by MK Scott
The 11th annual ‘Celebrate Asia’ presented by the Seattle Symphony was a whimsical day of music and culture that celebrated the whole continent of Asia.
Interestingly enough the fun started 90 minutes prior to the actual concert with entertainment happening in the grand lobby of Benaroya Hall. Emceed by Aleksa Manila, the Pre-concert featured performers from The Morning Star Cultural Center, Swaranjali School of Music, and the International Lion Dance and Martial Arts Team.
Joining Manila on the platform were Miss Gay Seattle, Miss India WA, Miss Asia WA, Mr Asia WA, and Ms India WA.
During the Symphony performance, everyone cheered when the Korean born, female conductor, Shiyeon Sung, stepped out onto the stage.
The performances in Act One, looked short on paper (only three numbers), but the numbers were long, but whimsical, with one number (‘Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op. 43’) lasting 23 minutes and another (‘The Chairman Dances’ from Nixon in China) lasting 12 minutes, with guest pianist, Seong-Jin Cho, plus the world premiere of Chia-Ying Lin’s ‘Ascolsia’.
To open Act Two, guest soprano Kathleen Kim sang with style and humor for ‘snagS&Snarls: Scenes from Alice in Wonderland’ by Unsuk Chin.
Then Kim left the stage and Sung then conducted ‘Pubbanimitta’ by Narong Prangcharden. Sung was so fascinating to watch by being animated when conducting.
Kim finished the show by performing 2 traditional songs, ‘Arirang’ and ‘I Miss Mount Keumkang’.
Post-Show more performers brought energy to the grand lobby including CHIKIRI and the School of TAIKO, followed by the Bollywood dancer from the Rhythms of India.
The whole day of the ‘Celebrate Asia’ should never be missed. You go in expecting culture and you end up with more energy and happiness.