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A Special Music Performance

Please join us for an evening of string music inspired by Chinese ethnic folk melodies performed by faculty and students from East China Normal University, partner of Confucius Institute at China Institute since 2006. Proudly presenting a group of musicians who have won numerous international music awards, the performance will feature:

  • • Cello Solo “Sound from Ancient Times” (composed by XU Mengdong)
  • • Cello Quartet “Saliha” (composed by HUANG Xiaolong)
  • • Violin Solo “Beautiful Riverside” (composed by SHI Guangnan)
  • • Viola Solo “Why Are the Flowers So Red” (composed by HUANG Xiaolong)

Founded in Shanghai in October 1951, East China Normal University is one of the most prestigious universities in China. As the first normal university founded in the country after 1949, ECNU has kept teacher training as one of its main features since its establishment.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013~ 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Held at China Institute, 125 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065
$10 member/ $15 non-member
Seating is limited

For questions, please contact Yan Shneider at or call 212-744-8181 ext. 130.

Chamber Concert with Wang Yunpeng

Winner of the 2012 Plácido Domingo Sr. Zarzuela Prize

Just 24 years old, Chinese baritone Wang Yunpeng has become one of the brightest stars of the international opera world. In June 2012, Wang swept up three awards at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition, but most importantly he won First Prize in the zarzuela category, a type of Spanish art songs that was made famous by Plácido Domingo.

Wang was studying at China’s Central Conservatory of Music when he was asked to audition unofficially at a dinner party for the President of the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) and was offered a full scholarship on the spot at MSM. A year later, after singing in MSM’s Cosi fan tutte, Wang was personally auditioned by Plácido Domingo to compete in the 2012 Operalia.

For a recent profile of Wang in Music America by the noted opera critic Ken Smith of Financial Times, please see:

We are pleased to present an evening of beautiful singing by Wang Yunpeng to celebrate the start of the 2012 Manhattan Hong Kong Music Festival at the Manhattan School of Music and Carnegie Hall.

Seats at this chamber concert in China Institute’s historical Library are very limited and advance registrations are required. Please kindly note that the concert will begin promptly at 6:30 and we cannot accommodate late arrivals.

Thursday, October 25 ~ 6:30 – 7:30 PM (including a light reception)
$15 member /$ 20 non-member


Special Lecture, Demonstration, & Grand Performance of Kenneth Hsien-Yung Pai’s “Youth Version of the Peony Pavilion

In collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Culture & Art Center in New York, the Renwen Society at China Institute presents a grand 5-highlight-episode production of Kenneth Hsien-Yung Pai’s (Bai Xianyong) “Youth Version of the Peony Pavilion,” on Sunday, October 7, 2012. Brought to new life by Professor Pai in 2004, this extraordinary theatrical work describes a love of free choice in a time of arranged marriages, with a brilliant cast led by two of today’s greatest talents, Shen Fengying and Yu Jiulin. This production will mark the first time this critically acclaimed Kunqu drama is performed in New York by the prestigious Kunqu troupe from Suzhou, China.

The performance will be preceded by two special Renwen events. On Saturday afternoon, October 6, Ben Wang, Co-Chair of the Renwen Society and an authority on Kunqu, will conduct an interview with Professor Kenneth Hsien-Yung Pai, producer/ impresario of the production, and the two leading performers, Ms. Shen Fengying and Mr. Yu Jiulin about their experiences in producing and performing this masterpiece. This event is co-sponsored by the Project for Developing Chinese Language Teachers at New York University and will be conducted in Mandarin.

On Sunday, October 7, the Renwen Society will present a pre-show short lecture, in English by Ben Wang on the history and the special characteristics of Kunqu.

The Saturday lecture/demonstration and the Sunday performance will be the troupe’s only appearances in New York; aficionados of Chinese culture and the classical Kunqu drama are not to miss out on this once-in-a-life-time experience!

Interview with Kenneth Hsien-Yung Pai and the Two Leading Performers, Ms. Shen Fengying and Mr. Yu Jiulin

Saturday, October 6 ~ 2 – 5 PM
Held at New York University
Kimmel Center, Room 914
60 Washington Square South, NYC

FREE for members and NYU students
$10 for non-members

Pre-Show Lecture

Sunday, October 7 ~ 12 – 1 PM
Held at China Institute
125 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10065
(3 blocks from the theater)


Grand Performance of the Peony Pavilion

Sunday, October 7 ~ 2 – 5 PM
Held at The Kaye Playhouse
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10065

Ticket prices are $35, $50, $100 and $200. Renwen Society Members enjoy 10% off. To get the discount, please call 917-279-1476.

East Meets Middle East: Traditional Chinese Women’s String Ensemble with Iraqi Maqam Ensemble

Please join us for a rare musical feast of ancient sounds with two great string ensembles from China and Iraq, with an introduction by Dr. Agnes Hsu, Resident Scholar and a specialist on early Silk Road history and music.

The santoor is a 96-string hammered-dulcimer native to Iraq and the yangqin is a 150-string Chinese hammered-dulcimer adopted from the Middle East. Although related, they share similarities as well as notable differences. Performance will feature arrangements by Min Xiao-Fen and Amir ElSaffar of traditional Chinese music and folksongs and Iraqi maqam, a centuries-old musical art form from the Baghdadi tradition.

Min Xiao-Fen is world renowned virtuoso of the Chinese pipa who has recorded traditional Chinese music together with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras and ensembles and has performed at a number of international festivals.

Iraqi-American trumpeter, santur player, vocalist, and composer Amir ElSaffar has distinguished himself with a mastery of disparate musical styles and a singular approach to combining aspects of Middle Eastern music with American jazz, extending the boundaries of each tradition.

Chinese Women’s String Ensemble: Min Xiao-Fen (pipa, vocal), Wang Junling (zheng) and Li-Qun Lee (yangqin).
Iraqi Maqam Emsemble: Amir ElSaffar (santoor, vocal), Zafer Tawil (violinist, oud and percussionist) and Tareq Abboushi (buzuq and percussion).

This special concert is made possible with a generous grant from NYSCA to the Chinese Women’s String Ensemble with Iraqi Maqam Ensemble presented by Blue Pipa.

Saturday, April 7 ~ 4 – 5 PM
$15 members / $20 non-members
(toward admission to exhibition and performance)


Modern-Day Music from China

Join us for an evening of music and conversation, with Chinese indie music artist, Baishui.

Born in a small Sichuanese city, Baishui is a composer and self-taught musician who plays guitar, piano, and many traditional Chinese instruments. His earliest original compositions and performances were influenced by European neo-folk and dark ambient strains, but has expanded widely his musical canvas since. With neo-folk project Bloody Woods, experiment-in-randomness One Day in a Quark and under his own name, Baishui has been crafting intelligent and creative music across many genres, with musical inputs ranging from traditional Sichuanese folk ballads to 70s prog rock, atmospheric post-rock and beyond.

His latest album, City of Lost (2012), is built on a progressive-rock texture and with Eastern musical themes spanning beyond his native China into India and the Middle East. To take a listen to Baishui’s music, please visit:

Friday, April 5 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$15 per ticket


Special Performance of Ghost Wife Ah-Tze

Award winning composer and storyteller Angel Lam tells a new story with her original music and visual projections. Through recent visits to China she discovered a forgotten diary that chronicles an adventurous journey and a culture now lost to time.

In a merciless land, a young man saves the fate of a girl who died three days before… Based on a true story, an untold secret from 1920′s China comes alive through a new presentation in the Chinese tea house style of storytelling.

The performance also includes visual artist Catherine Lan’s relief painting Magic Window I, inspired by Ghost Wife’s late Qing architectural ornaments of the elegant Sai Kwan mansion in Old Guangzhou.

Angel Lam’s compositions are praised as “otherworldly, dreamily poetic” (New York Times) and “precious…soaring lyrical lines” (Metropolitan Opera News). She is a three-time Carnegie Hall commission recipient and her works are performed by Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble worldwide. She was voted “Artist of the Month” by Musical America and “Yalie of the Week” by Yale Alumni Magazine.

Friday, March 1 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM
$15 member/$20 non-member

Art Salon with Hao Jiang Tian and Martha Liao on I Sing Beijing

In anticipation of I Sing Beijing’s debut at the Lincoln Center on February 16, 2013, China Institute will host an exclusive Art Salon with world renowned Chinese baritone Hao Jiang Tian, and President of the Asian Performing Arts Council, Martha Liao, to talk about their groundbreaking opera training program, I Sing Beijing.

I SING BEIJING is the first project of the Hanyu Academy of Vocal Arts and began with its first session in the summer of 2011. The Academy was founded with a mission to nurture and equip the next generation of singers with the versatile skills necessary for an increasingly globalized classical music market, and provide a meeting point where East and West combine their respective cultural traditions to forge new expressions for the classical vocal arts. I SING BEIJING is based on the concept of learning Mandarin, not only as an instrument of communication, but also as an idiom for singing and a gateway to a new level of cultural consciousness. The program aims to: present the emerging Chinese modern opera as a new genre in Western-style opera through the introduction of Mandarin as a lyric language and offer both U.S. and Chinese singers trained in the Western-style operatic tradition a one-of-a-kind opportunity to hone their craft in a new, cross-cultural environment while applying these disciplines to this new repertoire and language.

I SING BEIJING continues its pioneering mission to provide a meeting point for East and West through song, under the artistic directorship of Hao Jiang Tian, with a distinguished international faculty of experts including coaches from the Metropolitan Opera.

Tuesday, February 12 ~ 6:30 – 8 PM CANCELLED due to concert schedule conflict