FOR RELEASE Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hosted by Mona Locke, Event Honors Asian Community with Extraordinary Performances from Lion Dancers and Taiko Drummers to the Best in Eastern and Western Symphonic Music; Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Symphony to Give Side-by-Side Performance with Virtuoso Soloists Teen Violinist Paul Kim and Er-Hu Master Warren Chang


Celebrate Asia!

Seattle, WA – In partnership with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras and numerous local community groups, Seattle Symphony will honor and celebrate Seattle’s Asian community with Celebrate Asia!, a groundbreaking concert event on Friday, January 16, 2009. The concept originated over a year ago with local Asian leaders who wanted to find a way to strengthen bonds with the broader community. The entire community is invited to this landmark event, and concertgoers are invited to wear festive dress or their national costume.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a stellar line-up including performers from the Chinese Arts and Music Association, Filipino soprano Gabrielle Borromeo, and Indian dances performed by Shivani and Natasha Mahapatro in the Samuel & Althea Stroum Grand Lobby. Concertgoers will then parade into the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, lead by the pulsing rhythms of the Chinese Lion Dance performed by Belltown Martial Arts. At 7:30 p.m., Mona Locke, Washington State’s former First Lady and the evening’s host, will introduce Seattle Symphony Associate Conductor Carolyn Kuan, Seattle Symphony and the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra who will give a side-by-side performance. Kuan will lead the orchestras in symphonic works from Eastern and Western traditions, with solo performances by local teen violinist Paul Kim and er-hu virtuoso Warren Chang. The evening’s festivities will conclude with a performance by One World Taiko.

Celebrate Asia! was conceived by a special committee comprised of members of the Seattle-area Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino and Indian communities. Celebrate Asia! Committee Chair Yoshi Minegishi said, “Creativity and diversity are what make cities unique. I am fortunate to work with a wonderful committee of community members who believe that Celebrate Asia! will help to put Seattle on the map as the most Asian-friendly city in the United States and a great place to live and enjoy diverse arts.” Minegishi is also a Board Member of Seattle Symphony and Japan America Society.

Associate Conductor Carolyn Kuan remarked, “This very special event will be a fabulous opportunity for young musicians to perform side-by-side with the professionals. The program we’ve selected is filled with familiar mainstays from both the East and West that can be enjoyed by the entire family. I’m also delighted that Paul Kim and Warren Chang will join the combined orchestras in special solo roles.”

"The Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras instill in its students a life-long appreciation for the arts,” commented SYSO Music Director Stephen Rogers Radcliffe. “We are one of the foundations of the musical and cultural life in the Seattle region. Our students go on to become not only musicians for performing arts organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest, but their patrons, donors and institutional leaders as well. Nearly 40 percent of our enrollment is drawn from Asian families. In this way, the organization is a leader in providing outstanding artistic and education programs for the Asian community."

Now in its inaugural year, it is hoped that Celebrate Asia! will become a mainstay on the city’s musical calendar. The proceeds from the event will go toward future Celebrate Asia! programs, the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras’ Scholarship Fund and Seattle Symphony. The committee’s future plans include broadening the event’s program scope to include more countries and Asian musical traditions.

Paul Kim, violin
Violinist Paul Kim is a six-year participant in the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras program and has served as concertmaster of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Marrowstone Festival Orchestra. Paul began studying violin at age 8. His principal teachers have included Cynthia Staruck, John Kim, Margaret Pressley and, his current teacher, Ron Patterson. In 2006, Paul won the American String Teacher Association’s Washington State Competition and went on to National Semi-Finals. Last year, he was the First Prize winner at the MTNA State and Regional Competition and won Second Prize at the national level in Denver, Colorado. This past summer, Paul attended Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival and the Seattle Youth Symphony’s Marrowstone Music Festival, where he participated in master classes with Kyung-Sun Lee, Associate Professor of University of Houston; Bernard Greenhouse, the founding cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio; and James Buswell, Professor of Violin of New England Conservatory. He is a student at Bellevue Community College as part of the Running Start Program.

Warren Chang, er-hu
President and founder of the Chinese Arts and Music Association, Warren Chang resides in the greater Seattle area and is one of the foremost er-hu experts in the United States. He has performed extensively and has made numerous television and radio appearances both nationally and in China. He has traveled throughout country lecturing and performing to introduce and promote Chinese music to the American public. His incomparable determination and continuing efforts to introduce Chinese music to the Western world has gained a great deal of respect and admiration from both professional musicians and music lovers in general. In January 1995, Chang was invited to record the soundtrack for the epic movie The Soong Sisters, with an original score by contemporary composer Kitaro. Since 1997, he has performed as er-hu soloist with Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra, Cascade Symphony, Port Angeles Symphony, Seattle Symphony and Whatcom Symphony Orchestra.

Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra, Stephen Rogers Radcliffe, Music Director
Founded in 1942 under the baton of Francis Aranyi, the Seattle Symphony Youth Orchestra is one of the premiere youth orchestras in the nation. Made up of the finest young classical musicians in the region and led by Music Director Stephen Rogers Radcliffe, the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra delivers performances of professional caliber with unrivaled energy and passion. Rogers Radcliffe has conducted orchestras on four continents, produced compact disc recordings of operatic, orchestral and chamber music works, and has fostered the development of audiences through innovative educational and artistic programs. Maestro Radcliffe was Founder and Music Director of the New York Chamber Ensemble, Artistic Director of the Cape May Music Festival and Principal Guest Conductor of the Hungarian Virtuosi. He is currently the Harry and Mildred Bemis Endowed Fellow at Brandeis University, and has served as the Director of Orchestral and Operatic Activities at the University of Massachusetts.

Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Seattle Symphony Associate Conductor Carolyn Kuan has also served as Assistant Conductor for North Carolina Symphony, Baltimore Opera Company and Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. As a guest conductor, Carolyn Kuan has performed with Baltimore Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Eastern Music Festival, Festival del Sole, Milwaukee Symphony, National Symphony, and San Francisco Symphony. Upcoming concerts include performances with Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Toledo Symphony and a return to San Francisco Symphony. The recipient of numerous awards, Kuan holds the distinction of being the first female to be awarded the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship. Kuan has studied with Marin Alsop, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier and Leonard Slatkin.

Seattle Symphony
Seattle Symphony, now presenting its 106th season, has been under the artistic leadership of Music Director Gerard Schwarz since 1985. In 1998, the Orchestra began performing in the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle, which celebrates its 10th Anniversary this season. The Symphony is internationally recognized for its adventurous programming of contemporary works, its devotion to the classics, and its extensive recording history. Seattle Symphony has made more than 100 recordings, garnered 11 Grammy nominations and received two Emmy Awards. From September through July, the Symphony is heard live by more than 315,000 people. For more information on Seattle Symphony, visit

Tickets will go on sale Saturday, October 11, 2008 at 1:00pm. Tickets are $35 and may be purchased by ordering online at or in-person and by visiting the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office in Benaroya Hall at Third Avenue & Union Street, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m. Special group discounts are also available.

Subscriptions are still available for the 2008–2009 season. For group sales information, call (206) 215-4784. Student and senior rush discount tickets, subject to availability, go on sale in person at the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office at 6 p.m. prior to evening performances and two hours prior to afternoon performances.

Special thanks to presenting sponsor MulvannyG2 Architecture.

Sponsors to date include Citi Private Bank and Yoshi & Naomi Minegishi.
In-kind sponsors include Wild Ginger and Tiffany & Co.

Community partners to date include:

Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington
The Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce
Indian Association of Western Washington
Washington Chinese Arts & Culture Committee
Filipino Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest
Korean American Coalition of Washington
The Filipino Community Center
Korean Music Association
Korean-American Art & Cultural Association

Celebrate Asia!

Friday, January 16, 2009, at 6 p.m.

S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium
Benaroya Hall

Warren Chang, er-hu*
Paul Kim, violin**
Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra
Seattle Symphony
Carolyn Kuan
, conductor

The event begins at 6 p.m. in the Samuel & Althea Stroum Grand Lobby, featuring musical performances presented by the Chinese Arts and Music Association, Filipino soprano Gabrielle Borromeo, and Indian dances performed by Shivani and Natasha Mahapatro. A Chinese Lion Dance performed by Belltown Martial Arts will herald the beginning of the mainstage concert in the Auditorium.

Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80

KAORU WADA Hayashi from Folkloric Dance Suite

NIE ER Dance of the Golden Snake

JOHANN STRAUSS, SR. Radetzky March, Op. 228

LEONARD BERNSTEIN Overture to West Side Story
/ Adapted by Maurice Peress

GANG CHEN/ZHANHAO HE The Butterfly Concerto
Warren Chang, er-hu

MAURICE RAVEL Tzigane for Violin and Orchestra
Paul Kim, violin

JOHN WILLIAMS Olympic Fanfare and Theme

A Special Performance by One World Taiko Will Conclude the Performance.

Major donors to Celebrate Asia! are invited to a special post-concert reception in the Norcliffe Founders Room, sponsored by Citi Private Bank.

*All programs and artists subject to change. Photos of guest artists will be sent in a separate email following this release. Additional photos of guest artists and Seattle Symphony are available to the media on request.