University of Birmingham welcomes year of the monkey

The University of Birmingham’s China Institute has marked the Chinese New Year with the help of three world-class musicians.

Pianist Di Xiao, cellist Jiaxin Lloyd Webber and violinist Jiafeng Chen performed in the University’s Bramall Music Building to staff, students, partners and members of the Chinese community from across the West Midlands and beyond.

The musical trio helped celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Monkey with traditional Chinese music that transported the audience in the Elgar Concert Hall to the land of dragons and emperors, as well as European classical pieces, by Bach, Schubert and Debussy.

Last night’s (28 Jan) celebrations marking the Year of the Monkey also included a networking event showcasing the University’s engagement with China, which ranges from research collaborations with some of China’s best universities to working alongside the municipal government in Guangzhou.

The University’s relationship with China dates back to its foundation. In fact, the first Chinese student joined the University in 1907 and there are now some 14,000 Chinese alumni. The China Institute in 2012 to gather together its wide-ranging research activities with Chinese partners and encourage inter-disciplinary research across the University that focuses on China. In addition to the Birmingham-based Institute, the University established a presence in Shanghai in 2009 and opened the Guangzhou Centre in 2011, to host its activities in China.

Professor Jon Frampton, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (China) and Director of the China Institute, said: “Chinese New Year offers the perfect opportunity for the University of Birmingham to reflect upon our proud and longstanding relationship with China, which spans over 100 years.

“Our celebration also gives us the chance to bring together people from the diverse communities in the University, as well as further afield in the city, which have an interest in Chinese culture and working with Chinese partners.

“Our engagement with China is ever expanding and our event will provide an excellent opportunity to experience more about the University’s exciting vision of its future partnerships with this powerhouse of the world economy.”

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