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World Music Wednesday: Lunar New Year Concert with Tzu-Tsen Wu and Friends

February 7, 2024 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Old Town School of Folk Music, Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall
4544 N Lincoln Ave.
Old Town School of Folk Music

As part of the Old Town School of Folk Music’s World Music Wednesday Concert Series, this Year of the Dragon-themed concert will immerse you in the spirit of Lunar New Year with performances blending traditional and contemporary Chinese and Thai music and instruments. Featured performers include multi-instrumentalist Tzu-Tsen Wu, multi-percussionist Brent Roman, and their duo, Ruan and Hide, along with special guest Chamni Sripraram. This event is free, but advanced reservations are recommended. Reserve your tickets here. Presented in Partnership with The Old Town School of Music and Choose Chicago. 

About Tzu-Tsen Wu

A native of Taiwan, Tzu-Tsen Wu is a plucked-string multi-instrumentalist specializing in the Chinese Zhong Ruan (lute) and Liu Qin (mandolin). Her playing style is informed through her Taiwanese roots and her studies of various other world music styles including jazz and classical music. She is currently a member of the Chicago Immigrant Orchestra (Chicago Reader’s “Best World Music Act” of 2021) and serves as the current Artistic Program Coordinator for The Chinese Fine Arts Society of Chicago. As a music educator, she presently serves as the Adjunct Professor of Music at Oakton College in addition to Music Director of the Jade Chinese Music Ensemble at the University of Chicago. She performs and collaborates regularly and has co-authored a children’s music textbook commissioned by the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Education.

About Brent Roman 

Chicagoland based multi-percussionist Brent Roman is known for his vast experience and knowledge in the study, teaching, and performance of various world music traditions. He is an active ensemble member of several Chicago-based musical ensembles (including Tuvergen Band and Mucca Pazza), has performed, studied, and instructed internationally, and previously toured with Cirque Du Soleil as percussionist and Drum Captain. Brent has studied traditional Chinese percussion (Luo Gu) and hammered dulcimer (Yang Qin) at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He has served as musical director for The Chinese Fine Arts Society of Chicago, composer/instructor for the Cheng Da Chinese Drum Team, and started the first public high school Chinese music ensemble in the US at New Trier High School where he currently serves as the Dance Division’s Head of Sound and Accompanist. He has been featured on television, film, radio, musical theatre runs, and recorded on a number of albums. He has performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, NPR’s Tiny Desk, MassMOCA, Ravinia, Chicago Symphony Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center and has collaborated with names such as Si Zhu Kong, Yo-Yo Ma, and the Dalai Lama. Brent regularly does Chinese music educational outreach in schools throughout the area with organizations such as Merry Music Makers, Urban Gateways, Fulcrum Point, Chicago Sinfonietta, Ravinia, and the Old Town School of Folk Music.

About Duo Ruan and Hide 

Ruan & Hide is a Chinese Folk-Fusion duet based in Chicago, Illinois. The performers bring their own musical traditions to the project creating a blend of traditional Chinese & Taiwanese folk melodies with modern world music rhythms, performed on Chinese lute and percussion. The name is a reference to the instruments used; the “Ruan” lute and the “Hide” covering of the drums with a whimsical nod to the expression “run and hide”.

About Chamni Sripraram 

Chamni Sripraram received his master’s in world music at Northern Illinois University, where he is now an adjunct professor teaching “Music of Southeast Asia” and “Music of Thailand” courses and directing the Thai Music Ensemble.

He has lectured, conducted workshops and given performances at higher education institutions in the U.S. including Northwestern University, DePaul University, Roosevelt University, North Park University, Kent State University, UCLA, College of DuPage and Triton College.  During his time as a graduate student, he created an interactive learning website for Thai music for the Center of Southeast Asia Studies at NIU.

Ajarn Chamni, or Guru Chamni, as his students call him, started his teaching career at the Thai Temple in Chicago in 1996 as a prestigious cultural exchange scholarship recipient from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. During his term, he was invited to perform in New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Kent, OH, Lexington, KY, San Diego, CA and Ottawa Canada.

Ajarn Chamni has extensive experience serving Thai and Asian American communities in the U.S. He was the president for Thai Cultural and Fine Arts Institute (TCFAI) in Chicago, a 501c3 non-profit organization, for two terms and has been TCFAI’s artistic director since its establishment, teaching Thai classical and folk music to Asian-American students and engaging in outreach programs promoting Thai culture through music and dance. Ajarn Chamni was one of the first Thai American representatives to join the Thai American Empowerment project sponsored by the Thai Embassy in Washington D.C. to visit the Thai prime minister. With the support from Thai Foreign Ministry in Summer 2017, he brought over 25 music students to perform in Thailand.

Ajarn Chamni received the Asian American Hall of Fame in 2013, Community Service Award in 2016, Asian Humanitarian Award in 2019 and the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2019.

About Old Town School of Folk Music and World Music Wednesdays

World Music Wednesdays is the Old Town School Of Folk Music’s weekly showcase of world music and dance featuring the best local and touring talent! Most shows are Wednesday nights at 8:00 PM. Most World Music Wednesday concerts are free with a $10 suggested donation. TO GUARANTEE YOUR ENTRY MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS IN ADVANCE EITHER ONLINE OR BY CALLING THE BOX OFFICE AT 773.728.6000. Reservations unclaimed 10 minutes before showtime will be released to waiting patrons.

The Old Town School of Folk Music teaches and celebrates music and cultural expressions rooted in the traditions of diverse American and global communities. Founded in 1957, the Old Town School of Folk Music provides a wide range of music, dance, theater, and visual arts courses to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Whatever one’s interest, the Old Town School provides broad access to more than 700 accredited class offerings, private lessons, and workshops that span an array of artistic genres. Learn more here. 

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