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CSO To Ring In A New 'New Year'

By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 6, 2015 4:00PM

Photo credit: Bryan Thompson

We aren’t that far into 2015, but much has been happening in and around Symphony Center for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. There have been generous donations by Bruce and Martha Clinton for the setup of what will now be known as the Clinton Family Fund Principal Timpani Chair; the CSO Association has seen its administrative staff change, with the institution of new leadership to include Cristina Rocca, who is succeeding Martha Gilmer as the group’s Vice President of Artistic Planning; and the group as a whole has been doing some traveling, taking up residency in New York at Carnegie Hall.

Their recent return, delayed by the recent spate of blizzards, has even postponed their heavily anticipated All Access Chamber Music performance, originally scheduled two nights ago. (If you had tickets to that concert, it will be rescheduled and your tickets honored for the new date.)

One of the most exciting things coming up for the CSO, though, is its revelry in Chinese New Year. The CSO will be presenting a special night of music to ring in the new year on Sunday Feb. 15 at 3 p.m., and will feature conductor and composer Jiuyue Ma as well as 26 guest artists from the National Chinese Traditional Orchestra. If the name does not sound immediately familiar, you may still have heard Ma’s music. He contributed to the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has been involved in several other large projects.

Music planned for the event will include both traditional, regional folk music for the holiday as well as some of Ma’s own compositions, and will feature the use of such traditional Chinese instruments as thexiao, a bamboo flute, and ruan, a type of lute. A selection of the CSO’s finest will be playing some of Jiuyue’s more contemporary works, including Gobi Canticle, which features echoes of Mongolian chants and shamanic rituals. This is the first celebration of its kind for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the unique instrumentation, guests and original compositions make it a can’t miss event. Get tickets ASAP and spend a relaxing afternoon ringing in a new new year.