Lunar New Year Concert – January 21, 2023
There are many different stories for how it all began, but the most common one is a legend that the celebrations began as a way to scare off a beast called Nian (年) that was terrorizing the people each Spring. Nian was afraid of loud noises and the color red, so the people used firecrackers and red paper to scare away the beast. Each culture celebrates Lunar New Year differently, but in many Asian cultures houses are cleaned to open the space for good luck, families gather together to eat delicious foods, and homes are decorated with red and gold decorations, colors that traditionally represent good fortune.
On January 21st, the AAPI Cultural Center hosted a Lunar New Year Concert at the Highland Music Recital Hall featuring some wonderful performances by the Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team, the Austin Chinese Choir, and the University of North Texas (UNT) Chinese Ensemble.
I. Lion Dance Performance by Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team
II. Austin Chinese Choir
- Ching-Mei Lin 林京美(music), Yu-fen Huang 黃郁芬 (lyrics): A Beautiful Encounter 美麗的相遇
- China Huang 黃中原: Blessing 祝福
- Su Lai 蘇來: Wanderer Like Floating Cloud 浮雲遊子
III. The University of North Texas Chinese Ensemble
- Li Huanzhi 李煥之 (1919-2000): Spring Festival Overture 春節序曲
- The Flower Suite
- Wang Huiran 王惠然 (1935-): Tajik
- Traditional Chinese Music: White Snow in the Sunny Spring 陽春白雪
- Qiu Hetao 丘鶴濤 (1880-1942): Thunders in the Drought 旱天雷
- Chinese Folk Song: Jasmine Flower 茉莉花
- Huang Yijun 黃貽鈞 (1915-1995): Beautiful Flowers and the Full Moon 花好月圓
University of North Texas Chinese Ensemble
Founded in January 2016, the University of North Texas (UNT) Chinese Ensemble is the first Chinese Ensemble established at a Texas university. Directed by founding director Yuxin Mei, the ensemble plays in the traditional Jiangnan sizhu (silk and bamboo) style.
The UNT Chinese Ensemble has performed at many events on campus and throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Metropolitan area, including the Society for Ethnomusicology Southern Plains 2020 Conference, the Celebration of Chinese New Year at the Crow Collection of Asian Art Museum in Dallas, and the AT&T Performance Center Volunteer Award Party. They also performed at the Denver Chinese New Year Celebration at the invitation of the Denver Confucius Institute in February 2018 and at Middle Tennessee State University in 2021.
Yuxin Mei is a renowned pipa performer, educator, and the UNT Chinese Ensemble founding director. She is also a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at UNT and winner of the Presser Graduate Music Award in 2018. Her paper, “Negotiating with Sound: The Living Sound Niche Created by the Chinese Immigrants in Dallas Area” received the 2016 Vida Chenoweth Student Paper Prize award from the Society for Ethnomusicology Southern Plains Chapter in 2016. She was a Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program Artist Mentors in 2020 among other grants.
Yuxin holds BA and MA degrees in Pipa Performance and Education from the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing and the Xingai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou, China. From 2006-2012, she was on faculty at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music and prior to this she was the Artistic Director and soloist for Zhuhai Chinese Music Chamber Orchestra. She has performed in many countries, including China, Portugal, Norway, Singapore, France, and Germany and taught masterclasses at the Macau Art School and the Chong Hong Chinese Music Association in Macau. From 2012 to 2016, she was invited to Norway as part of the cultural exchange project “Spoor” hosted by The Cultural Rucksack in Akershus. In 1998, Mei released the album Spring of Zhu Hai.
Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team
The Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team (TDDT) is a performance-driven dragon and lion dance group based in Austin, Texas. The team is formed by local college students and Austinites from all walks of life with a goal to share and in many cases introduce the art of dragon and lion dancing to the community.
TDDT is one of the few teams in Central Texas that performs year-round for a wide variety of events. In the past, they have performed for elementary schools, cultural events, festivals, restaurants, and weddings. Their prime performance season is during the Lunar New Year where they perform the gauntlet of back-to-back performances for businesses and organizations all over Austin.
Austin Chinese Choir
The Austin Chinese Choir is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious, amateur mixed-voice chorus. Their mission is to facilitate the exchange of Chinese and Western cultures in music. The choir was formed by a group of music lovers at the Austin Chinese School in 1991. In addition to holding their concerts, they had joint concerts with other choral groups as well as invited performances. They also actively participate in many community events. In 2011 and 2017, they were invited to perform in several cities in Taiwan, and in 2019, invited by the “Voice of Love Music Foundation Los Angeles” to perform in California. The Austin Chinese Choir was invited to perform at the Houston “Voice of Harmony” Concert many times.
M-F: 9am-1pm & 2pm-5pm
11928 Stonehollow Drive,
Austin, TX 78758