With over six million visitors a year, San Francisco's Chinatown is the largest Chinese community outside of Asia, the oldest Chinatown in North America and a major catalyst for social, economic, artistic and cultural changes in America for more than 150 years. The Festival will personify the history of Chinatown and the ongoing Chinese-American experience of combining tradition and innovation with history and modernity. The Festival aims to foster a greater understanding of Chinatown, enhance tourism and convey the optimism and forward-looking perspective of the neighborhood.
The Festival highlight is The James Irvine Foundation commissioned-piece, Portrait of Sun Yat-sen," a new work by Chinese-American composer and pianist Jon Jang. The work celebrates the October 10 Centennial of the Xinhai Revolution (Chinese Revolution) and will feature Jang's piano, pipa (Chinese lute), vocal soloist Min Xiao Fen, a seven-member jazz ensemble including CMF Producer and long-time Jang associate, saxophonist Francis Wong. The 2:35pm performance will include text read by San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu reflecting on Dr. Sun's life, ideas and accomplishments.
The Xinhai Revolution of 1911 ended the thousand years of a feudal system in China and promoted the concept of a republic. The Chinese Republic's first provisional president, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, exiled from main land China, was educated in Hawaii and worked to secure support for revolutionary movement in China from U.S. Chinese communities, including San Francisco Chinatown. He is best remembered for his articulation of the Three People's Principles" of nationalism, democracy and people's livelihood. Dr. Sun credited the line from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address government of the people, by the people, for the people" as his inspiration.