Suite for Erhu & Cello by Mark Armanini

Mark Armanini (composer)

Mark Armanini was raised, educated and lives in Vancouver, Canada and holds a Bmus (1981) and Mmus (1984) in composition from UBC. Since 1989 Mark has been composing for various combinations of Chinese, Asian, and Western instruments, and has received numerous commissions and awards for his work. Mark’s catalogue includes of over 60 works for choir, solo voice, chamber and orchestral ensembles; his work has been performed by the CBC Radio Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony, the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, the BC Chinese Orchestra, Orchid Ensemble and Silk Road. Mark’s ‘Vancouver style’ is noticeable in his several concertos: …of Wind and Water for Pipa; Concerto for Erhu; Concerto for Yangqin; Dance of Many Colours for two Dan Bau, and Incense and Flowers, a double concerto for Yangqin and Harp with intercultural orchestra. Mark is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre and since 1994 has been a composition instructor at Capilano University in North Vancouver. He has been involved with the VICO since its inception, most recently as a project manager and co-Artistic Director and since 2012 as full Artistic Director; as such he has been at the forefront of a number of major VICO initiatives from educational programs and professional development workshops to concert series.


Nicole Ge Li (erhu)

Nicole Ge Li (Musician – erhu) is currently Concert Master of the BC Chinese Orchestra and gaohu soloist with the BC Chinese Music Ensemble. Li began learning the erhu at the early age of six and started training professionally at the age of 11 at the Wu Conservatory of Music Affiliated Secondary School, where she received a full scholarship for four consecutive years. Li was later admitted to the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree in erhu performance in 2008.

An active erhu performer, both as a solo artist and as an ensemble player, since 2000, Li is a much sought after performing artist in Vancouver. In 2011, she organized and performed in her own erhu recital in Vancouver, which was also the first full-scale erhu performance event of its kind held in Canada. In 2013, she was invited to perform for Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the only Chinese instrumental soloist at the Chinese New Year Gala in Vancouver.  Later that year, Li performed the celebrated erhu concerto “Butterfly Lovers” with the BC Chinese Orchestra.

In 2015, Li was a recipient of the prestigious Outstanding Young Leaders Medal of Merit Award. As a performing artist, Li is known for her interpretive expressiveness, stylistic versatility and ability to transverse a wide range of musical genres from the East to the West, from the traditional to the avant-garde.


Eric Wilson (cello)

Eric Wilson was awarded the Bronze Medal (1971) in the Geneva International Competition and co-winner of the Morris Loeb Prize for Strings (1973) at the Juilliard School. He was also solo cellist of the Ensemble of New York in residence at the Lincoln Centre, New York, and a founding member of the Emerson String Quartet that won in 1978 the prestigious Walter W. Naumberg competition Prize for Chamber Ensemble.

Wilson has performed with such eminent artists as Menahem Pressler and Walter Trampler and with the Boston Chamber Soloists, New York Chamber Soloists, Lyric Piano Quartet, Quartet Canada, Pro Arte Quartet and the Melos Quartet. As guest artist, Wilson has appeared at the Wolf Trap; Newport (R.I.); Katonah (N.Y.); Banff, Alberta; Scotia; Meadow Brook and Vermont Mozart Festivals among others.

With pianist Patricia Hoy, Eric Wilson has performed extensively and received critical acclaim with the release of their CD of Rachmaninov’s Sonata for Cello and Piano and Stephen Chatman’s Sonata for Cello and Piano. In March 2004, Wilson gave a series of masterclasses and recitals in Taiwan including lectures at the National Teacher’s University in Taipei and a recital at the Taiwan National Theatre, also in Taipei.

Wilson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to a family of musicians. His father, baritone Kerr Wilson, and pianist mother Thelma, had their own radio program on CBC while still in their teens. As a boy, he performed from memory with his brother Carlisle and sister Kerrine. His niece Kerri Lynn Wilson has an international career as a conductor. Why so much music from this Winnipeg family? “Beats the heck out of freezing!” as Winnipegers would say.

About the Instruments

Erhu: a bowed instrument from China with a long neck and two strings between which a horsehair bow is placed. The strings are tuned to a fifth. The sound box may take different shapes – hexagon, octagon, round, or ellipse – and is covered on one side by snakeskin. The erhu performs an essential role in Chinese classical music as well as in the folk music tradition. It is held vertically to play – the left hand plays without a fingerboard, while the right hand holds the bow and plays one string at a time.

Video Production Credits

Director of Photography – Kerry Phillips

Gaffer / B Camera – Yong Jin Kim

Audio Engineer & Mix – Sheldon Zaharko

All additional photography – Kerry Phillips

Filmed and recorded on July 27, 2020 at Pyatt Hall (VSO School of Music) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

For the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra:

Global Soundscapes Festival Producer – Mark Armanini

Senior Project Manager – Farshid Samandari

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