OU celebrates Chinese New Year with East Asian concert

Ohio University and Athens community members gathered Sunday afternoon for an East Asian music concert in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

The concert was presented by Youmee Kim, assistant professor of piano in the School of Music at Ohio University. Kim’s  students, along with visiting professionals who collectively represented China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, performed at the concert.

Visiting professor TingTing Zong, from Chubu University in Japan, began the show by playing two traditional Asian songs on the pipa, a four stringed Chinese instrument. As the recipient of the Glidden Visiting Professor Award, Zong will stay in Athens for part of the spring semester to work with students in the music department.

east asian concert

TingTing Zong plays a traditional Japanese song on the pipa, a four stringed Asian instrument. Photo by Natalie Colarossi.

Having Zong here is “a really exciting opportunity for us and our students,” Chris Hayes, Director of the School of Music, said.

Following Zong was a duo Chinese piano performance from undergraduate students Fuhua Xing and Ke Pan. Graduate student in Piano Performance, Ting-Yun Chen, followed with a traditional Taiwanese piece, and Mengyuan Anne Yuan, a graduate student in voice performance sang in a Chinese soprano.

Ami Scherson, a freshman studying music through the Honors Tutorial College, represented her culture with a traditional Japanese piano composition, Sakura Sakura. Scherson has played piano for thirteen years.

“Dr. Kim really wanted to celebrate because the Lunar New Year is coming up. Although Japan doesn’t celebrate it, she wanted to get all the East Asian students together to play our traditional tunes. I thought it was a really great experience to be able to hear everyone’s music,” Scherson said. 

The Lunar New year, otherwise known as Chinese New Year, is traditionally celebrated in Asian countries including, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and North and South Korea.

This was the first East Asian concert in celebration of the New Year. Dr. Kim worked alongside OHIO’s School of Music, the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies, and the East Asian Studies Program, to sponsor the event.

“I thought about it a long time ago, and the dream has come true! The students are from Asian countries, and I wanted to share our culture with American students and local people in Athens. I am very proud of my students, and the percussion and visiting performers were great,” Kim said.

Following the concert, the OU Music Teachers National Association coordinated a reception with traditional Chinese food, which included red bean buns and custard rice cakes.

“It was really wonderful to see such a beautiful representation of each of the different cultures,” said Alisa Martinez, a media arts studies student. “I think sometimes students forget about the international presence on campus. Our new year is not the only tradition out there.”

The 2016 Lunar New Year will take place on Feb. 8, allowing several Asian countries to come together and celebrate with unique customs and traditions.




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