TAIWANfest Concert
TAIWANfest Concert

The Island and the Maple Leaf

Maestro Ken Hsieh and TAIWANfest Orchestra & Chin-Ai String Orchestra

Originally aired on Aug 29, 2020 at 8 PM EST

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TAIWANfest presents its annual Opening Ceremony Symphony Concert virtually through “The Island and the Maple Leaf”. Inspired by the Taiwanese people’s aspirations for joy across the world and the Canadian people’s pursuit to leave a legacy for the future, let the music uplift spirits around us.

“The Island and the Maple Leaf” is making its digital premiere with moving performances by an orchestra in Toronto and one in Taiwan. Led by Maestro Ken Hsieh in Toronto, the musicians themselves will also engage in musical dialogue and conversation throughout the event and share what music means to them, especially during these times. They will be joined by the young musicians of Chin-Ai Music, the first and only Indigenous string orchestra in Taiwan. Using music to heal the soul, it is an enlightening event that transcends cultural, linguistic, and geographical barriers, bridging together people of different cultures and backgrounds to remind us of the good that can be made when we all come together.

Symphony Programme

COMPOSER: Michael Conway Baker

Michael Conway Baker is one of Canada’s most well-known and decorated composers. He was a music educator while growing his career as a composer, and has composed not only for the stage but also for media such as films, TVs, events, and institutions.

SOLO PIANO: Wayne Weng

Created in 1936, it was part of the Golden Ages of Taiwanese pop music during the Japanese colonial era in Taiwan. It was one of the very few Taiwanese pop songs that was lively and cheerful. The song is like a play, it expresses the yearning of young people in Taiwan from arranged marriages. It is one of the old Japanese songs that are sung the most by the public today.

SOLO CELLO: Tadaw Sapu 

The simplicity of tone is a hallmark of traditional Atayal songs, and this song is majestic and mournful, with a clear rhythm that fully expresses Indigenous culture. The melody is low in the middle, bringing out the simplicity of mountain life; the song is passionate at times, perfectly representing the spirit of the Indigenous people’s confrontation with the tides of time.

COMPOSER: Trevor Hoffman

Canadian composer Trevor Hoffman evokes the images of some of Canada’s most well known animals in this Canadian Animal Suite.


This is a story of a young girl who went to the stream to watch fish; it is a Hakka folk song that is widely circulated in Taiwan. In the ancient agricultural society, when the Hakka people went to the mountains to pick tea or chop wood, everyone would sing a folk song to express their feelings. The lyrics were mostly based on topics such as tea, mountains, and love.

COMPOSER: Takashi Miki

“I Only Care About You” is a classic song from one of Taiwan’s most beloved singers and cultural icons, Teresa Teng. The original song was a Japanese single “Let Time Flies by Your Side” released by Teresa Teng in 1986. It was ranked 6th on the Oricon chart in Japan, setting a new record for foreign artists in the Japanese music scene. The following year, a Mandarin album of the same name was released. “I Only Care About You” is also the last album officially released by Teresa Teng.

COMPOSER: Rizet Tsen

South of the Border is one of the most well known songs from the 2008 Taiwanese film “Cape No. 7”. The song describes two love stories with different backgrounds in time and space, and won the best original film song at the 45th Golden Horse Awards. “Cape No. 7” is still the box office champion in Taiwanese film history. It helped lift the Taiwan film market at that time and also stimulated the revival of Taiwanese films.

COMPOSER: Michael Conway Baker

A long-time Vancouver resident, Michael Conway Baker’s piece is titled after the iconic bridge connecting Stanley Park with North Vancouver and the view of the mountain range north of the city.

COMPOSER: Shuang-Tze Lee
LYRICS: Ching-Feng Liang
VOCALIST: Suana Emuy Cilangasay (Taiwan)  

A Taiwanese folk song composed in 1977 when Taiwan was still under martial law, and the people began to form their Taiwanese identity; after some political activists launched the “Beautiful Island” magazine in 1979, songs without political intentions originally were classified as banned songs because of the reference to the later-banned publication. This song has been passed down to this day, and it has unexpectedly become one of the songs that symbolizes Taiwan’s democracy movement.

COMPOSER: Beethoven

Composed by Beethoven in 1804 – 1809, Symphony No. 5 is one of the most well known, frequently played, and influential Classical pieces in the world.

COMPOSER: Ching-Hsi Weng

One of the most recognized works of Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng. The first release of the song was actually part of another singer’s album. After being re-interpreted by Teresa Teng in 1977, it was widely circulated and became one of the most popular Chinese-language songs in Chinese-speaking society and even the world. So far, there have been multiple covers of the song in Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, English, and French.


A Taiwanese folk song that may song familiar to some, “Tongzai” is an early stage in a coin tossing game where the clanging rhythm of the game creates “Tongzai Diao Diao” or the sound of water dripping from a train passing through a cave. It makes people sing the song as a ballad from Yilan. The arranger has given the dance music a stringed element as well, with the use of harmonies and special sound effects to create a sense of space, similar to the train passing through a cave, adding to the immersive effect of the song.

COMPOSER: Zhengzhi Lin

Taibalang Song is composed by Zhengzhi Lin, a priest of the Taibalang tribe in Guangfu Township, Hualien County. The original song is titled “I Think” and is a song based on lyrics from the Amis tribe in Taibalang. The melody of the song is beautiful and catchy, and the rising scales in the second half of the song expresses the inner feelings of the singer. The song was composed with the aim of preserving the traditional songs and dances of the tribe, which are full of the wisdom of the ancestral spirits.

Symphony Concert Musicians

Canada – Taiwanfest orchestra

Tanya Charles Iveniuk / Alex Toskov / Adam Diderrich / George Cleland / Heng Han Hou / Bijan Sepanji
Alain Bouvier / Elena Spanu / Iain McKay / Wanes Moubayed / Emily Sun
Veronica Lee / Isaac Li / Rebecca Diderrich / Laurence Schaufele
Samuel Bisson / Gordon Cleland / Rachel Pomedli
Connor Crone / Ching-Ping Lin
Mor Shargall-Bisson / Katherine Watson
Colin Maier / Chieh-Ying Lu
Peter Stoll / Anthony Thompson
Kevin Harris / Bianca Chambul

Jason Austin / Gilles Thibodeau / Austin Hitchcock / Amelia Shiels
Scott Harrison / Dylan Maddix
Paul Tarussov / Cathy Stone / Megan Hodge
Al Carter
Kristan Toczko
Victor Cheng
Alejandro Céspedes / Michelle Colton


Solo Violin / Ken Lin
Solo Piano / Wayne Weng

Taiwan – Chin-Ai String Orchestra

No Temu / Temu Bawan / Wadan Pawan / Temu Boya / Wadan Pawan / Mahun Pawan

Udaw Ruji / Walis Yawi / Piho Wadan / Piyu Temu / Akin Kagi

Kumu Suyan / Yabung Piyu / Temi Temu / Lawa Temu / Pawan Boya / Pawan Temu

Away Pawan / Tadaw Sapu / Temi / Kumuy Temu / Lawa Yumin

Luby Yumin / Uma Yubu / Sige Walis / Lawa Wadan



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