Music From China marks its 35th anniversary by paying tribute to distinguished composers Chen Yi and Zhou Long with a retrospective of their works commissioned by the group. As leading voices in contemporary Chinese music, the two composers helped lay the groundwork for new music written for traditional instruments or with Western counterparts. Their music brings together the aesthetic concepts and musical elements of East and West.
The program represents some of the most iconic works by the composers that span nearly three decades of artistic collaboration with Music From China. Chen Yi’s ebullient Chinese Fables (pipa, erhu, cello, percussion) brings some of the most beloved Chinese allegorical stories to life. Her Three Dances from China South for Chinese quartet captures the essence of colorful dance traditions of the southern region with “Lions Playing Ball,” “Bamboo Dance” and “Lusheng Dance.”
Zhou Long’s music pays close attention to timbral explorations. Heng (Eternity), one of his earliest works for Music From China using all traditional instruments, has layered tone colors, at times opaque or intense. In contrast, Mount a Long Wind is a vivid, edge-of-the-seat tone-poem. A Washington Post reviewer called it “richly imaginative …. steeped in tradition yet thoroughly 21st-century …. that transcends nationalism but retains, at its heart, a compelling and distinctive Chinese sensibility.” A new work is commissioned to Zhou Long for this concert—PipaGongs—featuring pipa, erhu, cello and a large array of percussion instruments.
- Wang Guowei, erhu
- Sun Li, pipa
- Zhou Jing, zheng
- Hong-Da Chin, dizi
- Michael Katz, cello
- Frank Cassara, Susan Cheng, percussion
Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre
Expected Run Time is 100 minutes