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Registration Now Open for Chinese Fine Arts Society’s
30th annual Music competition
for Students and Pre-professionals
Competitions are part of the annual Music Festival in Honor of Confucius celebrating the Chinese music canon
CHICAGO (June 2, 2014) – Registration opens today for the Chinese Fine Arts Society’s annual Music Festival in Honor of Confucius Competitions. The Music Festival in Honor of Confucius introduces participants to the rich heritage of Chinese music through instrumental and vocal competitions and scholarship opportunities. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Confucius Competitions as the Chinese Fine Arts Society also celebrates its 30th anniversary. All competitions are held at the Merit School of Music, 38 S. Peoria Street, Sunday, October 19. Interested musicians can apply online to enter the competition at chinesefinearts.org/programs/music-festival-in-honor-of-confucius/mfhc-application-form/.
Every fall, hundreds of young musicians perform Chinese music selected from the Chinese Fine Arts Society’s Music Festival required repertory, as well as a Western piece of their choosing, for a panel of judges. The repertory reflects the beauty and breadth of the Chinese musical tradition, a creative and inspiring challenge for the contestants. The top scoring performers in each age category play in an annual Winners Concert at the prestigious Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street, this year set for Sunday, November 23.
Barbara Tiao, then a music teacher and unofficial cultural ambassador for Chinese art and music in Chicago, began a Chinese music competition 30 years ago to introduce her students and other budding musicians to music by Chinese composers, since most young musicians then were only familiar with the Western musical canon of European and American composers. That initial competition led to the creation of the Chinese Fine Arts Society, today continuing the cultural exchange envisioned by its late founder, and the annual Music Festival in Honor of Confucius.
From a storefront operation at its inception in 1984, attracting just a handful of participants, the Music Festival in Honor of Confucius Competitions have become a popular annual musical event for musicians of all ages in Chicago. Music teachers welcome it; young musicians look forward to participating in it; the packed audience at the Winners Concerts enjoy and appreciate it. Competition alumni have gone on to attend music conservatories and many have developed successful professional music careers. Rachel Barton Pine, Conrad Tao and Claude Sim are all past Confucius Competition winners.
Below are the main components of the Music Festival in Honor of Confucius.
The Chinese Fine Arts Society’s flagship competition for cellists, violinists and pianists ages 18 years or younger. Each contestant performs one piece from the required Chinese repertory and one piece of the contestant’s choice to compete for cash prizes and participation trophies.
In celebration of its 25th Anniversary in 2009, the Chinese Fine Arts Society introduced a non-competitive Chinese Instrument Category (CIC). In 2012, the organization expanded this into a competitive category with cash prizes and participation trophies open to non-professional players of all Chinese instruments, ages 18 and younger.
In 2013, the Chinese Fine Arts Society introduced a competitive Voice category, open to all nonprofessional vocalists ages 21 and younger. Each contestant performs one piece from the required Chinese repertory and one piece of the contestant’s choice, to compete for cash prizes and participation trophies.
The 2014 Virginia Geyser Behrendt scholarship competition is an opportunity for chamber ensembles to play any work written by a Chinese composer (traditional or contemporary), for any size ensemble/combination of instruments (Western or Chinese) to compete for the cash prize of $1,200.00, which will be divided evenly among the ensemble members. All ensemble members must be under 25 years of age.
The Huang Zhong (“Yellow Bell”) plays an important symbolic role in Chinese music. In ancient times this object was used to set the pitch of Chinese musical instruments. Each year, participants in the Confucius Competition and Chinese Instrument and Voice Category earn “Huang Zhong” merit points based on their performance score. Each contestant who accumulates a certain number of merit points for a given instrument category will receive a Huang Zhong trophy. Points are accumulated within an instrument category.
All first prize winners of the Music Festival in Honor or Confucius Competition will be invited to perform at the Annual Music Festival Winners Concert, November 23.
Application Form, Repertory and Festival Rules
Interested applicants can fill out the online Application Form as well as download Festival Rules and the 2014 Repertory by visiting http://chinesefinearts.org/programs/music-festival-in-honor-of-confucius/.
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 chinesefinearts.org.
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