Birmingham welcomes Year of the Tiger with online concert

A special online concert from the University of Birmingham will mark the Chinese New Year with a magical fusion of East and West.

Didi playing piano and flautist

Pianist Di Xiao and flautist Eimear McGeown perform in the online concert

Music lovers have the chance to attend a special online concert from the University of Birmingham marking the Chinese New Year with a magical fusion of East and West.

World-class pianist Di Xiao will be joined by flautist Eimear McGeown, performers from Chinese musical arts centre Euphoria China, and for the first time, students in China studying at our Jinan University-University of Birmingham Joint Institute in Guangzhou.

Together, these exciting musicians will celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Tiger with a mix of traditional Chinese and Western pieces.

The event streams on the University’s WeChat channel from Thursday 3 February. WeChat users can find account by searching the WeChat ID unibirmingham on their WeChat app.

It will also be available from 1pm on the same day via the University of Birmingham’s Facebook and YouTube accounts.

Recorded in the University’s Elgar Concert Hall, the event highlights the University’s engagement with China, which ranges from research collaborations with the country’s best universities to working alongside the municipal governments in Guangzhou and Nanjing.

Professor Jon Frampton, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (China) and Director of the China Institute, said: “Chinese New Year offers the perfect opportunity for the University of Birmingham to reflect upon our proud and longstanding relationship with China, which spans over 100 years.

“We would have loved to return to the China Institute’s tradition of marking the Lunar and Chinese New Years with our concert on campus, but current circumstances mean that our musical celebration must remain online.

“We are delighted that these exciting musicians have joined us for this outstanding event. It is particularly special to welcome students from the Jinan-Birmingham Joint Institute – they are a fine example of our flourishing education and research partnerships with China.

“We hope our friends in Birmingham, China, and around the world will join us in sharing a fantastic musical experience that will be both joyful and inspire a positive feeling for the future that lies ahead.”

Birmingham’s relationship with China dates back to the foundation of the University. The first Chinese student joined the University in 1907 and there are now over 14,000 Chinese alumni.

There is also a strong musical connection with China, as the first original Chinese violin composition was Difficult Road (Xinglu Nan), composed in 1919 by Birmingham’s famous geology alumnus Li Siguang.

The University of Birmingham launched its China Institute in 2012 to gather together its wide-ranging research and teaching activities with Chinese partners and to encourage inter-disciplinary research across the University that focuses on collaboration with China.

Notes for editors

  • For more information, interviews or photos, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from nearly 150 countries.
  • The China Institute is a central hub for Chinese interests at the University of Birmingham. It brings together people, ideas, funding, research and academic excellence to help create opportunities to work in partnership with China.

Artist biographies

Di Xiao (Didi), Piano

Described as ‘a pianist of awesome gifts’, Di Xiao’s international career started at 17, when she played the Yellow River Piano Concerto for the Malaysian Royal Family in Kuala Lumpur. Subsequently, she has taken to the stage across the globe and in 2009 was selected as the UK’s representative to the universally acclaimed European Concert Halls Organisation (ECHO) Rising Stars series, which took her to some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls. In 2019 Di completed a sold-out tour, which took in 8 cities across China, showcasing her new album “Femmes de Legende” which features female composers. Di is director of the International Piano Academy and in 2017 was awarded the ‘Big Ben Award Top Ten Outstanding Chinese Young Persons Prize’.

Euphoria China

Euphoria China Arts Is a Chinese music art center that aims to offer creative traditional Chinese musical performances, events and sessions across the U.K. Euphoria China Arts aims to make progressive contributions to promote Chinese music and culture, as well as delivering western stylised music with a Chinese Musical flair.

Eimear McGeown, flute

Irish flautist Eimear McGeown has steadily built a reputation as being one of the world's most versatile exponents of both the classical and Irish flute. She has appeared as a soloist throughout the USA, South America, South Korea, Japan, China, The Philippines, Russia and Europe. Two of her most notable solo performances have been on BBC's Last Night of the Proms and the World Premiere of Dave Morris’ Concerto in the Library of Congress in Washington DC.