Sat, September 26, 2009  8:00 pm  Jordan Hall

Magic Strings: A Dialogue between Pipa and Violin
弦幻 : 小提琴與琵琶的對話
Music by Lou Harrison and Chen Yi 陳怡

Lynn Chang
張萬鈞 , violin
Wu Man
吳蠻 , pipa
Robert Schulz,  BeatCity Art Ensemble, percussion
A Far Cry, Chamber Orchestra










Purchase Tickets Online    

Ancient Dances, for pipa and percussion.........Chen Yi

Concerto for violin and percussion..................Harrison

Sprout, for strings
Romance and Dance, for 2 violins and strings...Chen Yi

Concerto for pipa and strings.........................Harrison


photo: Linda Lin - Boston Chinese News

Purchase Tickets Online

Purchase Tickets Online






A study in contrasts at Jordan Hall

By Matthew Guerrieri, Globe Correspondent  |  September 28, 2009

The Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts is spending its 20th anniversary season doing what it has always done: bringing Chinese music and performers to Boston audiences. Last Saturday’s concert was one of the foundation’s more interesting, in that the commerce flowed both ways: a program designed by violinist Lynn Chang 張萬鈞, contrasting the Chinese-American composer Chen Yi 陳怡 with the American but Asian-influenced composer Lou Harrison.

Chen’s music grafts its arresting Eastern sonic surface onto Western formal tension-and-release. “Sprout’’ brushes sixth-century Chinese melody into a rhapsodic string-orchestra arc reminiscent of Samuel Barber; “Romance and Dance’’ (with Chang and Jae Young Cosmos Lee as beguiling violin troubadours) more literally translates Chinese sounds, but the barreling finale updates Stravinsky with clustered rhythmic cogs and slashing accents. (Both pieces featured the local string orchestra A Far Cry, providing intense phrasing and a voluptuously rich sound.)

Most fun was “Ancient Dances,’’ a freewheeling duet for percussionist Robert Schulz and Wu Man 吳蠻, who has, it seems, single-handedly played the pipa’s way into Western classical music. (If you already knew that a pipa is a traditional Chinese lute, you can probably thank her indefatigable evangelism.) Here a plaintive, dual-soliloquy opening culminated in a driving catharsis, Chen leveraging Wu Man’s rock-star charisma - even featuring a bit of Townshend-esque windmill strumming.

In Harrison’s music, the Eastern influence pushes Western practice down more personal paths. The entrancing Concerto for Violin With Percussion Orchestra (1959) spun Chang’s beautifully threaded serpentine line over the BeatCity Art Ensemble, conducted by Schulz, drumming of world-music provenance, but channeled through materials of American transience - brake drums, coffee cans, flower pots: a hobo’s gamelan of distant locomotive rhythms, a Beat enlightenment of the road.

The road leads home in the 1997 Concerto for Pipa With String Orchestra, one of Harrison’s last works. (He died in 2003.) Aided by A Far Cry’s plushness and Wu Man’s panache, the music reveled in the family resemblances inside the global village: Chinese lute became Russian balalaika became Italian mandolin, a diatonic landscape giving way to a romantic lament and a medieval dance. But Harrison’s generous austerity was always ascendant, the pluralisms intersecting at a unique point. Wherever you go, Harrison reminds us, there you are. 

© Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

Ivy song - Sino American Times and the Culture Center

Thank you for your generous contribution to
Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts

Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts
Lincoln, Massachusetts
updated 2008
弦幻心聲 , 東西殊道同歸 。世亂情牽 , 難得形骸放浪 。乃欲憑借高人絕藝 , 隨君暢心騁懷 。此音樂所以能盪滌胸襟 , 動人心魂之故 也 。
佳客高人 , 良會難遇 , 聊賦短詩 , 識與會者企盼欣喜之情:弓聲心意遠 , 弦索動深情 。此夜一相會 , 九天萬里行 。

三星交會 , 光芒互放 , 固然是“三心會”之一義 。然而作曲家、演奏家與聽眾三者之間因緣遇合 , 通過音樂 , 互相會心 。豈非此現代 音樂雅集 之深心原意乎 ?