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State and Official Dinners

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WASHINGTON, DC - - The President and Mrs. Clinton are hosting his Excellency Zhu Rongji, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, and Madame Lao An at a White House Official Dinner on Thursday, April 8, 1999. Premier Zhu Rongji and Madame Lao An will arrive at the North Portico at 7:15 p.m.

Guests will be received by the President and Mrs. Clinton, and Premier Zhu Rongji and Madame Lao An in the Cross Hall of the White House. Following the receiving line, the President and Mrs. Clinton will escort Premier Zhu Rongji and Madame Lao An into the East Room for dinner.

The tables in the East Room will be set with Ronald Reagan base plates; the Ronald Reagan china will be used for service. Kennedy Morgantown crystal and gold Vermeil flatware will be set on rose dante damask tablecloths. Centerpieces will be created from Vermeil bamboo containers filled with flaming parrot tulips, Raphaela roses, cream timeless roses, oncidium orchids, yellow ginestra and Icelandic poppies. The floral arrangements will be surrounded by gold taper candles in gold candlesticks and gold votive candles.

Following the dinner, guests will be entertained in the East Room by premier cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Sara Wolfensohn, and pipa soloist Wu Man

April 8, 1999


Grilled Chicken with Vidalia Onion Glaze
Spring Vegetables and Oregon Morels
Ramp Dressing

Roasted Salmon on Caramelized Fennel and Endive
Basil Tomatoes, Artichoke and Fava Beans
Red Wine and Citrus Reduction

Mache, Dandelion and Wild Greens
Pear and Maytag Bleu Terrine
Port Wine Dressing


Orange Sherbet and Tea Parfait
Kumquat Tartlettes
Miniature Mango Pudding
Chocolate Brittle Flan and Almond Swan


Macari Chardonnay “Estate” 1997
Talley Pinot Noir “Rosemary's” 1996
Jordan “J” 1994


Yo-Yo Ma began his career at the age of four under the direction of his father. He later attended The Juilliard School in New York and studied under Leonard Rose. Yo-Yo Ma's many-faceted career is a testament to his continuous search for new ways to communicate with audiences and to his desire for artistic growth and renewal. Mr. Ma strives to discover connections that stimulate the imagination, whether through performing a new concerto, revisiting a familiar work, assembling with colleagues for chamber music, reaching out to young audiences and musicians, or exploring cultures and music outside the Western classical tradition.

Now the world's premier cellist and winner of twelve Grammy Awards, Yo-Yo Ma is strongly committed to educational programs that not only expose young audiences to music but allow them to participate in its creation. While touring, he takes time to conduct master classes as well as more informal programs for students – both musicians and non-musicians alike. Over the next few years, Mr. Ma plans to develop musical projects based on his exploration of cultures along the Silk Road, the ancient trading route that connected East Asia to Europe. His long-held fascination for the history of this vast area is a natural extension of his interest in cultural exchange.

Sara Wolfensohn is one of the most accomplished and versatile musicians of her generation. Her career has encompassed performances with major American and European orchestras, collaborations with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and numerous solo recitals around the world. Born in Sydney, Australia, Ms. Wolfensohn began her piano studies in London. She later moved to New York and worked with such greats as Bella Davidovich, Samuel Sanders and Felix Galamir at The Juilliard School. Ms. Wolfensohn currently studies with Dorothy Taubman.

Wu Man is one of today's most outstanding pipa soloists. She mastered the art of this ancient four-stringed lute at China's renowned Pudong School of Pipa Playing. She not only performs the traditional pipa repertoire but also has been recognized internationally as a leading interpreter of contemporary pipa music. Born in Hangzhou, China, Wu Man began professional music training at the age of 10. Her exceptional talents earned her the honor of becoming the first to receive a master's degree in pipa at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She makes her home in Massachusetts and travels to bring new works to leading music centers around the world.

Tonight's program features a piece composed by Bright Sheng in honor of this special occasion. Mr. Sheng was born in Shanghai, China and earned his undergraduate degree in music composition from Shanghai Conservatory of Music. The world-famous composer moved to New York to study at Queens College, CUNY and Columbia University. Among his principal teachers were Leonard Bernstein, Jack Beeson and Chou Wen-Chung. Mr. Sheng's music has been widely performed in the United States, Europe and Asia. As a pianist and conductor, Mr. Sheng has graced many of the world's most important stages.


The official gift for Premier Zhu Rongji from President Clinton on the occasion of his Official Visit to Washington, D.C., is an original handcrafted McSpadden dulcimer from Mountain View, Arkansas. This musical instrument is crafted by Lynn McSpadden, an Arkansas native who has been making dulcimers for 37 years. The dulcimers are crafted from cherry wood and spruce. This dulcimer is presented in a leather case with the Presidential Seal and inscription commemorating his Official Visit to the United States.

The official gift for Madame Lao An is a set of four stained glass panels designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright's stunning feats of architecture and unique designs have made him one of America's foremost architects. These four panels are designs of water lilies, wisteria, saguaros, and a prairie-style panel. In addition, Mrs. Clinton presented Madame Lao An with a copy of Wright's autobiography.

The First Family received from Premier Zhu Rongji and Madame Lao An a cherry wood framed sketch painting of the President, the First Lady, and Chelsea Clinton at the Great Wall.


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State and Official Dinners

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