Tag Archives: pipa

Wu Man & Huayin Shadow Puppet Band to Perform at New York Society for Ethical Culture

Wu Man

Pipa master Wu Man and Huayin Shadow Puppet Band are set to perform on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at New York Society for Ethical Culture in Manhattan. The show is presented by World Music Institute.

Recognized as one of the world’s leading performers, Wu Man has developed a career as a soloist, educator and composer who has given her lute-like instrument (which has a history of over 2,000 years in China) a new role in both traditional and contemporary music.

Wu Man’s work as a member of Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and her prevalent role in the recent documentary on the ensemble titled The Music of Strangers has brought her work to the attention of larger audiences.

Wu Man is collaborating with the remarkable Huayin Shadow Puppet Band (formerly known as the Zhang Family Band) for performances of old tune traditional music with shadow puppetry. Along with vocal performances, the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band uses the yueqin, banhu, erhu, lute, fiddle and a variety of percussion instruments (including clappers, gongs, cymbals and a wood bench) to tell lively stories of rural life in remote China and draw the audience into places and sounds rarely heard in the West.

Starting in 2007, as part of her planning for the “Ancient Paths, Modern Voices” Festival at Carnegie Hall, Wu Man began traveling regularly to China’s remote regions to uncover the country’s ancient musical traditions that are in danger of being lost, including the traditions of the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band, seen in her 2012 documentary Discovering a Musical Heartland. The Band comprises farmers from Shaanxi Province’s Huayin County in a rural village at the foot of Mount Hua in northwest China. For more than 300 years the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band has toured the countryside, bringing its rugged shadow puppet plays that call to life the mythical heroes and gods of the oral folk culture of Shaanxi, often evoking famous battles of the Tang dynasty (618-907), to temple fairs and rituals.

Wu Man is bringing the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band to the United States for only the second time in an effort to not only preserve this traditional art form, but also show its relevance in our 21st century.

The program features Wu Man performing both solo and with the Band.

Saturday, March 17, 2018, 8:00 p.m.
Wu Man & Huayin Shadow Puppet Band
New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 W. 64th St, Manhattan

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Artist Profiles: Jie Ma

Jie Ma

Jie Ma plays Chinese traditional instruments: pipa and ruan. “I began my musical studies at the age of five and became a professional musician at age 14. I studied with the great pipa masters such as Fendi Wang Dehai Liu and Yuzhong Kuang and ruan professor Jiliang Liu.”

In 2001 she received her Bachelor of Music from the Tianjin Conservatory of Music one of the best music schools in China. Because of her talent Jie Ma was accepted exceptionally as an adjunct professor in the music department of Liao Ning Normal University. “During my stay at Liao Ning Normal University I was constantly invited to many colleges to give presentations on Chinese traditional music and Chinese folk music. I was invited to Japan in 2002 to give a pipa and ruan concert in a cultural exchange program.”

In May 2004 she performed at Herbst Theater San Francisco. From 2004 to 2005 she hosted a radio program on introducing the Chinese music at the Sing Tao Radio Station. In February 2005 she performed at the Pan-Asian Musical Festival in Stanford.

I also began experimenting with different genres in 2005. In February 25 I played with the Citywinds Woodwind Quintet in San Francisco as a member of Melody of China a Chinese music ensemble. The concert combined western chamber music with Chinese traditional music.” In March 26 Jie Ma was asked to perform in an avant garde project titled Sound for Picture with the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra.

In a continuing effort to explore different sounds of pipa I play pipa with different musicians in different discipline and forms. In addition to collaborating with other traditional Chinese musicians I have worked with many musicians of different genres such as jazz country blues and rock. I welcome the opportunity to work with other talented musicians to create new sounds.”

Discography:

Pipa New Sound

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Mei Han and Red Chamber’s Globe-trotting Enchantment

Mei Han and Red Chamber – Classical & Contemporary Chinese Music (ARC Music, 2016)

Dipping into the wonderful world of Chinese music, ARC Music is set to release Classical & Contemporary Chinese Music by the esteemed zheng player Mei Han and all women musical group Red Chamber on September 30th. Appearing on the Za Discs label, Ms. Han has recordings such as Ume (2006), Distant Wind (2005) with Randy Raine-Reusch, Outside the Wall (2005) with the Borealis String Quartet and the 2014 offering Gathering with Red Chamber. Red Chamber also has the 2008 recording Redgrass, also on the Za Discs, for listeners to explore.

With the combined musical prowess of Ms. Han and Red Chamber’s Guilian Liu, Geling Jiang and Zhimin Yu, one might suspect that this “plucked string” ensemble is simply a traditional Chinese musical group, but that would be far from the width and breadth of the musical aspirations of these musicians.

Masters of the zheng or long zither, the pipa or teardrop lute, the saxion or fretless longneck lute, the zhongruan or moon lute and the daruan or bass moon lute, Ms. Han and Red Chamber’s members delve into just about every kind of music from the music of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) to jazz to varied folk traditions from around the world and even slipping into the plucked goodness of Bluegrass.

Pairing elegance and pure passion, Classical & Contemporary Chinese Music opens with the jaunty “Dao Chuilian,” giving a listen into a 20th century Guangdong province, before diving headfirst into the quick work of composer Moshe Denburg’s “Dark Red Ruby” with its dashes of a klezmer and Balkan style by way of the liuqin or small teardrop lute and zheng by Ms. Han, pipa by Liu, zhongruan by Ms. Jiang and daruan by Ms. Yu.

“Xi’an Medley” is a lovely track comprised of a collection of tunes with names like “Melody of Plum Blossom” and “Moth to Flame.”

“Nokoto,” a tribute to Japanese koto master Tadao Sawai, is elegantly lush with the addition of Randy Raine-Reusch on zheng and Laurence Mollerup on acoustic bass.

Classical & Contemporary Chinese Music reveals more treats with the addition of “Girl Picking Flowers,” a composition by Red Chamber’s Ms. Yu, the Chaozhou styled track “Pink Lotus in Many Modes” and the riotously delightful Bulgarian folk dance “Gakino Horo.”

“Peng Baban” is a delicious traditional styled track from Shandong province. Other delights include the raucous folk tune “Sunny Spring and White Snow, “Datun Jelut,” a folk tune from the Kenyah and Kayan peoples of northern Borneo and the spunky “Dance of the Yao People,” a celebration of the Yao people of southwestern China.

Despite its rather prosaic title, Classical & Contemporary Chinese Music is a globe-trotting delight. Ms. Han and Red Chamber’s Ms. Liu, Ms. Jiang and Ms. Yu are truly impressive in their musical prowess as they are in the musical reach and well worth a listen.

Buy Classical & Contemporary Chinese Music in the Americas

Buy Classical & Contemporary Chinese Music in Europe

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Artist Profiles: Wu Man

Wu Man
Wu Man

Wu Man is an internationally renowned pipa (Chinese lute) virtuoso. Born in Hangzhou (China), Wu Man studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing where she became the first recipient of a master’s degree in pipa. She currently lives in Boston (United States of America) where she was chosen as a Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Wu Man was selected by Yo-Yo Ma as the winner of the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize in music and communication. She is also the first artist from China to have performed at the White House with Yo-Yo Ma with whom she now performs as part of the Silk Road Ensemble. Wu Man has collaborated with distinguished musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma, David Zinman, Yuri Bashmet, and Cho-liang Lin.

In the orchestral world she has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, and many others. Her touring has taken her to the major music halls of the world including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

Discography:

Chinese Music for the Pipa (Nimbus Records NI 5368, 1993)

An Anthology of the Classic Pipa Pieces (China Record Co, EL-315, 1989)

The OverLord Removed off his Armour (China Record Co, BCD-90023, 1991)

China Collage, with Liu Sola (Avant, 1996)

Chinese traditional & Contemporary Music (Nimbus Records, 1996)

Music for the Motherless Child, with Martin Simpson (Water Lily Acoustics, 1997)

Ghost Opera, with Kronos Quartet Nonesuch, 1997)

Spring Snowfall, with Liu Sola (Also productions, 2000)

Chinese Traditional and Contemporary Music (Nimbus, 2000)

Aki no Yugure (Autumn Dusk), with Yoshio Kurahashi (Sparkling Beatnik Records, 2001)

Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet (Sony, 2002)

The Silk Road: A Musical Caravan (Smithsonian Folkways, 2002)

Posture of Reality, with Tastu Aoki – (Asian Improve Record 0065, 2003)

Pipa from a Distance (Naxos, 2003)

Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon (Sony, 2005)

Wu Man and Friends (Traditional Crossroads, 2005)

New Impossibilities (Sony Classics, 2007)

The Cusp of Magic, with Terry Riley and Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch, 2008)

Traditions and Transformations: Sounds of Silk Road Chicago (2008)

Off the Map (World Village, 2009)

Immeasurable Light (Traditional Crossroads, 2010)

Music of Central Asia, Vol. 10: Borderlands: Wu Man and Master Musicians from the Silk Route (Smithsonian Folkways, 2012)

Elegant Pipa Classics (Wind Music, 2013)

Our World in Song: An Odyssey of Musical Treasures, with Luis Conte, and Daniel Ho (Wind Music, 2014)

Website: www.wumanpipa.org

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Artist Profiles: Guilian Liu

Guilian Liu
Guilian Liu

Guilian Liu was born in Shanghai and is one of the world’s premiere pipa (lute) masters. Liu graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing and was the first prize-winner of the Chinese National Instrumental Music Competition in 1989.

She has won first prizes in competitions held across China. She used to be the Principal of the plucked instruments section of the Chinese Orchestra of the Central Conservatory of Music, Director of the Shanghai Pipa Society, and a member of the Chinese Musicians’ Association and Chinese National Orchestral Society.

As a Canadian citizen, Guilian Liu is now the art director of the “Pearl Music Studio”. Her students have won prizes in different competitions in the Greater Vancouver area.

Liu has performed in Europe, Asia and North America. Her superb expressiveness and impeccable techniques were praised by renowned conductors Herbert von Karajan and Seiji Ozawa. She was featured performing in the Oscar winning documentary From Mao to Mozart – Isaac Stern in China (1979).

Guilian Liu is one of the members of Vancouver-based ensemble Red Chamber.

Discography:

Redgrass (Za Discs, 2009)
Gathering ‎(Za Discs, 2014)

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Traveling Pipa

Gao Hong and Friends – Pipa Potluck, Lutes Around the world (Innova, 2015)

Chinese pipa master Gao Hong currently lives in Minnesota and gathered a lot of her American and international friends to celebrate string instruments.
On Pipa Potluck (potluck is a communal meal to which people bring food to share, sometimes representing various cultures) you’ll find original compositions (and two traditional bluegrass pieces) inspired by traditional and classical Chinese music along with bluegrass, Middle Eastern, and Hawaiian influences. Gao Hong’s friends are well known virtuoso instrumentalists in their respective genres so there is an abundance of mesmerizing interplay.

The lineup on Pipa Potluck includes Gao Hong on pipa, Alison Brown on banjo, Darol Anger on fiddle, Garry West on bass, George Kahumoku on Hawaiian slack key guitar, Yair Dalal on oud, Jeffrey Van on guitar, Matt Combs on fiddle, Bassam Saba on oud, Dror Sinai on percussion, and April Centrone on percussion.

Gao Hong started her career as a professional musician at age 12. She graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she studied with the illustrious Lin Shicheng. In both China and the United States, Gao has received frequent top awards and honors. She is the only musician in any genre to win four McKnight Fellowships for Performing Musicians and was the first musician to win a Bush Fellowship for Traditional and Folk Arts.

Gao has presented her music throughout Europe, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, and the United States in solo concerts and with symphony orchestras, jazz musicians, and musicians from other cultures.

As a composer, Gao Hong has received commissions from the American Composers Forum, Walker Art Center, the Jerome Foundation, Zeitgeist, Ragamala, Theater Mu, Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, Lars Hannibal, and Twin Cities Public TV. She is currently on the music faculty of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota where she teaches Chinese musical instruments and directs the Chinese music ensemble and is a Guest Professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

Pipa Potluck features impeccable performances and memorable musical moments by Gao Hong and her colleagues.

Buy Pipa Potluck, Lutes Around the world

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