Late in January, the New York Philharmonic held its sixth-annual Chinese New Year Concert and Gala. Karen LeFrak, who is on The Phil’s Board of Directors, and her husband Richard LeFrak led the fashionable parade to the David Geffen Hall. The nights co-chairs and The Honorary Gala Chairmen are Mr. and Mrs. Maurice R. Greenberg, H.E. ambassador Liu Jieyi and H.E. consul-general Zhang Qiyue. The other gala co-chairmen were Angela Chen, Guoqing Chen and Ming Liu, Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar L. Tang and Shirley Young.
The celebratory evening ushered in the Year of the Rooster that highlighted the cultural heritage of China and honored the Chinese American community. Maestro Long Yu conducted the program, which featured sensual trumpet player Alison Balsom in the U.S. Premiere of Chen Qigang’s Joie Éternelle, for trumpet and orchestra. Magnificent soprano Sumi Jo sang works by Puccini and Adam, as well as three Chinese folk songs. The program also featured concertmaster Frank Huang as soloist in Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso; Ravel’s Boléro; and the Spring Festival Overture, Li Huanzhi’s traditional work celebrating the Chinese New Year, which opened the concert.
Among those leading the applause were Board Chairman Oscar S. Schafer and his wife Didi, president Matthew Van Besien, Mary J Wallach, Dani Bedoni, Alan and Christina McDonald, Allyson Tang, Heidi and Christian A. Lange, Kate and Gary Parr, Mark and Filippa Williams, Richard and Christie Ulrich, Sarah Jane and Trevor Gibbons, Sallie Hou, Bonko Chan and Sana Sabbagh. A traditional Dragon Dance was performed by the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza preceding the concert and inside David Geffen Hall during the evening. The dancers were joined on the plaza by students from the National Dance Institute, who performed a rooster dance.
The concert was followed by a traditional Chinese attire/black-tie dinner, on the Grand Promenade.
The evening’s event was catered by Restaurant Associates, and the red décor was provided by Van Vliet & Trap. $1 million was raised for the Philharmonic and a portion of the night’s proceeds will support the New York Philharmonic’s School Partnership Program at P.S. 120 in Flushing, Queens, which serves a large population of Chinese Americans and recent immigrants from China. Starr International Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor of the Chinese New Year Gala. The Philharmonic concerts will continue through June 10. Visit Nyphil.org