Teasing A Golden Snake by Jin Zhang
Jin Zhang (composer)
Jin Zhang (Composer) was born in Beijing, China. He received his first musical education at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and studied conducting with professor Zheng Xiao Ying and Yang Hong Nian. Then he traveled to Japan and studied conducting at Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, with Professor Morihiro Okabe and maestro Kazuyoshi Akiyama Seiji Ozawa. Since coming to Canada in 1990, Jin has became known as a conductor and composer who actively promotes appreciation and education of symphonic orchestral music and combines Eastern and Western musical expressions. Jin is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre, and many of his compositions and arrangements have been played by professional and community groups including the Calgary Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra. Some of his works have been broadcast by BBC, CBC, VTV and other networks. He composed for the Millennium Project produced by the Vancouver Chinese Culture Centre in 2001. He has worked with musicians from various cultural backgrounds in Canada to develop a new form of musical expression that incorporates multiple traditions into a true voice of Canadian culture.
Jun Rong (erhu)
Jun Rong is an erhu soloist and educator. She received her Bachelor’s degree at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing. After graduating from the school, she worked for the China Opera & Dance Orchestra. Jun is now continuing her music career in Vancouver. She has performed in numerous concerts and festivals and worked on film score recordings and CD recordings. Her outstanding technique is recognized by experts and appreciated by the audience. Jun has played with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony, the Calgary Symphony, and the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra. Invited by the Vancouver Chinese Culture Centre, she played with Vega Strings, an internationally recognized string quartet, to premier a new composition as an erhu soloist. Her performance is acclaimed as “brilliant erhu playing” by the concert critics in the Vancouver Sun. She has recorded ten master works for erhu, composed by Liu Tian Hua. The album of Liu Tian Hua Master Works was published and distributed nationwide in China.
Nicole Ge Li (erhu)
Nicole Ge Li 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. During this 2012/15 season, Li is collaborating with virtuoso pianist Corey Hamm in bringing the first of many world premieres of new works for erhu and piano by Chinese and Canadian composers. These performances are being supported by a Canadian Art Council grant as part of a cross-cultural music exchange project. 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.
Lan Tung (erhu)
Lan Tung’s music often experiments with contradictions by taking culturally specific materials outside their context. Her works embody the rhythmic intricacy from Indian influence, the sense of breath from Chinese tradition, and years of experiences interpreting contemporary compositions. Incorporating improvisation and graphic notations, Lan’s compositions are released on numerous CDs, winning multiple nominations. Lan is the artistic director of Sound of Dragon Society, Orchid Ensemble, and Proliferasian. Originally from Taiwan, she has studied graphic score with Barry Guy, improvisation with Mary Oliver, Hindustani music with Kala Ramnath, and Uyghur music with Abdukerim Osman, in addition to her studies of Chinese music since a young age. Lan has appeared as a soloist with Orchestre Metropolitain (Montreal), Symphony Nova Scotia, Upstream Ensemble (Halifax), Atlas Ensemble (Amsterdam & Helsinki), Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra and Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra (Taipei).
Luke Kim (cello)
A member of the Vancouver Cello Quartet and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Luke Kim completed his undergraduate studies at UBC, where he received the Catherine-Cooke Topping Memorial Medal for musical excellence. Then, he finished his Master of Music degree as a full scholarship student at UCLA. His teachers include Antonio Lysy, Joseph Elworthy, Eric Wilson, John Friesen, and Kenneth Friedman. Luke participated in masterclasses with Lynn Harrell, Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot, and Paul Katz. He also attended the Aspen Music Festival and the Early Music Vancouver Programme (baroque cello). Besides cello, he enjoys playing the viola da gamba. Luke has appeared in various concert series and recitals throughout Greater Vancouver. In addition, he has performed as a soloist with various orchestras such as the Seoul Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, the Polish Czestochowa Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Busan Neo Philharmonic (Korea). In spring 2015, Luke was featured as a soloist for Friedrich Gulda’s Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra with the UCLA Wind Ensemble. He also performed Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante with the West Coast Symphony in 2019.
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