NHSO Celebrates “Year of the Dragon” in Free, Statewide Family Concerts During Month of February

Thursday • January 11, 2024

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra’s (NHSO) popular Family Series returns in February with a statewide tour of concerts for kids celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year, which in 2024 is the “Year of the Dragon.” These concerts, presented free of charge, are programmed specifically for children ages 3-7, encouraging listening, playfulness, and participation throughout the interactive performance.

On this 50-minute program, international erhu virtuoso Dr. Chia-Yu Joy Lu of Wesleyan University will play alongside a NHSO violinist Stephanie Hug and NHSO pianist William Braun. The erhu is a two-stringed instrument played with a bow that is not only popular in China, but in East Asian countries that are influenced by Chinese culture. The concert’s music will include Two Tigers, Thunder in a Drought, Joy & Happiness, Grasshopper Tricks the Rooster, Beautiful Flowers and Full Moon, and more. While the music plays, a Chinese calligraphy artist will simultaneously hand-draw characters on a screen and families will have the opportunity to practice writing the characters in provided program books.

The NHSO will present “The Year of the Dragon” at various locations throughout the state during the month of February. All performances are free and open to the public:

  • Saturday, February 3 at 10:30 a.m. at Ansonia Public Library (Ansonia, CT)
  • Saturday, February 3 at 3:00 p.m. at Plumb Library (Shelton, CT): Registration required for this performance. Register online at SheltonLibrarySystem.org/Events-Page or by calling (203) 924-1580 ext. 5108.
  • Sunday, February 4 at 3:00 p.m. at Russell Library (Middletown, CT): This performance will feature an “instrument petting zoo” after the performance where kids can try real orchestral instruments.
  • Sunday, February 11 at 2:00 p.m. at Dr. Reginald Mayo Early Learning School (New Haven, CT): This will be an adapted “sensory-friendly” performance. (More information below.)
  • Saturday, February 24 at Lunarfest Celebration (New Haven, CT): This performance will take place following the Lunarfest Parade in New Haven. More details will be forthcoming on the New Haven Symphony Orchestra’s website, NewHavenSymphony.org and the Lunarfest website, YaleChina.org/Luanarfest.

Jennifer Chan, music teacher at Dr. Reginald Mayo Early Learning School, says, “We are excited to welcome the public to Reggie Mayo School for a performance of this program adapted for audience with sensory processing disorders and Autism. Audience members will be able to take advance of the specially designed space we have within the school, use gross motor equipment to self-regulate, make use of complimentary ear protectors and fidgets, and take breaks as needed. The lighting will be dimmed, and the musicians will play at a reduced volume.” For questions about accommodations offered at the February 11 sensory-friendly performance, please email Engagement@NewHavenSymphony.org.

About the Guest Artist
Born and raised in Taiwan, Dr. Joy Lu has studied erhu since her childhood and was awarded several prizes in erhu and zhonghu (alto erhu) performances. She is a musician, researcher, ensemble director, conductor, music teacher, and language educator, holding a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University, an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Sheffield, U.K., and a B.F.A. in erhu performance and music education from National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan. She has published a music textbook (Music Textbook for Vocational High School, 2006, Kuang Mau Books Co., LTD), erhu music scores, and erhu music albums that have been distributed in Taiwan and China. She has appeared in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Yale University, and Boston College, and has been directing Wesleyan Chinese Music Ensemble for over a decade. In 2020, she helped to establish the Smith College Chinese Music Ensemble and has served as its music director since then.

The Family Concerts are sponsored by The Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts; the Katharine Matthies Foundation; Pitney Bowes; Middletown Commission on the Arts; the Derby-Shelton Rotary Club; and the American Savings Foundation.

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