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Principal Cellist: Chinese Spectacular ‘Amazing’

Posted by Author on January 16, 2008

By Jason Loftus, Epoch Times Toronto Staff, Jan 14, 2008- Amanda Forsyth talks about the <I>Chinese New Year Spectacular.</i> (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

OTTAWA—A celebrated Canadian musician had just one word when asked what she thought of the Chinese New Year Spectacular in Ottawa on Sunday night: “Amazing.”

Amanda Forsyth (photo at right) is considered one of North America’s most dynamic cellists. The winner of a Juno award — Canada’s Grammy — she is the principal cellist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) in Ottawa.

On Sunday night, she joined her mother — and 2,100 others — to take in the sold-out Canadian premier of the Spectacular at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa’s premier theatre.

“It’s really beautiful that they’re really so proud of their traditions. It’s so poetic,” said Forsyth.

The show, put on by New York-based Divine Performing Arts, has been billed as a renaissance of traditional Chinese culture. Divine Performing Arts says it seeks to convey not only the aesthetic beauty of Chinese culture, but also the values and the inner meaning of the culture, which have been repressed over decades of communist rule.

Forsyth was the youngest principal ever selected by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in 1993, where she stayed until joining the NACO in 1999. She also tours internationally with the renowned Zukerman Chamber Players, performing with her husband, violinist Pinchas Zukerman.

Forsyth enjoyed the mix of eastern and western instruments in the orchestra that accompanied the show, and she was particularly pleased that the “erhu” —a two-stringed Chinese instrument with a wide range of notes—was on-stage for a solo in the second act.

“[The erhu] is my favourite,” she said. “I love it.”

“For a musician, it’s nice to see,” she added. “In western music, when we have a ballet company and the orchestra is in the pit, we already know what it looks like . . . I really love to see the erhu on stage.”

Forsyth’s performances have allowed her to travel and take in shows around the world.

“I felt like I was actually in Asia,” she remarked.

But for someone who often uses her travel to satisfy her desire for fashion, Forsyth particularly enjoyed the traditional costumes in the show.

“The fabrics were amazing,” she said.

Would she be back next year? “Absolutely.”

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Divine Performing Arts shows that will perform in over 60 cities worldwide in 2008. To find a show near you, please visit

Original report from the Epochtimes

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