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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

January 22, 2012
Susan Banovetz | Director of External Affairs | 218 726-6141|
Christiana Kapsner | UMD Public Relations Assistant | 218 726-8830 |
Leigh Neys | Director of UMD Confucius Institute and International Education Office | 218 726-7053 |

Celebrate the Launch of UMD's New Confucius Institute

World-renowned Chinese pipa soloist to perform in the Weber Music Hall

Gao HongGao Hong
To celebrate the launch of UMD's new Confucius Institute, Gao Hong, world-renowned Chinese pipa soloist, and Carleton College's Chinese Music Ensemble will perform on Saturday, January 21 at 3 p.m. in the Weber Music Hall. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Confucius Institute, named for the Chinese philosopher known for encouraging deep independent thought and the study of the outside world, promotes the study of Chinese language and culture. The University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMTC) established a Confucius Institute in 2008 through a collaborative initiative between the University of Minnesota, the Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters, and the Capitol Normal University in Beijing.

The UMD Confucius Institute, one of 67 in the U.S. and nearly 400 world-wide, is a satellite of the UMTC Confucius Institute and will serve Northeast Minnesota. It will offer programs and resources to educators in the region, especially in K-12 schools.

The UMD Confucius Institute will sponsor lectures and performances that will be open to the public. "It will be a good opportunity for the community to take advantage of cultural programs that they might not otherwise be exposed to," said Leigh Neys, director of both UMD's Confucius Institute and the International Education Office. The UMD Confucius Institute will also offer workshops for regional business people interested in doing business in China. "I hope it will bring a greater awareness of the economic opportunities involved in relations with China," Neys said.

History of the Carleton College's Chinese Music Ensemble

The Carleton Chinese Music Ensemble was established seven years ago and has since performed at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Mall of America, the University of Minnesota, The Confucius Institute's China Day 2010 event at Northrop Auditorium, the National Conference for Silk Road Scholars at the University of Minnesota, the Organization of Chinese Americans' annual Chinese New Year Celebration, Winona State University, the Land O'Lakes Company's Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Concert Series, and the Chinese Minghua Language School in St. Paul. Locally they have performed the inaugural performance for Northfield Library's Carnegie Concert Series, at Northfield High School, Northfield Middle School, St Olaf College, and Carleton's international festival, gallery openings, and Chinese New Year celebrations.

Additional Information About Gao Hong

Lecturer in Chinese musical instruments and music performance activities coordinator at Carleton College, Gao Hong began her career as a professional musician at age 12. She graduated with honors from the Central Conservatory of Music, China's premier music school, where she studied with pipa master Lin Shicheng. She has received numerous awards and honors, including First Prize in the Hebei Professional Young Music Performers Competition in China and an Asian Pacific Award, and fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Meet the Composers Inc. in New York and the Jerome Foundation. In 2005 Gao Hong became the first traditional musician to be awarded the prestigious Bush Artist Fellowship, and in 2008 she became the only musician in any genre to win three McKnight Artist Fellowships for Performing Musicians. As a composer, she has received commissions from the American Composers Forum, Walker Art Center, the Jerome Foundation, Zeitgeist, Ragamala Music and Dance Theater, Theater Mu, IFTPA, and Twin Cities Public Television. She has performed throughout Europe, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, and the United States and has participated in such events as the Lincoln Center Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and the International Festival. She has performed countless United States and world premieres of pipa concerti with organizations such as the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Heidelberg Philharmonic, and the Women's Philharmonic (San Francisco). She also is a Guest Professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

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