Friday, May 5, 2006, 4:30pm, "Echos de l'âme", Salle de Musique (3, chaussée Bocquaine), Reims, France
Monday, May 8, 2006, 8:30pm, "LE CHANT DE L’ÂME", Theatre de la Ville, Paris, France [Concert live recording (Video and audio)] [Information] [Reportage]
Pipa and Guzheng Solo recitals - Traditional and classical Chinese music
In the program, there are classical pipa and guzheng solo pieces from the traditional repertoire, such as "The King Chu doffs his Armour", "Guang Ling Fantasia", "The ambush from ten sides", "The moon is high" , "Autumn moon in the Palace of Han"(guzheng solo), as well as classical compositions since early 1930s such as "On the theme of an air to dance" (Liu Tianhua, 1895-1932), "Dance of Yi People" (Wang Hui-Ran), "Spring Rain" (Zhu Yi and Wen Bo), "New variation of Tang Dynasty Liuyao-dance" (Yang Jieming), "Chanting of Tiema" (Zhao Densan), and "The red river" (Zheng Qingrong).
The Chinese lute pipa and the zither guzheng will be honored at special concert of traditional and classical music interpreted by the internationally acclaimed virtuso Liu Fang at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris. The concert will be combined with the release of a new CD "Silk Sound". Master pieces from the Tang Dynasty (619-907 after J.-C.) to the recent times will be performed on the pipa and on guzheng, an occasion to discover the richness of sound, poetic charm and descriptive capacity of the repertory for pipa and guzheng that this high calibre interpreter brings you.
Liu Fang, "the empress of the pipa ..., one of the greatest virtuosos of pipa and guzheng " ( L'Actualité, December 15 2001), was born in Kunming, in the province of Yunnan. She began learning the pipa at the age of six and gave her first public performance as a pipa soloist when she was nine. At the age of 11 she was chosen to perform in front of the Queen during Her Majesty's visit to China. Honoured with several provincial and national prizes, Liu Fang graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where she also studied the guzheng, a Chinese zither. Since moving to Canada in 1996, Liu Fang has built a remarkable artistic profile by captivating audiences and critics with the richness and grace of her playing as well as her wide ranging repertoire. She has thus given concerts all over the world and made frequent television and radio appearances. In June 2001, Liu Fang received the prestigious New Millenium Prize awarded by the Canada Arts Council to an interpreter representing the future generation of the musical art, a one-time prize given to three artists in different disciplines (music, literature, and visual arts).
Among the numerous solo recitals, concerto performances and concerts at festivals throughout Canada and Europe, Liu Fang has premiered new compositions by the celebrated Canadian composers R. Murray Schafer and Melissa Hui. Liu Fang also performed works of the celebrated composer Tan Dun, the recipiant of a Grammy Award for the film "Tigre et Dragon ". She has also collaborated with traditional master musicians from India, Japan, Syria and Vietnam. Thanks to these musical exchanges, the art of Liu Fang, while remaining in the vein of the purest tradition, has acquired richness of technique and sonority in the various repertories of the lute. Liu Fang also collaborated with accomplished western classical musicians as well as symphonic orchestra and recently performed with the renowned Nouvelle Ensemble Moderne and the SMCQ in Montreal, the Alcan string quartet in Quebec, and the Quartetto Paul Klee Venezia and Xenia Ensemble in Ital, and the Spiegel String Quartet in Belgium. During the past four years, Liu Fang has produced five CD recordings.
Amazed by the charm of Liu Fang's playing, the producer of the emission Equinox of Radio-France, Caroline Bourgine, who devoted a whole one-hour episode to Liu Fang's music on September 10th said "This virtuoso of the pipa becomes the very soul of her instrument and her technical skill has listeners melt into the music. The lightness and pliancy of the notes draw us into the compositions, transforming us into jasmine blossom or silver trinkets tinkling outside a temple in the passing breeze... ".
"... Liu Fang ist an exceptional musician; represents the charm; grace, all magic of the East... ( Liu Fang est une musicienne d'exception, elle représente le charme; la grâce, toute la magie de l'Orient.), Olonne-sur-Mer, le journal Ouest-France, 2004/12/11
"the ambassadress of charm... The listeners listened to in a religious silence this inspring artist whose interpretation appears like a crowned act.... Liu Fang exhales her instruments of the pure songs to the subtle nuances. ..." (l'ambassadrice de charme... Les auditeurs ... sont écouter dans un silence religieux cette artiste inspirée, qui aborde l'interprétation comme un acte sacré, .... Liu Fang exhale de ses instruments des chants purs aux nuances subtiles.) VENDEE MATIN, vendredi 30 avril 2004
"On stage at London's Mermaid Theatre, Chinese pipa player Liu Fang wakes up from her state of inner tranquility. On her Chinese lute, she has just hypnotized an invited audience of a few hundred, and millions of BBC World Service listeners around the world..." - fROOTS Magazine, No. 249 (2004)
"... True ambassadress of the art of the pipa and Zheng. ..." (Véritable ambassadrice de l'art du pipa et du Zheng) - La Liberté de L'Est (Mirecourt, France), 2003/12/01.
"... one evening of veritable grace, poetry, delight and delicacy... Perhaps delicacy, the word summarizes all the art of Liu Fang. A delicacy all in smoothness of performing, brought into service of the softness of the traditional airs singing from the interior emotions ... One does not need to aquire the Eastern history in order to appreciate this concert of exception. ..." (une soirée toute de grâce, de poésie, de délice et de délicatesse. ... Délicatesse, le mot résume peut-être tout l'art de Liu Fang. Une délicatesse tout en finesse d'exécution, mise en service de la douceur des airs traditionnels chantant les émotions intérieures ressenties à la vue des neiges recouvrant les forêts éternelles des montagnes. ... Nul besoin toutefois d'être féru en histoire orientale pour apprécier ce concert d'exception. . ..." - Le Progres (France), 20 novembre 2003.
"... Masterful, graceful and riveting, ..." - BBC (London) November 8, 2003.
(more critics ...)
"The pipa is a traditional Chinese string instrument, four-stringed, pear-shaped and resembling a lute, although there is more space between the frets and fretboard to allow the player to apply perpendicular pressure to the string for microtonal effects, something typical of Far-Eastern string instruments. It gives it that special Oriental “twang." Otherwise it sounds much like a lute with something of the banjo's dryness and finger-picking technique (but not that metallic). Liu chose her program from the authentic traditional and “modern traditional" repertoires. The disc begins with Hua Yan-jun's “The Great Wave Washes the Beach," one of the classic pipa compositions of the 20th Century, a gracious, evocative tune. But the highlights are found in Zhen Qi-ren's “Melody from a Bamboo House" and Wei Zhong-le's “The Moon Is High." The first one is a contemporary piece that, despite its respect for musical tradition, takes matters deeper into complexity and originality. In Lui's interpretation we hear her complementary interests in traditional and innovative musics. The second is at least a millennium old and calls for wide amounts of virtuosity through its 13 minutes of duration. The way the basic themes are ornamented seem to reflect the structure of nature or -- as it would be called much later -- fractal geometry, producing endless fascination. Out of Liu's fingers ooze serenity, precision and beauty. Highly recommended." ~ François Couture, All Music Guide