San Francisco Symphony's Annual Lunar New Year Concert and Imperial Dinner Review - Spectacular

SF Symphony Lunar Event

On Saturday February 4, 2017 The San Francisco Symphony held the spectacular Lunar New Year event at Davies Symphony Hall.  The culturally-rich family event was embraced by many, far and wide. It was estimated that approximately 2,000 people attended the celebration, and 549 people remained for the Imperial benefit dinner. The Imperial dinner supported the San Francisco Symphony's education and community program to raise money for Bay Area elementary, middle, and high school students. You You Xia, Associate Director of Public Relations, stated that, "The Lunar New Year Celebration, chaired by Patricia Lee-Hoffmann, was made possible through the generous support of Flutter Eyewear and event underwriters: Thao and Jerome Dodson; and Dr. Peter and Mindy Sun, along with concert underwriters John and Sherry Chen. The event was presented in partnership with the San Francisco Arts Commission."

Sf Symphony Lunar Event Photo Op


The pre-event, which began at 3 pm consisted of ancient and contemporary Asian  traditions such as Asian instruments, red 'lucky' envelopes, lion dancing, pageant winners, and much more. While the symphony concert honored and infused an eclectic sound of Eastern and Western music at 4 pm. The patrons wore a seamless multi-cultural blend of Eastern and Western attire. Some patrons embodied the event by dressing in traditional Asian clothing, while others dressed in elegant gowns and fashionable suites. Along with the amenities for the adults, there were activities at the event for children too. Children interacting with the lobby instruments, received red 'lucky' envelops, and stood by the Buddha statue and Dragons outside the concert hall for pictures.

Brent Assink (SFS Executive Director) & Jan Assink, Xiaojun Lee and Dr. Junning Lee.


The afternoon's symphony concert event began with the illuminating, black-light, Chinese Dragon dance by Loong Mah Sing See Wui dance ensemble. The elegant, coordination of dancers moving to the sound of drums represented the Dragons empowering nature, yet graceful movement, which was audibly and visually breathtaking. Immediately thereafter the San Francisco Symphony began, which was conducted by Mei-Ann Chen, (from Chicago) with special performances by Tang Jun Qiao on a dizi (Bamboo Flute), and Amos Yang on Cello.  The program included the following repertoire of songs: Huan-zhi Li - Spring Festival Overture; Traditional arr. Quan - Beo Dat May Troi (Floating Water Lily and Wandering Cloud); Tchaikovsky - from Rococo Variations, Opus 33 (Thema, Variations I-ILL, Cariations VI-VII e Coda, Amos Yang on Cello); Chance - Variations on a Korean Folk Song; Traditional arr. Chenglong Zhou - Raising the Red Lantern and err. Jun Qiao Tang - Plum Blossom Variations Jun Qiao Tang on Dizi; Rimsky-Korsakov - King Dodon with Queen Shermakha, from The Golden Cockerel Suite; and Ge Xin Chen -  Gong Xi Gong Xi (audience sing along). 

Loong Mah Sing See Wui dance ensemble


Following the pre-event and symphony concert was the Imperial dinner event. You You Xia, Associate Director of Public Relations, Stated that, "The Imperial Dinner was catered by McCalls and was designed by Blueprint Studios and Got Light. " You You Xia also explained that proceeds from the Lunar New Year celebration benefit went toward, "The Symphony’s myriad of community outreach and education programs, which offer comprehensive music education in all of San Francisco’s public elementary schools, free training to talented young musicians in the Youth Orchestra, and low-cost children’s concerts that reach thousands of students across Northern California." 

Patrons at event


2017 is the year of the Rooster, which is considered a popular symbol throughout Asian Cultures.  Chinese mythology indicated that the Rooster is assigned as a mascot to the five virtues; and by crowing at dawn it chases away evil spirits. And, within Japanese mythology the brave Rooster enticed Amaterasu out of the cave allowing the sun to return to the world (ancient symbols). You You Xia - Associate Director of Public Relations, explained that "According to the lunar calendar, 2017 is the year of the rooster, one of 12 Chinese zodiac symbols. This is why the image of the rooster is seen across all Chinese new year celebrations this year."  

During the Lunar event the Dragon was also represented and honored. Among Asian cultures it is said that the Dragon is a symbol of wisdom, longevity, sexuality, fertility, procreation, and regeneration - within the Orient culture; considered to be water deities related to water and rain - within Japanese culture; and  the most potent of symbols of energy and good fortune - within Chinese culture (ancient symbols). Within the symphony program book some symbolism of the Dragon was disclosed, "In the traditional Dragon Dance, dancers mimic the movements of the dragon, demonstrating the power and dignity of the river spirit. In Chinese culture, dragons are believed to bring good luck to people, and symbolize wisdom and auspiciousness," 

Symphony Hall Filling Up


The San Francisco Symphony would like to thank all the patrons, sponsors, volunteers, and staff who helped make the 2017 Lunar New Year Celebration a success.  Wishes of abundance and joy toward all. To learn more about the upcoming events at the San Francisco Symphony please go to the San Francisco Symphony website

Julianne Eng


Pageant Winners


Loong Mah Sing See Wui dance ensemble


Children embracing event


Moanalani Jeffrey Photography


Moanalani Jeffrey Photography


Moanalani Jeffrey Photography


Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

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