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Ringing In The Year Of The Ox Will Be A Largely Virtual Event

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For the second year in a row, the pandemic is disrupting Lunar New Year celebrations in the countries of Vietnam, South Korea, China and the U.S. So the ringing in of the Year of the Ox will be a largely virtual affair.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

But that means festivities hosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Freer and Sackler galleries in Washington, D.C., may draw an even wider audience.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHANGHAI QUARTET PERFORMANCE OF ZHOU'S "EIGHT FOLK SONGS")

PFEIFFER: The Shanghai Quartet will headline the virtual celebration.

HONGGANG LI: The first piece is nicknamed "The Writer."

PFEIFFER: That's violist and Shanghai Quartet co-founder Honggang Li.

LI: The second piece is a set of Chinese folk songs arranged by our friend - my friend, an old schoolmate of mine, Zhou Long.

NICHOLAS TZAVARAS: We were looking for folk songs that we thought would be evocative of this kind of Lunar New Year. And his folk songs are just beautiful.

MARTIN: And that's the Shanghai Quartet's cellist, Nicholas Tzavaras.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHANGHAI QUARTET PERFORMANCE OF ZHOU'S "EIGHT FOLK SONGS")

MARTIN: The entire performance, which will debut on YouTube tomorrow evening, was pre-recorded at one of Juilliard's performance halls in China; a kaleidoscope of brief musical journeys that takes you from the nostalgic to the sorrowful to the upbeat.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHANGHAI QUARTET PERFORMANCE OF ZHOU'S "EIGHT FOLK SONGS")

LI: If you're happy, you want something happy. There are happy music. And, sometimes, they only last a minute or two minutes long, you know, and will cheer you up.

MARTIN: Bringing to music lovers worldwide a soundtrack for the start of a new year and maybe a chance to taste the promise of more hopeful times to come.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHANGHAI QUARTET PERFORMANCE OF ZHOU'S "EIGHT FOLK SONGS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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