Music lovers attended a special concert at the University of Birmingham marking the Chinese New Year with a ‘magical’ evening of music from across China.
Marking 10 years of Chinese New Year concerts staged by the University’s China Institute, the musical evening was the first to take place on campus after events in 2021 and 2022 were hosted online.
World-class pianist Di Xiao was joined by percussionist Beibei Wang, flautist Max Gittings, multi-instrumentalist Michael Skelton, face-changing artist Shuai Zhao, dancer Dan Du and dancer Hangyu Zhou plus young artists from the Overseas Chinese Association School, in Birmingham.
Shuai Zhao and Dan Du’s young sons Aidan and Daniel also performed on piano and violin in the sold-out event to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Rabbit, which was held in the Elgar Concert Hall at the University of Birmingham.
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.Professor Jon Frampton - Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (China) and Director of the China Institute, University of Birmingham
The audience heard several well-loved pieces including Colourful Cloud Chasing a Silver Moon (Peixun Chen), Bull Fights Tiger (Baocan Wang), Marimba Spiritual (Minoru Miki), and My Homeland.
The concert highlighted the University’s engagement with China, which ranges from research collaborations with the country’s best universities to working alongside the municipal government in Guangzhou.
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’re delighted to mark the tenth anniversary of our Chinese New Year concerts by welcoming all our musicians to this magical event, which took our audience on an exciting tour through Chinese culture.
“Our celebration also gives us the chance to bring together people from the diverse communities in the University, as well as further afield in the city, which have an interest in Chinese culture and working with Chinese partners.”
Birmingham’s relationship with China dates 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 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.
In addition to the Birmingham-based Institute, the University established a presence in Shanghai in 2009 and opened the Guangzhou Centre in 2011, to host its activities in China. The China Institute recently published its Annual Report for the calendar year 2022 – outlining its successes and engagement with partners in China.