March 23, 2023
New York Philharmonic’s Chinese New Year Concert, 2/12/13. (Photo by Chris Lee)

U.S. Premiere of Andy AKIHO’s Ricochet, Concerto for Ping Pong, Violin, Percussion, and Orchestra
With Philharmonic Violinist Elizabeth Zeltser,
Ping Pong Players Ariel Hsing and Michael Landers, and Percussionist David Cossin

Free Event Open to Public on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza To Feature
Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company Performing Traditional Dragon Dance, 4:30 p.m.

NEW YORK (Feb. 20, 2018) — The New York Philharmonic announces program updates for its Lunar New Year Concert and Gala, led by Long Yu at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018.

The program will feature Andy Akiho’s Ricochet, Concerto for Ping Pong, Violin, Percussion, and Orchestra, featuring Philharmonic violinist Elizabeth Zeltser (in her Philharmonic solo debut), ping pong players Ariel Hsing and Michael Landers (Philharmonic debuts), and percussionist David Cossin (Philharmonic debut), as well as the Chinese folk song “Flowing Stream.” As previously announced, the program will also include Li Huanzhi’s Spring Festival Overture and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, with pianist Serena Wang, the Farmers’ Chorus of the Yunnan Province, sopranos Heather Philips and Vanessa Vasquez, mezzo-soprano Sarah Mesko, tenors Marco Cammarota and Chad Johnson, and bass Alex Rosen, all in their Philharmonic debuts.

Philharmonic violinist Elizabeth Zeltser, ping pong players Ariel Hsing and Michael Landers (the youngest-ever U.S. Women’s Singles Champion and U.S. Men’s Singles Champion, respectively), and percussionist David Cossin were the soloists in the World Premiere of Andy Akiho’s Ricochet with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, led by Long Yu, in July 2015.

The Philharmonic’s salute to the Year of the Dog will also include a free outdoor event the day of the concert, at 4:30 p.m. on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza, featuring the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company as well as public school students from the National Dance Institute, performing traditional dances.

The New York Philharmonic has welcomed the Lunar New Year with an annual celebration since 2012. A portion of the Gala’s proceeds will help fund the acclaimed Philharmonic Schools activities at P.S. 120 in Flushing, Queens, an elementary school that is attended by a large population of Asian Americans and recent immigrants from Asia.

Gala events will include a pre-concert champagne reception from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.; the concert; and a seated dinner immediately following the performance. Gala dress will be traditional Asian attire or black-tie. The Honorary Gala Chairmen are Mr. and Mrs. Maurice R. Greenberg and H.E. Ambassador Zhang Qiyue. The Gala Co-Chairmen are Angela Chen, Guoqing Chen and Ming Liu, Misook Doolittle, Ling Tian, Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar L. Tang, and Shirley Young. Starr International Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor of the Lunar New Year Gala. The Farmers’ Chorus of the Yunnan Province’s performance is made possible by Advance Mining Limited.

The New York Philharmonic is partnering with the China Central Academy of Fine Arts for 2018 Happy Chinese New Year: Fantastic Art China, a series of U.S.–China artistic Chinese New Year celebrations throughout New York City, including fireworks over the Hudson River and a festive lighting of the Empire State Building.

Related Events
Students Day
Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
David Geffen Hall Lobby
The New York Philharmonic will participate in Students Day on the Lunar New Year school holiday. Musicians from the New York Philharmonic will perform works by Very Young Composers of New York and Shanghai created through Musical Postcards, in which students from different countries share stories and musical ideas. The event will include other musical, dance, and artistic activities. The program will be presented twice: from 10:00 a.m. to noon and from noon to 2:00 p.m.

Conductor Long Yu is music director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and artistic director and chief conductor of the China Philharmonic Orchestra. He played a leading role in establishing the Shanghai Orchestra Academy through a partnership between the New York Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, with collaboration from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. In 2014 the Philharmonic named Long Yu an honorary member of the International Advisory Board. He is the founder and artistic director of the Beijing Music Festival, and co-director of the MISA Shanghai Summer Festival. He is marking his 16th season as music director of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, where he made his debut in 1993; since being named music director in 2003, he has presided over the orchestra’s European and Egyptian tours, including performances at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Conservatoire de Luxembourg, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, and the Cairo Opera House. He has collaborated with soloists including Alison Balsom, Sumi Jo, Lang Lang, Yo-Yo Ma, Mischa Maisky, Maxim Vengerov, and Yuja Wang. Long Yu has conducted orchestras and opera companies throughout the world, including the New York, Los Angeles, Munich, Hong Kong, and Tokyo philharmonic orchestras; Chicago, Montreal, National, Cincinnati, Bamberg, NDR, Melbourne, Sydney, BBC, and Singapore symphony orchestras; Berlin and MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestras; and The Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, and Hamburg Staatsoper. In 2008, for the first time in history, the China Philharmonic Orchestra performed under the baton of Long Yu at the Vatican in the Hall of Pope Paul VI, a concert attended by Pope Benedict XVI that marked a giant step in bringing Eastern and Western cultures closer together. In the 2017–18 season, aside from his work in China, he returns to the New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, and Orchestre national de Lyon. Born in 1964 into a musical family in Shanghai, Long Yu studied at the Shanghai Conservatory and the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. In 1992 he was appointed principal conductor of the Central Opera Theatre in Beijing and served as its conductor for three years. He created opera productions for the Urban Council of Hong Kong for five years. In 1998 he led the creation of the Beijing Music Festival and has since been its artistic director. Long Yu led the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra on a New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks program on Central Park’s Great Lawn in 2010; he has conducted the New York Philharmonic’s annual Lunar New Year Concert and Gala since 2012, when he made his New York Philharmonic debut.

Born in San Francisco in 2004, Serena Wang (also known as Wang Yalun) made her concerto debut at age six performing Haydn’s Piano Concerto No. 11 with the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, led by Zhang Guoyong, at the Third Beijing International Piano Festival. She has appeared with the China Philharmonic Orchestra; China NCPA Orchestra; Shenzhen, Shanghai, Vancouver, and Guangzhou symphony orchestras; Israel and Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestras; and the Orquesta Juvenil Universitaria Eduardo Mata. She has worked with conductors including Zubin Mehta, Gustavo Rivero Weber, Long Yu, Guoyong Zhang, Jia Lu, Yang Yang, and Qiyuan Zhu. First prize winner at China’s Second National Youth Piano Competition in Xiamen and Japan’s 15th Asia Chopin Piano Competition, she has performed in Russia, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Israel, United States, Singapore, China, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. She made her debut recording on Channel Classics at age nine, performing solo works by Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Poulenc, Shostakovich, Tan Dun, and Zhaoyi Dan. In the 2016–17 season she joined the China Philharmonic Orchestra’s North American tour and performed with the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestras, and Hong Kong Philharmonic, as well as with Guoyong Zhang and the Qingdao Symphony Orchestra. She also appeared at Italy’s 54th International Piano Festival of Bergamo and Brescia and performed in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2017–18 she returns to the International Piano Festival of Bergamo and Brescia, joins Zubin Mehta on the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s China tour in Suzhou and Harbin, makes her debuts with the New York Philharmonic and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, and returns to the Guangzhou and Kunming Symphony Orchestras. Serena Wang began studying piano with Sumi Nagasawa in California in 2008. She returned to China with her family and continued her studies with Dan Zhaoyi in Chengdu in 2010. She currently studies with Meng-Chieh Liu in Boston. This performance marks Serena Wang’s New York Philharmonic debut.

High lyric soprano Heather Phillips’s 2017–18 season begins with her Austin Lyric Opera debut as Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen, followed by performances on the concert stage as the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Boise Philharmonic, Orff’s Carmina burana with both the Boise Philharmonic and the Valley Symphony Orchestra in Texas, and her New York Philharmonic debut in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. Her future engagements include debuts with the Austin and Canton Symphony Orchestras, and her return to the Boise Philharmonic. During the 2016–17 season Ms. Phillips made her Arizona Opera debut as Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff, and her Opera Philadelphia debut, reprising the role of Katie in Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain, which she created at Santa Fe Opera and on the Grammy-nominated original cast recording. She returned to Opera Philadelphia later that season for a new composer series, Double Exposure. She appeared as the soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Grammy-nominated ensemble True Concord, and returned to the Ravinia Festival and the Tucson Desert Song Festival as a recitalist in collaboration with pianist Kevin Murphy. Her other recent performances include Elvira in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Micaëla in Carmen with Kentucky Opera, Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Opera Southwest, Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème at the Crested Butte Music Festival, and Barbarina in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro at Cincinnati Opera. This performance marks her New York Philharmonic debut.

Colombian-American soprano Vanessa Vasquez, winner of the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, is currently a fourth-year resident artist at the Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts, where she has sung Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, the title role in Donizett’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Mimì in Puccini’s La bohème, Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Giorgetta in Puccini’s Il tabarro. In upcoming seasons she makes debuts with opera companies across the country, singing her first performances of Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen and Violetta in Verdi’s La traviata. Ms. Vasquez made her professional opera debut in summer 2017 as Liù in Puccini’s Turandot with Des Moines Metro Opera. She has sung Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with Oberlin in Italy and in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with the Astoria Music Festival. In concert, she made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in J.S. Bach’s Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich and with the New York Choral Society in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. She was a featured soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin for the Academy of Music 160th Anniversary Concert and Ball. Vanessa Vasquez is the recipient of a 2017 Sara Tucker Study Grant and First Prizes in the 2017 Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, the 2016 Licia Albanese Competition, 2016 Giulio Gari Competition, and the 2016 Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition, and First Prize and Audience Award in the Phoenix Opera Southwest Vocal Competition. While earning her master’s at UCLA, the Scottsdale, Arizona, native was Susanna in Wolf-Ferrari’s Il segreto di Susanna, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and First Soprano in Handel’s L’Allegro. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Catholic University of America, where she performed Suor Genovieffa in Puccin’s Suor Angelica and First Lady in The Magic Flute. This performance marks her New York Philharmonic debut.

In the 2017–18 season, soprano Sarah Mesko returns to The Metropolitan Opera as the Second Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Fluteand Ines in Verdi’s Il trovatore, while covering Arsace in Rossini’s Semiramide and Le Prince Charmant in Massenet’s Cendrillon,and makes her Cincinnati Opera debut as Ottavia in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. Past opera engagements have included Washington National Opera (including as a member of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program), Houston Grand Opera, and Glimmerglass Festival, and she has given recitals for Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera Center, and at New York’s Morgan Library & Museum. In concert Ms. Mesko has sung Mozart’s Requiem with the National Symphony Orchestra, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky with the Columbus Symphony, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Mercury Baroque. She has been a soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Marin Alsop, Jeffrey Thomas and the American Bach Soloists Academy, Aspen Music Festival Chamber Orchestra with Lawrence Renes, Washington National Cathedral Choral Society, and the Arkansas, Fort Smith, and North Arkansas symphony orchestras. In 2009 Ms. Mesko was a national finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, performing with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. She has won First Prizes in competitions including those sponsored by the National Society of Arts and Letters, Annapolis Opera, Virginia Opera, Young Texas Artists, Sun Valley Opera, and the Franco-American Vocal Academy. She is among a rare number of singers who have won the Richard F. Gold Career Grant more than once: in 2011 from Washington National Opera, and in 2009 from Central City Opera. A native of Hot Springs, Arkansas, Sarah Mesko holds a master’s degree in vocal performance from Rice University and a bachelor’s in vocal and flute performance from the University of Arkansas. She trained in Santa Fe Opera’s highly regarded apprentice program as well as San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program. She is appearing in this concert courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera. This performance marks her New York Philharmonic debut.

Italian-American tenor Marco Cammarota began the 2017–18 season by returning to Arizona Opera in a role debut as Mario Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca, after making his debut there last season as Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Other recent engagements include the roles of Don José in a special shortened version of Bizet’s Carmen at Washington National Opera, Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth with the Glimmerglass Festival, Mitch in André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire with Kentucky Opera, and Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore at Opera Santa Barbara. Mr. Cammarota has also been seen as Alfredo in Verdi’s La traviata with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème with the Owensboro and Lafayette Symphony Orchestras, and Idomeneo in AfterWARds — a retelling of Mozart’s masterpiece Idomeneo that was distilled, reformatted, and reduced to a 90-minute chamber opera. On the concert stage he has appeared as soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the Music Center at Strathmore, and has received accolades from the Giulio Gari and Gerda Lissner Foundations. Marco Cammarota is currently in his third year at the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA), where he is studying with William Schuman. During his time at AVA, he has been seen as the Duke of Mantua in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Luigi in Puccini’s Il tabarro, Prince Sinodal in Rubenstein’s The Demon, and Avito in Montemezzi’s L’amore dei tre re. Upcoming engagements include his European debut as Macduff at l’Opéra de Limoges followed by reprises of the role at l’Opéra de Reims and l’Opéra de Massy. This performance marks his New York Philharmonic debut.

Tenor Chad Johnson’s recent roles include the tenor in Ensemble for the Romantic Century’s production of Van Gogh’s Ear at The Pershing Square Signature Center; Niklaus Sprink in Kevin Puts’s Silent Night with Michigan Opera Theatre, Fort Worth Opera, and Wexford Festival; Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Opera Orlando and New Orleans Opera; Tonio in Donizetti’s La Fille du regiment with Mill City Summer Opera; Gerald in Delibes’s Lakmé with Minnesota Opera and Florida Grand Opera; Lenski in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with Florida Grand Opera; Peregrino in Rebecca Oswald’s Vía Láctea with OperaBend; Lysander in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Boston Lyric Opera; and Emilio in Mozart’s Il sogno di Scipione with Gotham Chamber Opera. He has appeared at Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Tanglewood Music Center. Mr. John’s concert engagements have included The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Tanglewood Festival, Boston Pops, AIMS Festival, and the Atlanta, Sun Valley, Kalamazoo, and New World symphony orchestras as well as Symphony of the Americas and San Diego Chamber Orchestra and Master Chorale. Highlights include Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis with the New York Choral Society and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s New Year’s Eve concert. Chad Johnson studied at Western Michigan University, University of Kentucky, and American Institute of Musical Studies’ Opera Studio in Graz, Austria. He won the Four Cities District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and First Prize in the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition, and he was a member of leading young artist programs, including Chicago Opera Theater, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Santa Fe Opera. This performance marks his New York Philharmonic debut.

Bass Alex Rosen, an Artist Diploma candidate at The Juilliard School, has quickly found a home in both concert and operatic repertoire. He sang under William Christie with Juilliard415 in concerts that featured selections from operas by Rameau and Monteverdi’s Il ballo delle ingrate. With the Juilliard Orchestra, he sang Mozart’s Requiem and the roles of Dikoj in Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová and Sir John Falstaff in Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, and this April he will sing Thésée in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie. In 2017 he appeared in An Evening of Monteverdi with Opera Lafayette, at the Kennedy Center Terrace, and Handel’s Messiah with Portland Baroque Orchestra and Houston Symphony under the direction of Paul Agnew. This year Mr. Rosen will sing the role of Seneca in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea with Cincinnati Opera, as well as Haydn’s Creation and Handel’s Acis and Galatea with Les Arts Florissants. In 2019 he will join Les Arts Florissants for J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion and Opera Philadelphia for Handel’s Semele as Somnus / Cadmus. Alex Rosen is a native of La Cañada, California. This performance marks his New York Philharmonic debut.

American table tennis player Ariel Hsing competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics. In 2010, at age 15, she became the youngest U.S. table tennis national champion in history, a title she won two more times: in 2011 and 2013. She is the first player from North America to win the Intercontinental Cup in 2012, which included participants from Africa, Latin America, North America, and Oceania. Ms. Hsing was a Bronze medalist in Women’s Team and Women’s Singles at the 2011 Pan American Games, and the Women’s Singles champion at the North American Championships in 2013 and at the North America Cup in 2011 and 2012. During her junior career, she was ranked as high as fourth in the world in both the cadet (U-15) and the junior (U-18) age group. In 2012 she won the singles titles at the ITTF North American Cup and the United States Junior and Cadet Open. She qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics and was seeded 46th in women’s singles. In 2014 Ariel Hsing became the first American-born player in the China Table Tennis Super League, signing a contract with Zhejiang Jinhua Bank.

Michael Landers has been playing table tennis professionally since the age of 13. He has represented Team USA, the United States’s table tennis national team, in three world championships; is the youngest U.S. men’s singles champion in history; and won the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012. He is currently in his junior year at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where he is studying finance and psychology. In addition to table tennis, Mr. Landers’s other passion is playing music.

Violinist Elizabeth Zeltser joined the New York Philharmonic at the start of the 2003–04 season. Born in New York City to a family of Russian musicians, Ms. Zeltser began her violin studies at age three, and made her New York debut at age five with the Mannes College of Music Orchestra, performing Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto under the baton of Felix Kruglikov. At five she also appeared on Israeli television with her father, Mark Zeltser, a renowned concert pianist. Ms. Zeltser studied at The Juilliard School with Dorothy DeLay; while a student, she won the prestigious Juilliard Concerto Competition. She continued her studies at the Moscow Conservatory, where she earned her master’s degree in music performance, and on returning to the U.S. she enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, where her studies were supervised by then New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow and violinist Yoko Takebe. Elizabeth Zeltser has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras in the U.S., Canada, Italy, France, Russia, and South America. Her recent performances included a European tour in Austria and Hungary with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra. This performance marks Elizabeth Zeltser’s New York Philharmonic solo debut.

A specialist in new and experimental music, David Cossin has worked across a broad spectrum of musical and artistic forms to incorporate new media with percussion. He has recorded and performed internationally with composers and ensembles, including the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Steve Reich and Musicians, Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Meredith Monk, Tan Dun, Cecil Taylor, Talujon Percussion Quartet, and the trio Real Quiet. Numerous theater projects have included collaborations with Blue Man Group, Mabou Mines, and director Peter Sellars. Mr. Cossin was featured as the percussion soloist in Tan Dun’s Grammy- and Oscar-winning score to Ang Lee’s film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and he joined Sting for his Symphonicities world tour. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras throughout the world, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra Radio France, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, São Paulo State Symphony, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and Singapore Symphony Orchestra. David Cossin’s ventures into other art forms include sonic installations, which have been presented in New York, Italy, and Germany. He is also an active composer and has invented several new instruments that expand the limits of traditional percussion. Mr. Cossin is the curator for the Sound Res Festival, an experimental music festival in southern Italy, and teaches percussion at Queens College, City University of New York. This performance marks his New York Philharmonic debut.

Created 15 years ago in the mountains of Southern China, the Farmers’ Chorus of the Yunnan Province, led by choirmaster Guangyuan Long, comprises 50 farmers of the Miao ethnicity. None have ever received any professional training, instead absorbing the Western Baroque and bel canto singing traditions introduced by Christian missionaries in the 1930s by word of mouth over the course of generations. Based at the Xiaoshuijing village church, the choir tours greater China and collaborates with international ensembles, including the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra. Since its inception, the choir, which performs in ethnic dress indigenous to this part of the Yunnan Province, has received widespread recognition across China. Among its numerous awards are first prizes in the inaugural China Western Choral Festival, First Yunnan Nie Er Music Week, First Kunming Nie Er Cup Chorus Festival, and First National Farmers’ Chorus Festival in Guangzhou. In 2008 the chorus represented the Yunnan province as the only Miao ensemble in the CCTV Young Singers’ Match; along with a top prize, the chorus received invitations to perform at Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts and the Central Conservatory of Music. The chorus has also appeared at UNESCO’s Humanity Photo Awards 2011, the Opening Ceremony of the second Nie Er Music and Chorus Week in Shanghai Grand Theatre, the Beijing Television Spring Festival Gala, the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival, and the Jianshui Charity Concert, and made two appearances on the popular television show Mama Miya on Shanghai Dragon TV. The Miao reside primarily in Xiaoshuijing, a small Fumin county village of 158 families. Missionaries introduced Christianity in 1937, and today an estimated 80% of the village population identifies as Christian. In 2007 Xiaoshuijing was designated the Pilot Village of New Rural Construction in Kunming, aiming to increase agricultural production and improve living standards. This performance marks the New York Philharmonic debut of the Farmers’ Chorus of the Yunnan Province.

Li Huanzhi (1919–2000) composed Spring Festival Overture in 1955–56 as a cheerful depiction of the Spring Festival, the term used in China for what is known in the U.S. as the Lunar New Year. The piece has become immensely popular throughout China — performed in arrangements for various groupings of Chinese instruments, Western instruments, or combinations of the two — and is also well known well beyond that country: in 2007, it was one of 30 musical selections sent into outer space aboard Chang’e No. 1, China’s first lunar-probe satellite, which beamed this music back to earth. Andre Kostelanetz led the Orchestra’s first performance of this piece in May 1972; it has been performed annually as part of the Lunar New Year celebrations since January 2012, conducted by Long Yu.

When South Carolina–born composer Andy Akiho (b. 1979) was commissioned to write a new work for the closing ceremony of Shanghai’s sixth annual MISA (Music in the Summer Air) Festival in 2015, he decided to take inspiration for Ricochet, Concerto for Ping Pong, Violin, Percussion, and Orchestra from an unusual diplomatic event. In 1971, when relations between the United States and China had been strained for more than two decades, the U.S. table tennis team accepted an invitation to visit China for a week, and the resulting “ping pong diplomacy” between the two nations helped usher in the diplomatic thaw that led to, among other things, President Nixon’s meetings with Mao Zedong in China the next year. Ricochet is a triple concerto in which Mr. Akiho incorporates percussion, violin, and a ping pong match between a Chinese and American player. The playful, rhythm-heavy piece explores the musical potential of the ping pong balls, and uses an array of percussive objects such as pipes, bowls, and bottles. Ricochet was commissioned jointly by the Beijing Music Festival and the MISA Festival, and was premiered at Shanghai Symphony Hall in July 2015 by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra conducted by Huang Yi. The New York Philharmonic gave the World Premiere of Andy Akiho’s Oscillate, a Philharmonic commission, in December 2012 led by Jayce Ogren as part of CONTACT, the new-music series.

When Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) conducted and performed the now-infamous premiere of his Choral Fantasy in December 1808 at the legendary Akademie benefit concert at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien, it was, for everyone involved, too much of a good thing executed under the most difficult circumstances. Hastily composed — uncharacteristic for Beethoven — and under-rehearsed, it “simply fell apart,” according to Beethoven’s secretary Anton Schindler. Polished after the premiere, the Choral Fantasy combines piano and orchestra with voices singing a text written by either Christoph Kuffner or Georg Friedrich Treitschke (the authorship is disputed). The work comprises a solo piano introduction, a set of variations, and a chorale finish. The theme woven throughout is based on Beethoven’s 1795 song “Gegenliebe” (“Requited Love”), and foreshadows the famous chorale theme in the final movement of the Ninth Symphony. The solo piano portions are constructed in a free-variation style that tips its hat to Beethoven’s keyboard improvisation skills — he did not notate the solo piano portion in its entirety until 1809. The New York Philharmonic first performed the work in January 1877, led by Leopold Damrosch with pianist Bernard Boekelman and the Oratorio Society of New York; the Orchestra most recently performed it in February 2001, led by then Music Director Kurt Masur with pianist Jonathan Biss and the Berlin Radio Choir.

Programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Single tickets for the Lunar New Year Concert start at $35. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (212) 875-5656, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Tickets may also be purchased at the David Geffen Hall Box Office. The Box Office opens at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. On performance evenings, the Box Office closes one-half hour after performance time; other evenings it closes at 6:00 p.m. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic’s Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. (Ticket prices subject to change.)

For press tickets, call Lanore Carr at the New York Philharmonic at (212) 875-5714, or email her at [email protected].

For information about purchasing tables or tickets to the Gala (including pre-concert reception, concert, and post-concert dinner with the artists), please contact the Office of Special Events at [email protected].


David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center

Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

Long Yu, conductor
Serena Wang*, piano
Heather Phillips*, soprano
Vanessa Vasquez*, soprano
Sarah Mesko*, mezzo-soprano
Marco Cammarota*, tenor
Chad Johnson*, tenor
Alex Rosen*, bass
Ariel Hsing*, Michael Landers*, ping pong players
Elizabeth Zeltser*, violin
David Cossin*, percussion
Farmers’ Chorus of the Yunnan Province*
Guangyuan Long, director

LI Huanzhi Spring Festival Overture
Andy AKIHO Ricochet, Concerto for Ping Pong, Violin, Percussion, and Orchestra (U.S. Premiere)
BEETHOVEN Choral Fantasy
TRADITIONAL “Flowing Stream”

* New York Philharmonic debut

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