Chinese Silhouettes

Three CDs released in 2007 focus on virtuoso musicians from China. The Silk String Quartet, formed by four skilled performers is regarded by some as the finest Chinese string quartet ensemble based in Europe. The ensemble is formed by Cheng Yu on pipa (she is also the founder of the Quartet); Sun Zhuo on guzheng; Hu Bin on erhu; and Zhou Jinyan on yangqin.

On their latest CD, Contemporary and Traditional Chinese Music, Silk String Quartet combines the old with the contemporary, including traditional pierces along with new compositions and arrangements. The wonderful recording features exquisite melodies, cinematic passages, a bit of experimentation and lively passages.

On Ma Sicong: Music for Violin and Piano, violinist Hsiao-mei Ku and pianist Ning Lu, take a completely different approach to Chinese music. Ma Sicong (1912-1987) was a renowned violinist and composer who incorporated Chinese folk music to Western classical music. Ma Sicong: Music for Violin and Piano is the first album on the new Naxos Chinese Classics series. It reveals two masterful musicians performing memorable pieces that pay tribute to their venerable heritage. 

Xu Pingxin shows his virtuosity at the yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer) on the CD Master of the Chinese Dulcimer. The album contains a collection of newly arranged traditional pieces as well as recent material. Xu Pingxin began playing the yangqin at age 6 (in 1974) and studied at the Central Conservatory of Music. In 1985 he became one of the first Master’s degree students of the yangqin in China. Eight years later he became an Associate Professor of yangqin at the Central Conservatory of Music.