Threading together the cultures of Asia and the world – from classical Chinese solos and intimate duets to multicultural ensembles that rock the house!


On December 2, 2017, two pioneering Vancouver ensembles – the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO) and Silk Road Music – weave their talents together to present THREAD, a joyful celebration of artistic innovation and musical friendships that span cultures, genres and decades. The concert is timed to mark Silk Road Music’s 26th year of creating and presenting Canadian music that fuses Asian sounds with Western/European and other world traditions. View promo video clips in English, French and Mandarin.



Silk Road Music, Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra & Friends

Saturday December 2, 8pm

(Orpheum) Annex
823 Seymour St. (2nd Level), Vancouver
Tickets ( $20 | $30 | $50):**
Information: | 604-786-1738 |
**Update as of midnight on Dec. 1: we are SOLD out of advance tickets! There will be a few seats available at the door; we recommend arriving early to have a chance at them.


“Both Silk Road and VICO have been on the front lines of multiculturalism in BC and across Canada, fostering cross-cultural collaboration and communication through music,” says VICO Artistic Director Mark Armanini. “We see ourselves as showcasing a new kind of Canadian identity, one that is diverse and inclusive, yes, but organically so. It grows out of the concrete, painstaking, day-to-day work of building relationships between people and communities, and finding creative ways to talk to each other and work together.”


THREAD promises to be an intercultural and multidisciplinary tour de force, featuring traditional and modern Chinese and intercultural repertoire, operatic song, and ecstatic contemporary dance, all in the intimate atmosphere of the Orpheum Annex. THREAD showcases a virtuosic who’s who of Vancouver-based performers, under the baton of conductor Janna Sailor: Qiu Xia He (pipa), André Thibault (guitar and oud), Yun Song (erhu), Zhimin Yu (ruan), Jill Russell (flute), Laurence Mollerup, (bass), Liam MacDonald (percussion), and members of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra on violin, viola, cello, oboe, clarinet, French horn, and harp. Vocals will be provided by Feng Jun Wang and Willy Miles with Kevin Armstrong and Martina Govednik. Also featured will be renowned dancer Wen Wei Wang. The program includes new arrangements created especially for Thread by several remarkable Canadian composers: Alain Mayrand, Ron Hadley, Farshid Samandari, Jin Zhang, and Mark ArmaniniView promo video clips in English, French and Mandarin.

Media Contact: Gwen Kallio,
604-215-2345 | 778-245-4936




As recently as the mid-1990s, stereotypes of Chinese music as atonal and inaccessible dominated “mainstream” North Americans’ perceptions of this country’s sound. The idea of blending Chinese music with popular Western styles was seen as absurd, if not impossible. Silk Road Music changed all that. The ensemble pioneered the kind of Chinese-Western musical fusions that one now hears in acts ranging from The Sparrow Quartet to Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road project.

At the heart of Silk Road Music is the unstoppable artistic vision of its founder, Qiu Xia He, a one-time music teacher at China’s Xian Academy of Music and professional pipa player with the Shaanxi Music and Dance troupe. While performing with the ensemble at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, she made the dramatic decision to stay in Canada, and was welcomed in by a household of Irish musicians on Hornby Island. It was there that the seeds of her extraordinary cross-cultural musical experimentations were planted.

Qiu Xia founded Silk Road Music in 1991 with two other B.C.-based Chinese musicians: erhu player Shirley Yuan and zheng player Li Zhou, later replaced by ruan player Zhimin Yu. From the very beginning, the goal was to create a new musical hybrid born of its members’ dual experiences in China and Canada. The ensemble blended Chinese folk and classical music with Celtic, Latin, Arabic, Aboriginal, jazz, and blues music. It developed two exciting educational programs to bring world music to school children, and in 2001, it created a groundbreaking recording and performance project that paired Chinese and European-Canadian vocalists for bilingual duets of Chinese folk songs. Along the way, the group earned a Juno nomination, two West Coast Music Awards, two Canadian Folk Music Award nominations, and countless enthusiastic reviews.


The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO), founded in 2001, was one of the first concert orchestras devoted specifically to performing new intercultural music on a grand scale. It is currently one of only a handful of such professional ensembles that exist in the world. The VICO brings together musicians and composers from many cultural and artistic communities in the Greater Vancouver area, including Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Indian, Persian (Iranian), Latin and South American, Vietnamese, African, North American and European to create what has been described as “the United Nations of Music” (CBC Radio), and “music that sounds like Vancouver looks” (The Georgia Straight). The Vancouver Sun has called VICO “a world music super-group.”

VICO strives to be a fresh and relevant voice in the contemporary music of our city, our province and our country. The ensemble builds bridges of imagination, approaching diversity as a fascinating challenge and a creative call to action. Its work is to make connections, between performers and audiences of all ages and backgrounds, across the Lower Mainland, throughout Canada and the world; to create and perform orchestral music that transcends boundaries: cultural, social, political, geographical. Since its inaugural performance in 2001, VICO has developed and performed over 50 new intercultural pieces by ground-breaking Canadian composers.



The concert will include compositions featuring a pipa solo concerto, two opera singers with chorus and orchestra, a Chinese trio with orchestra, contemporary dance, and a seven-piece chamber ensemble interpreting Brazilian, Spanish and Jazz music.

Orchestral pieces
Clouds by Qiu Xia He, Arr. Alain Mayrand
– An Irish style suite opening with a ballad followed by a Jig and a Reel.
Country Market by Jin Zhang
– A contemporary work for three Chinese soloists: featuring Pipa, Erhu, Ruan.
Of Wind and Water by Mark Armanini
– A Pipa concerto bringing out the imagery and sounds of nature.
Nomads Rustic Song – Traditional song, Arr. Mark Armanini
– A Mongolian folk melody bridging the operatic styles of China and Europe.
Gao Shan Qin – Traditional song, Arr. Farshid Samandari.
– A Taiwanese folk melody cherishing the beauty of woman and man.
Silk Road Music Ensemble
Biwa Blues by Ron Hadley
– The Mississippi merges with the Yangtze for some Jazz exploration.
Rosaleda by André Thibault, Arr. Alain Mayrand
– Latin Jazz Flamenco Rumba. OLE!
Check the Beans by Jill Russell
– Northern Brazilian music in the style of Baiao.
Folguedo by Celso Machado
– Brazilian guitar composition re-arranged for Pipa, Guitar, and Tambourine .
Sparkling Dew by Jin Zhang
– A classical trio piece for Pipa, Erhu and Ruan.
Chinese Traditional 
Han Ya Xi Shui – Traditional arr. Mark Armanini
– Contemporary dance by Wen Wei Wang improvised around a Pipa classical solo.
Moonlight on Ping Lake – Traditional, Arr. Zhimin Yu
– Showcasing the beautiful and lyrical side of Chinese plucked and bowed strings.
Sleep My Little Baby – Traditional, Arr. Laurence Mollerup
– A dreamy Chinese lullaby. Fly little Bird!
Horse Race – Traditional, Arr. Qiu Xia He
– A famous Erhu solo based on Mongolian horse riding.
3 + 6 – Traditional, Arr. Qiu Xia He
– Silk and Bamboo music from the tea houses of south China.


The VICO and Silk Road Music extend heartfelt thanks to the following funders and sponsors, whose generous support makes THREAD possible: