Distant Rhythm

Musical Encounters with Lynn Chang, Wu Man, and Xe Ku

Lynn Chang, violin, Wu Man, pipa, Xu Ke, erhu

Saturday, January 8, 2005, 8:00PM
Jordan Hall

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Lynn Chang, violin

A native of Newton and a top prizewinner of the International Paganini Competition in Genoa Italy, violinist Lynn Chang has enjoyed an active and versatile international career as soloist, chamber musician, and educator for over twenty years. He began his violin study at the age of seven with Sarah Scriven and Boston Symphony Orchestra violinist Alfred Krips. Mr Chang remembers with fondness his years at Newton North High School, especially his music classes with Henry Lasker. Mr Lasker served as role model for Mr Chang as well as many others in the responsibilities of being a professional musician, for which he is eternally grateful. While attending Newton North High School, Mr Chang also continued his violin studies weekends at the Juilliard School precollege division under the tutelage of Ivan Galamian. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music from Harvard University and currently teaches at The Boston Conservatory, Boston University, and MIT.

Lynn Chang is a member of the Boston Chamber Music Society. He has also appeared at the Wolf Trap, Great Woods, Marlboro, and Tanglewood music festivals, and as soloist with orchestras in Miami, Salt Lake City, Oakland, Seattle, Honolulu, Beijing, Taipei, and Hong Kong. In addition to his performances this season with the Boston Chamber Music Society, Mr Chang has appeared at Davis Hall in San Francisco, Weill Recital Hall in New York, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Last year he served as visiting professor of violin at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei.

In 1995 the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra commissioned the late Ivan Tcherepnin to compose a concerto for Lynn Chang and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The work received the distinguished Grawmeyer Award, and Mr. Chang traveled to Moscow to record it with cellist Alexander Rudin in 1997.

In 1999, Mr. Chang was honored with the first Distinguished Leadership Award from the Institute for Asian American Studies of the University of Massachusetts Boston for his achievements as educator and musician.

Mr. Chang is married to Lisa Wong, a pediatrician. They live in Newton, with their children, Jennifer and Christopher.

Wu Man, pipa

Wu Man is an internationally renowned pipa virtuoso, cited by the Los Angeles Times as 'the artist most responsible for bringing the pipa to the Western World.' Having been brought up in the Pudong School of pipa playing, one of the most prestigious classical styles of Imperial China, Wu Man graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she became the first recipient of a master's degree in pipa. She is recognized as an outstanding exponent of the traditional repertoire as well as a leading interpreter of contemporary pipa music.

Born in Hangzhou, China, Wu Man studied with Lin Shicheng, Kuang Yuzhong, Chen Zemin, and Liu Dehai at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She currently lives in Boston where she was selected 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 the noted cellist with whom she now performs as part of the Silk Road Project.

When in China, Wu Man received many awards, including first prize in the 1st National Music Performance Competition. She also participated in many groundbreaking premieres of exciting works by a new generation of Chinese composers. Since moving to the USA, she has continued to champion new works and has inspired new pipa literature from composers Terry Riley, Philip Glass, Lou Harrison, Tan Dun, Bright Sheng, Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Bun-Ching Lam and many others.

Wu Man has collaborated with distinguished musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma, David Zinman, Yuri Bashmet, Cho-liang Lin, Dennis Russell Davies, Christoph Eschenbach, Gunther Herbig, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Stern, and the Kronos Quartet. In the orchestral world she has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Moscow Soloists, Austrian ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra, NDR and RSO Radio Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group. Her touring has taken her to the major music halls of the world including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Royal Albert and Royal Festival halls, the Concertgebouw, Theatre de la Ville and the Opera Bastille, and the Great Hall in Moscow. She has often appears in international festivals including the Silk Road Festival, Henry Wood’s BBC Promenade, Wien Modern, Festival d’Automne in Paris, Le Festival de Radio France, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Yatsugatake Kogen Festival, Lincoln Center Festival, NextWave!/BAM, and the Bang on a Can Festival.

Over the past few seasons Wu Man's has given a sizable number of world premieres including Chen Yi's Ning! with Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall, the concerto Nanking!Nanking! with Germany’s NDR Radio Symphony Orchestra directed by Christoph Eschenbach, Songs for Cello and Pipa premiered at the White House with Mr. Ma, and the chamber opera Silver River premiered at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Spoleto Festival 2000 USA, both written by Bright Sheng, Ye Xiaogang's pipa concerto with Germany's RSO Radio Symphony Orchestra, directed by Gunther Herbig, Lou Harrison's Concerto for Pipa and Orchestra with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra for Lincoln Center’s Great Performances, directed by Dennis Russell Davies, and Tan Dun's Ghost Opera with the Kronos Quartet at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Highlights of Wu Man’s current season include the world premiere of The Sound of A Voice musical theater piece by Philip Glass and David Henry Hwang for the American Repertory Theater in Boston, an appearance at the Winter Arts Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia with Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists, U.S. and European tours with the Silk Road Project, the UK premiere of Bright Sheng’s The Song and Dance of Tears with Yo-Yo Ma at the London Proms, a featured concert with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society that included Tan Dan’s Ghost Opera, and the premiere of Orion, a multi-artist piece written in collaboration with Philip Glass, at the Cultural Olympiad 2004 in Greece.

Xu Ke, erhu

Hong Kong's HiFi Magazine praised him as the "Paganini in the world of Erhu," and the Richmond Times Dispatch exclaimed that hegsounds like another Heifetz." Mr. Xu Ke (last name Xu) was born in 1960 in Nanjing, China. He received his B.M. in 1982 with honors from the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, where he studied under the erhu master Mr. Yusong Lan. He was the principal Erhu player of the China National Traditional Orchestra in 1983. In 1986, he toured the United States as the music director of a good-will Chinese music delegation. His solo debut performance in 1987 with the China National Traditional Orchestra in Beijing Concert Hall caused a great sensation in China, prompting the media to dub him "a genius Erhu player."

Since 1987, he has been performing as a soloist with many orchestra throughout the world. These including six performances with the Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra at the Tokyo Suntory Hall under Yuzo Toyama, fourteen concerts with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space Concert Hall, ten times with Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra at the Tokyo Bunkamura Orchard Hall, New Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra of New Zealand, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, and The philharmonic Orchestra of China. He has also played recitals in Japan, Hong Kong, Finland, Canada, Estonia, China, and the United States.

The superb technique, deep understanding and exciting interpretation of the erhu repertoire has earned Xu Ke an international following. He is also an outstanding composer as well as an ardent erhu reformer. Xu Ke has expanded the erhu's range from two to more than four octaves. He has also developed techniques such as double stopping, artificial harmonics in high position and graduated prestissimo staccato. Because of his contributions, the erhu's repertoire has been enlarged and enriched. He has made many presentation/work- shops in many universities including Tokyo Arts University, Central University of Japan, Tokyo Women's University, Sibelius Music Akatemia, Old Dominion University, The University of New Mexico, Duke University, University of Missouri, Kannsas City Conservatory of Music. He served as the special researcher at the social studies deparment of the Waseda University of Japan.

Xu Ke had been the first erhu master in the world to record under the RCA label. Among his many recordings, his discography includes "Elegy/Xu Ke Erhu Recital," "Wind & Rhythm/Xu Ke Erhu Concerto," "Zigeunerweisen-Erhu Classical Favourites/Xu Ke," "Lullaby," "Liebesfreud," "My Way," "Song of the Birds," "Sweetie," "A String of Melodies/Xu Ke-Erhu," and "The Butterfly Lovers Concerto." The last one received a platinum disc award from the Hong Kong recording industry in 1992. Mr. Xu had signed a resident artist contract with BMG Japan (RCA label) Inc., largely advancing the status of the world of music recordings. Right now he records for his own XUA (XU Arts) label, under which he has released "Thinking of," "Liebesleid," and "Saima," as well as his first DVD "Csardas."

Invited by Yo-Yo Ma, Mr. Xu participated in the Silk Road Project in July 2000 at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. In addition, he had debut performances of the "Fiddle Suite" by composer Chen Yi, in Konzerthaus, Berlin and Herkulessaal, Munich and other Major concert halls in Germany with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra in Oct. 2000. The Germany National Radio Station interviewed him and broadcasted his performance. The concert was a great success, and received critical acclaim. Shortly afterwards, Xu Ke joined with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble for Asian tour to perform at Hong Kong Arts Festival, Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei in March 2001. He was also the artistic director of "Silk Road Music" concert in the 17th Tokyo Summer Festival in Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall in July 2001. In 2002, He had held a sensational recital at the Jorden Hall, Boston. The first CD on the Silk Road Project with Yo-Yo Ma, Xu Ke and the ensemble was released on the Sony Classical label.

In September 2003, Xu Ke made a successful recital debut at the Carnegie Hall. Most recently, he has performed with such groups as the Boston Modern Orchestra, Shanghai Quartet, NY Metropolitan Symphony Orchsetra, while traveling worldwide to hold numerous recitals and master classes. In March 2004, he was named Guest Professor of Erhu at the Central Conservatory of Music, becoming the first overseas resident to be bestowed such great honor from his homeland. Currently, Xu ke resides in N.Y. and Tokyo.