Following is a brief introduction written by Jeanette Yu, representative of the San Francisco Symphony and a member of the board of directors of the Tsunah Taiwan Culture and Education Foundation.
Tyzen Hsiao, born in Taiwan’s southern port city of Kaohsiung in 1938, has been a figurehead in the Taiwanese musical community as a composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher since the late 1960s. His compositions are strongly associated with the Taiwanese cultural movement that revitalized the country’s literary and performing arts in the 1970s and 1980s, and which restored a national pride in traditions and history.
An Angel from Formosa is on many levels a work of remembrance. The piece evokes a sense of the quiet, rural life in Hsiao’s homeland of Taiwan (historically called Formosa, from the Portuguese "Ilha Formosa," meaning "Beautiful Island")—a simple opening melody is warmed by the slow, breathtaking rise of a solitary flute, lifted by the oboe as if by a gust of wind over Taiwan’s idyllic rural landscape, embraced and strengthened by a sea of undulating strings, and finally embodied in an achingly lush brass solo. For its pure melody without pretentious effect, brilliant orchestral colors, and honest emotion, Tyzen Hsiao’s An Angel from Formosa has drawn numerous comparisons to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, one of the most popular of twentieth-century orchestral works. The composer dedicated An Angel from Formosa to the late Taiwanese pianist Wen-wan Chen (陳文婉), who championed and performed Tyzen Hsiao’s works on the international stage. Full of pathos, the piece closes with the strumming of the harp, an angelic final call for remembrance." --- Jeanette Yu
UPDATE: The latest press release says "13th Annual Lunar New Year Concert." However, its own webpage title and everything linked from it still says "Chinese" New Year.