CONWAY, Ark. (April 26, 2010) – The Red Chamber, a program of music for Chinese Imperial Court Instruments, will be performing at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Staples Auditorium on the Hendrix College campus. Admission is free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by the college’s Special Events Program Series.
Red Chamber straddles traditional and contemporary, whether it be ancient Chinese string band music seldom heard in the west, bluegrass, or jazz fusion. These virtuosic performers set the stage on fire with hot licks, power and passion. Red Chamber takes its inspiration from the traditional Chinese "Plucked String" repertoire that is seldom if ever heard in the west. Featuring only plucked strings, Red Chamber creates a unique sound while performing a repertoire that spans centuries, including transcriptions from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), to modern compositions. Red Chamber is exploring other genres of plucked string music like Bluegrass, jazz, and a host of other folk traditions.
On Tuesday, members of Red Chamber, along with ethnomusicologist Randy Raine-Reusch, will present a lecture involving Chinese music in Trieschmann classroom 3 and a lecture at 4:10 p.m. in Reves Recital Hall entitled “Endangered Instruments of the World.”
Members of Red Chamber include:
Mei Han is recognized internationally as one of the leading virtuosi and authorities on the Chinese zheng (zither). The Montreal Gazette called her “The Zheng Master” and the Calgary Herald referred to her as a “virtuoso of the first order”. Han has performed and lectured on Chinese music worldwide; recorded two Juno nominated CDs; and created a large repertoire of new music, contemporary chamber music, free improv, and world music for the zheng. She has performed with Orchestras in China and Canada, and been the subject of national TV and radio specials in Australia, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Singapore and others.
Guilian Liu 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. 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). Liu was the Director of the Shanghai Pipa Society before moving to Canada.
Zhimin Yu is a versatile ruan (lute) virtuoso. Yu was a principle player at the prestigious Chinese National Broadcast Orchestra, Beijing, with which toured to numerous countries. Since immigrating to Canada in 1989, she has become one of the most sought Chinese musicians in Vancouver and has performed with the Vancouver Chinese Ensemble, the Silk Road Ensemble, and many other cross cultural projects. Yu is also a gifted composer, actively writing for a wide variety of Chinese and Western ensembles. Yu has single handedly redefined the ruan repertoire, bringing it into the 21st century.
Geling Jiang is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, who started her professional training at age of 10. After graduated from Wu Han musical Conservatory, she became a member of the Chime Bell Ensemble of Hubei province for 20 years, with which she recorded numerous radio broadcasts, TV programs, and films; and performed tours to the United States, Japan and Singapore. Trained initially as a sanxian (three-string fretless lute) player, she also regularly plays the zheng, pipa and ruan.
Hendrix, founded in 1876, is a selective, residential, undergraduate liberal arts college emphasizing experiential learning in a demanding yet supportive environment. The college is featured in the 2010 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country’s best 371 colleges, was identified as the nation’s top “Up and Coming” liberal arts college for 2010 by U.S. News and World Report, and is ranked among 44 “Best Buy” colleges by the 2010 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.