Chinese Fine Arts Society continues 30th Anniversary with second concert in the The Five Elements Project: “earth and wood”

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Chinese Fine Arts Society continues 30th Anniversary with second concert in the The Five Elements Project:

“earth and wood”


A free concert featuring three Chicago Premieres and musicians of the CSO


Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center, May 18


CHICAGO (April 30, 2014) – The Chinese Fine Arts Society (CFAS), Chicago’s resource for experiencing and appreciating the art, music and culture of China, continues its 30th anniversary celebration with the second installment in its year-long series Forces of Nature: The Five Elements Project, a musical survey of China’s varied natural environment themed around “Earth and Wood” featuring three Chicago Premieres.  The “Earth and Wood” concert is presented in the Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street, Sunday, May 18 at 3 pm.  The concert is free and no tickets are required.


From the Gobi desert to bamboo forests, from sweeping grasslands to mountain vistas, the majestic landscapes of China and its inhabitants are the inspiration for the “Earth and Wood” concert.  The concert primarily features both Chinese and western string instruments – violin, viola, erhu, gaohu, zhonghu – all made of wood. 


In a rare performance, Chicago erhu virtuoso Betti Xiang performs on three different pieces of the huqin family of traditional Chinese bowed string instruments.  The concert also features traditional folk music, contemporary arrangements and original compositions by world-renowned composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Zhou Long, renowned New York-based composer Huang Ruo, lauded San Diego-based composer Lei Liang and esteemed Beijing-based composer Ye Xiaogang.  The works are brought to life by virtuosic musicians including acclaimed Chicago pianistWinston Choi, renowned Central Conservatory-trained guzheng player YuQi Deng, along with a string quartet comprised entirely of members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  The full program includes:

·        Traditional Chinese Tune: Birds on  a Desolated Mountain

Featuring Betti Xiang, erhu

·        Traditional Chinese Tune: Birds Dash Back to Forest

Featuring Betti Xiang, gaohu

·        Traditional Chinese Tune: On the Grassland

Featuring Betti Xiang, zhonghu

·        Spring in the Forest by Ye Xiaogang

Featuring YuQi Deng, guzheng

·        Tree Without Wind by Huang Ruo (Chicago/Midwest Premiere)

Featuring Winston Choi, piano

·        Gobi Canticle by Lei Liang (Chicago/Midwest Premiere)

Featuring Qing Hou, violin; Weijin Wang, viola

·        Chinese Folk Songs by Zhou Long (Chicago Premiere)

String quartet led by Qing Hou


Inspired by late CFAS founder Barbara Tiao, who many considered a “force of nature,” The Five Elements Project is themed around the five elements found throughout Chinese art, science and philosophy: earth, fire, metal, water and wood.  The Five Elements Project is curated by Qing Hou, Chicago Symphony Orchestra violinist and CFAS artist-in-residence. 


More Five Elements Project Events

The Forces of Nature: The Five Elements Project continues with the third concert in the series, “Fire and Metal,” presented free at the Pritzker Pavilion of Millennium Park, Sunday, August 10 at 6:30 pm as part of the annual “Rhythms of China” festival.


The series finale concert takes place in Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, Friday, November 14 at 7:30 pm.  Tickets for this concert start at $20, $5 for students.


About the Chinese Fine Arts Society

Founded in 1984, the Chinese Fine Arts Society (CFAS) is dedicated to promoting Chinese culture, music, dance and visual arts in Chicago through performance and education, thus enhancing cultural exchange.  Its core programming consists of three areas: Professional Concerts, Young Artist Development and Community Engagement.  Julie Tiao Ma, daughter of founder Barbara Tiao, serves as President of the Board of Directors.


The history of CFAS has been a true “American Dream” success story, beginning when Barbara Tiao, a Shanghai native who fled the country in 1949, eventually settling in Chicago in 1984.  She established herself as a piano teacher and a “cultural ambassador,” sharing her beloved culture with other students and the surrounding community.  This passion was Tiao’s inspiration to start the Chinese Fine Arts Society.  Tiao passed away in 2008, having realized her dream: an organization that has bloomed into a professional entity in Chicago’s artistic scene.  Since its founding, CFAS has been the leading champion of Chinese arts in Chicago, from traditional to contemporary.  CFAS has established itself with widely attended and critically acclaimed cultural events in various venues throughout Chicagoland.


To learn more about the Chinese Fine Arts Society and its programs, visit


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