Guilian Liu is one of the world’s premiere pipa 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.
Performance Music Piece
Pipa – “Dance of the Yi Tribe“: Dance of the Yi Tribe is one of the most popular solo compositions for the pipa. It was composed in the 1960s by the Chinese composer Wang Huiran (b. 1936), presumably based on traditional music of the Yi Tribe of southern China. 6”45
Zheng-Hua Zheng is China’s renowned Guqin musician and Chinese flutes performing artist. Born in Shanghai, Mr. Zheng moved to Vancouver in 1981 and have held numerous recital concerts in both North America and Asia ever since. He is honored as the “World’s Renowned Musician” by UBC Department of Music and has also received a Top Award from the Chinese Musical Instrument Association . He is currently a visiting professor of the NanHua University in Taiwan under the Department of Music.
Performance Music Pieces
1. Guqin – “Flowing Water”: “Liu Shui” (Flowing Water),one of ancient China’s most famous Guqin pieces. The U.S. spaceship “Voyager” was launched in 1977, a gold CD was placed on board to introduce the music of our planet to the rest of the universe. “Flowing water” was included as one representative of the world’s music. 4”30
2. Dizi –“Birds in the Shade” : “Birds in the Shade” was written by China’s professional folk musician Liu Guanyue (1918- ). Liu was born in An’guo county, Hebei to a poor peasant family, He had earned a meager living playing the dizi in rural ritual ensembles before becoming a soloist in the Tianjin Song-and-Dance Ensemble in 1952. Liu is said to be a representative of the Northern dizi style. His pieces, including Birds in the Shade, Doves of Peace and Old Home village, have become part of the new conservatory professional concert repertory. 2”30
(The Dizi is a Chinese transverse flute made of bamboo. The Dizi is a major Chinese musical instrument, and is widely used in many genres of Chinese folk music, as well as Chinese opera, and the modern Chinese orchestra. “)
Nicole Ge Li is currently Concert Master of the B.C. Chinese Orchestra and Gaohu soloist with the BC Chinese Music Ensemble. In 2011, she organized and performed in her own Erhu recital in Vancouver, the first full-scale Erhu performance of its kind held in Canada. During this 2013/14 season, Li is collaborating with virtuoso pianist Corey Hamm in the Piano Erhu Project(PEP) in commissioning over forty world premieres for Erhu and piano composed by Chinese and Canadian composers.
Performance Music Pieces
1. “Dancing in the Candle Light”: A beautifully tragic waltz, ” Dancing in the candle light” was written in May 1932 , it was the last piece of Mr. Liu Tianhua, the greatest traditional Erhu composer. 4”25
2. “Horse Racing” :a piece from Mongolia. It is a fast passionate piece, very vivid. 1”30
Ensemble Piece by Guilian Liu, Zheng-Hua Zheng and Nicole Li
“Blossoms on a Moonlit River in Spring”: Blossoms on a Moonlit River in Spring is one of the most famous Chinese traditional music works. It had been popular among ordinary people before the year 1875, and has become one of the masterpieces in the treasury of Chinese classical music.
It was originally named as Pipa tune Flutes and Drums at Dusk, and was adapted by Liu Yaozhang, a member of Shanghai’s Datong Music Conservatory and renamed as Spring Moonlight on the Flowers by the River by Zheng Jinwen in 1930.
Since 1949, it has undergone many revisions, until now it is a highly polished piece. The intro has a background of musical harmony, and then a Pipa is plunked faster and faster, giving out drumbeat-like notes. At the same time, deft fingering on a vertical bamboo flute produces the melody. The contrast between the two instruments – one producing pellet-like short notes by twanging, and the other producing long-drawn-out notes – conjures up a picture of a river in springtime. The technique, often used in folk music, of phrases repeated over and over, and seemingly chasing one another, gives a vivid impression of ripples on water.
The understated melody, the fluid rhythmical meter, the ingenious subtlety, together with random orchestration, combine to paint a tranquil scene of a river on a moonlit night in spring, and is paean of praise to the countryside south of the Yangtze River. 7”30
Dr. Jan Walls is a Professor Emeritus in the Humanities Department at Simon Fraser University, where he was Founding Director of the David Lam Centre for International Communication and the Asia-Canada Program. In addition to teaching at Aichi University in Japan, the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, he also served as First Secretary for Cultural and Scientific Affairs at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing (1981-83), and Senior Vice-President of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (1985-87). He is currently Co-President of the Canadian Society for Asian Arts.
He is an amateur performer of “bamboo clapper-tales” (“Kuaiban” in Chinese), a traditional form of Chinese folk storytelling, rather like “rapping”, which he has performed on Canadian and Chinese stage, radio and television.