.

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