Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY—The acclaimed ensemble, Music From China, will give a public performance of traditional and contemporary Chinese music on Wednesday, February 14, at Bard College. The concert, which is free and open to the public, begins at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. Music From China will be in residency at Bard for two days, giving performances and seminars for both Bard students and sixth-grade students from the Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook.

\"A Ming Dynasty handbook on Chinese music identifies sixteen different musical timbres, from loose to crisp to gliding to profound to lofty,\" writes Jon Pareles in the New York Times. \"That attention to sonic detail is still an essential part of traditional Chinese music, as Music From China demonstrates with grace and virtuosity.\"

Music From China\'s members include highly acclaimed virtuoso artists who perform on traditional instruments that lend their distinctive sounds to the evocative lure of Chinese music, including the pipa (lute), erhu (two-string fiddle), dizi (bamboo flute), yangqin (hammered dulcimer), ruan (moon guitar), and zheng (zither). At Bard the five musicians in the ensemble, Wang Guowei, Min Xiaofen, Yang Yi, Helen Yee, and Susan Cheng, will perform classical as well as folk and contemporary music, including the Cantonese tune \"Birds in the Forest,\" \"The Moon Reflected in the Erquan Pool,\" and \"Plum Flower Variations.\" The ensemble has toured with Yo-Yo Ma and performed at Carnegie Hall, and works with composers to continuously develop new works that expand the boundaries of traditional Chinese instruments. Their annual Premiere Works series (now in its 11th year) at Merkin Concert Hall has presented the music of noted Chinese composers Chen Yi, Zhou Long, and Bun-Ching Lam, as well as other emerging composers. They are the first Chinese organization to receive an Adventurous Programming award from Chamber Music America and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for creating unique programs that combine Eastern and Western music. Since 1986, Music From China has commissioned and performed over 70 new works by 44 composers and is a major contributor to the development of new Chinese music.

About the Artists:
Wang Guowei, artistic director, is one of the most outstanding erhu (two-string fiddle) soloists of his generation. Born in 1961 in Shanghai, he joined the Shanghai Traditional Orchestra at age 17, later becoming erhu soloist and concertmaster, and touring with the Orchestra to Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Belgium, Canada, and the United States. He received a degree from the Shanghai Conservatory majoring in erhu performance and was awarded the ART Cup at the 1989 International Chinese Instrumental Music Competition. He has performed the music of Zhou Long, Anthony Braxton, Jason Kao Hwang, Pan Hwang-Long, Zhu Jianer, among others. As a composer, Wang Guowei has written music for Chinese and Western instruments, including \"Sheng,\" a solo for erhu that he premiered in 1996. Through a grant from the Australian Ministry of Culture he composed \"Tea House,\" which was premiered in Melbourne and broadcast by ABC Radio National and recorded on CD. His composition \"Two Pieces for Percussion Quartet,\" commissioned by the Ethos Percussion Group, was premiered at Weill Recital Hall on March 4, 2000. He is currently working on a composition with Music From China, funded by a grant from the American Composers Forum. Wang has performed with the New Music Consort, Peabody Camerata, Bay Youth Concert Orchestra, Norfolk Chamber Consort, Four Nations Ensemble, Ethos Percussion Group, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Min Xiaofen was pipa (lute) soloist with the Nanjing National Music Orchestra. Since her arrival in the United States in 1992, she has worked with the New York City Opera, Brooklyn Philharmonic, the vocal ensemble Chanticleer, Women\'s Philharmonic, San Francisco Opera Symphony Orchestra, and Shanghai String Quartet. She has collaborated with famed composers Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Qu Xiao-Song, and Tan Dun. Min has also worked with John Zorn, composer/pianist Randy Weston, and many others. Her work appears on Tzadik, Asphodel, Delos, and Verve record labels. Her solo recording The Moon Rising was hailed by BBC Music Magazine as \"one of the best CDs of 1996.\"

Yang Yi completed her study of the zheng (zither) at the China Conservatory in Beijing in 1989. She became zheng soloist with the China National Union Arts Ensemble and instructor at the China Conservatory. Ms. Yang received an Outstanding Performer award at the 1989 International Chinese Instruments Competition.

Helen Yee, born in the United States, has performed on the yangqin (hammered dulcimer) since age 11. Her musical activities also include playing in alternative rock bands and in jazz bands.

Susan Cheng, founder and executive director of Music From China, has devoted a lifetime interest to the promotion and development of Chinese music in the United States. She performs on yangqin (hammered dulcimer) and ruan (moon guitar).

The residency and performance of Music From China is presented by Bard in China, The Bard Center, and the Music and Asian Studies Programs at Bard College with support provided by the New York State Council on the Arts and the Dutchess County Arts Council. For further information, call 845-758-7388, or e-mail:

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001