Melody of China with Shih-Yang Lee
Presented by Melody of China and SFIAF (duration 90 minutes)
Melody of China is generously supported by Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, Chamber Music America, San Francisco Arts Commission, California Arts Council, Zellerbach Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, Asian Improv Arts, Chinese Culture Center, Chinese Arts & Music Center, Kin Chan/Garage Door Specialist, Sufen Wu/Friends of Children with Special Needs, John Kirkpatrick, Nan Goldberg, Marilyn Go and Erin Chin. This performance was made possible in part by the generous support of the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.
Melody of China is a Chinese Chamber ensemble based in San Francisco performing new and traditional music on traditional Chinese instruments including yangqin (hammered dulcimer), guzheng (zither), erhu (bowed fiddle), pipa (lute), dizi (bamboo flute) and sheng (mouth organ) since 1993. The group performs newly commissioned works as well as traditional repertoire. At the 2015 San Francisco International Arts Festival, Melody of China will perform several recent compositions by Taiwanese pianist/composer Shih-yang Lee for yangqin, guzheng, pipa, dizi, sheng, piano and saxophone. The first half of the program will include traditional Chinese music for yangqin, guzheng, pipa, dizi, sheng and morinhuur. The second half of the program will feature mixed ensemble, Chinese quintet, piano and saxophone performing an improvisation based on a Chinese melody arranged by Shih-yang Lee. The concert will also feature the world premiere of a new work for yangqin, sheng and cello by Gang Situ.
Melody of China (MoC) is San Francisco’s premiere Chinese chamber ensemble. Formed in 1993, MoC performs traditional and commissioned works on traditional Chinese instruments including yangqin (hammered dulicmer), guzheng (zither), erhu (2-string bowed fiddle), pipa (lute), dizi (bamboo flutes), sheng (mouth organ) and others. MoC has broken barriers by juxtaposing traditional Chinese music with newly commissioned works by contemporary composers. Melody of China has been guest artists with the Berlin Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. MoC has also performed at New York’s Lincoln Center and has performed in other U.S. cities on numerous occasions (including the Chicago Jazz Festival).
Yangqin Zhao, Yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer) virtuoso and Executive/Artistic Director of Melody of China (MoC), Zhao is a member of the Chinese Musicians Association and the Chinese National Orchestra Society. Ms. Zhao graduated with Honors from the Music Department of the Nanjing Normal University (Nanjing, China) and became the head of the faculty of Instrumental Music of the university. She won the highest award by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in 1982. Ms. Zhao also won first prize at the Jiangsu Provincial Arts Festival in 1987 and 1991. Ms. Zhao has been invited to perform internationally in Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mexico and Germany and performed with the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Women's Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. Ms. Zhao co-founded Melody of China in 1993 and took over as Artist Director beginning in 2008 with the departure of co-founder Hong Wang.
Eric Myers (MoC Managing Director) Pianist, composer, educator and nonprofit arts administrator Eric Myers began working with Melody of China in 2006. Mr. Myers holds a dual Bachelor Degree in Music and Chinese from Bard College and a Master of Arts in Music Composition from Mills College. As MoC Managing Director (and for the proposed project), his duties include grant writing, development and project coordination.
Gangqin Zhao, Guzheng (zither) soloist and touring member of Melody of China. Gangqin Zhao is a member of the Chinese Musicians Association and has performed internationally in Singapore, Denmark and Germany. She is also director of the Chinese Arts and Culture Center of San Francisco where she instructs students in guzheng and other instruments.
Wanpeng Guo, Sheng (mouth organ) soloist and Melody of China musician, Mr. Guo has performed in France, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Australia and North America. He has served as Sheng instructor/conductor for the Firebird Youth Orchestra of San Jose and conductor for the Great Wall Youth Orchestra in Oakland.
A native of Wenzhou, China, Shenshen Zhang began playing the pipa at the age of nine. At thirteen, she entered Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music, and later, a master’s degree from Xiamen University. While she was engaged as the singular pipa soloist at the Xiamen Opera House from 1992-2005, she performed and toured extensively throughout Asia and the U.S. Since making her home in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ms. Zhang has continued to preserve the traditional pipa repertory of China while also exploring contemporary music of many cultures.
Xian Lu, Dizi (bamboo flute) soloist and Melody of China member, Mr. Lu has performed in Australia, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Russia and the U.S. A master of numerous Chinese wind instruments including xiao (vertical bamboo flute), bawu (horizontal free reed flute) and xun (clay flute), Mr. Lu is guest professor of wind instruments at Laney College in Oakland, CA.
Shih-Yang LEE (December 27, 1982) is certainly one of the greatest musical talents in Taiwan. He studied classical piano at age six. After more than twenty years of classical and conservatory training, he started to have interests in composition and improvisation as well. He is the founder and co-leader of the improvisation group Ka Dao Yin, having an unique instrumentation with piano, saxophone, guzheng (Chinese zither), and sheng (Chinese mouth organ). In 2012 Ka Dao Yin's first CD "Four Characters" has won the Taiwan Golden Indie Music Award for "Best Jazz Album" and "Best Jazz Track".
LEE has played with the main bulk of Classical and Avantgarde musicians in Taiwan. He has performed with drummer legend Sabu Toyozumi from Japan, pioneer of European free jazz pianist Fred Van Hove from Belgium and many others including Gene Coleman, Erik R. Lund, Hans Fjellestad, Tobias Delius, Carlos Zingaro, Umezu Kazutoki, Chie Mukai, Nobunaga Ken, Audrey Chen, Hugues Vincent, Luo Chao-Yun, Li Zenghui, Lin Hui-Chun et al. LEE has also cooperated with poets, painters, theatre like "Shakespeare’s Wild Sisters Group", and contemporary dance like "HORSE", "T.T.C. Dance" and others.
Shih-Yang LEE is a pianist of depth and passion, style and enthusiasm whose duos with Belgian veteran Fred van Hove have been getting some very positive and well deserved responses from critics and listeners alike. He tours in diferent countries. (France, Germany, United Kingdom, Austria, Holland, China...) In 2013 LEE is being invited for performing in the closing concert of MÉTÉO Festival Mulhouse, France, to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Kevin Yu is a cellist and cello teacher from Palo Alto. He maintains a private cello studio in Palo Alto and is a faculty member at the Community School of Music and Art in Mountain View. Kevin graduated with degrees in Music and Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He studied cello with Irene Sharp for many years beginning in elementary school. After college, he traveled extensively through Europe and Asia and studied with Gary Hoffman. While at UC Berkeley, Kevin served as the principal cellist of the University Symphony Orchestra, received the Eisner Prize in music performance and was a concerto competition winner. Outside of music, Kevin enjoys exploring new places and walking his two dogs.