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2023 Chinese New Year Festival – Immerse in Suzhou Culture

January 8, 1 pm4 pm.
Event Poster

A family-friendly early Lunar New Year festival in NYC focusing on the famed “Culture City” of Suzhou. Presented by the China Institute and the Suzhou Cultural and Arts Center, this afternoon-long event will highlight Chinese art and culture through Musical Performances, Interactive Artist Demonstrations, Films, and Gallery Exhibitions, with activities including a traditional Chinese Lion Dance, storytelling, and dumpling-making workshop. It will include a special focus on arts from the Suzhou region of China, including Pingtan (musical performance), embroidery, and Kunqu Opera. It will take place at the China Institute on Sunday, January 8, from 1- 4:00 pm

The festival highlights Chinese culture and is part of a weekend of activities honoring the upcoming Lunar New Year, as well as the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s historic 1973 tour of China, including an opening celebration and concert at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra on Saturday, January 7.

Registration is available here; the cost is $15 General Admission and Free for Members. Please find below a detailed breakdown the afternoon’s events for inclusion in the calendar. Let me know if you would like any additional information, images, or other details.

Full Festival Program

Sunday, January 8, 2023, 1-4pm EST

1- 1:30 pm: Lion Dance & Welcome Performance

1:45 – 2:45 pm: Breakout Activities

Storytelling workshop

Performed by Pauline Huang, children’s book author, Chinese language and music educator, songwriter, and mother of two! She has a passion for writing stories and songs to educate and influence young minds to inspire pride in their own culture and curiosity about other cultures. In 2010 and 2012, she co-authored a Chinese songbook series, ‘Rhythms and Tones’ with Robin Harvey.


Dumpling making workshop

Performed by Feng Zeyu, As a talented language teacher, Ms. Feng inherited her passion for cooking growing up in China and is excited to teach her innovative recipes of homemade foods. Joining the China Institute as a full-time staff in 2020 with advanced degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hong Kong Baptist University, Ms. Feng will bring her multicultural perspectives into this workshop that combines cooking, language, and culture learning.


Pingtan workshop

Performers Xie, Ying and Chen, Feng, members of the renowned Suzhou Pingtan Troupe will perform Night Mooring at Maple Bridge and Meet at Plum Pavilion, examples of Pingtan, a form of ballad singing and musical accompaniment, which involves singing, acting and the telling of long stories that brings characters and events to life.



World-renowned and highly-acclaimed Master Yao Huifen and daughter Yu Junyao, a Yao Huifen Suzhou Embroidery Institute instructor, will demonstrate  Suzhou Embroidery, one of the oldest embroidery techniques in the world, through a variety of stitches, beautiful patterns, and elegant colors. Guests will be able to explore this ancient embroidery art with DIY packs of Suzhou Embroidery greeting cards and take them home as Chinese New Year gifts for family members and friends. 


2:30 – 3:00 pm: A close-up look at Kunqu Opera makeup and costume

3:00 – 4:00m Kunqu Opera demonstration and dialogue with opera artists

Originating 600 years ago from Kunshan, an area outside of Suzhou in eastern China, Kunqu Opera has long been considered to be the oldest classical opera and the most comprehensive theatrical art in China. Elegant, exquisite and unique in style, Kunqu Opera integrates drama, music, literature, dance, design, and significantly influenced many regional opera genres in China including the Beijing Opera. In 2001, Kunqu Opera was proclaimed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Audiences will be treated to a special performance featuring Fengying Shen (沈丰英) and Guofang Shen (沈国芳), top Kunqu Opera performers from Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theatre, to get a taste of this beautiful art form. The two artists will present in full costume their stories with Kunqu Opera and perform a short segment from the renowned The Peony Pavilion. A dialogue with the artists will follow the performance.


About the Organizers:

This event is presented by:

About China Institute 

Founded in 1926 by Chinese reformers Hu Shi (胡適) and Kuo Ping-Wen (郭秉文) and American educators John Dewey and Paul Monroe, China Institute is the oldest bicultural, non-profit organization in America to focus exclusively on China.

From ancient art to today’s business landscape and its rapidly shifting culture, our programs, school, and gallery exhibitions bring to life the depth, complexity, and dynamism of China.

Chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York in 1944 as a school of continuing education, our language and cultural school is the oldest educational center of its kind in the United States.

 To learn more about China Institute, please visit: www.chinainstitute.org


The Suzhou Cultural and Arts Centre
Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre (SCAC), originally designed by the world-famous

architect Paul Andreu, occupies an area of 150,000 square meters and houses 12

theatres, including the Grand Theatre, Da Dao Comedy Theatre, the Jinji Lake Concert

Hall, Guo Feng Theatre, etc., as well as a cineplex, the Jinji Lake Contemporary Art

Museum, SIP Cultural Center, SCAC Art School, restaurants and stores. Suzhou

Symphony Orchestra and Suzhou Ballet Theatre are the resident troupes of SCAC.

SCAC is a subsidiary of Suzhou Culture Investment and Development Group, and also a member of the Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres. It has become a city landmark and a sanctuary of art in Suzhou, as well as a renowned culture and art space in China since its grand opening in 2007.


With partners:

Suzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism

Suzhou Culture Investment Development Group

Suzhou Kunqu Opera Theater, Jiangsu Province

Suzhou Pingtan Troupe


40 Rector Street, 2nd FL
NYC, NY 10006 United States