VICO Septet: Simple Tunes in Yunan Folk Style by Jin Zhang

About the Music



Janna Sailor, conductor

Mark Takeshi McGregor, flute
ZhongXi Wu, sheng
Saina Khaledi, santur
Ali Razmi, tar
Douglas Hensley, banjo
Jun Rong, erhu
Sarah Kwok, viola

Jin composed Simple Tunes in Yunan Folk Style after he traveled to the Yun Nan province of China to research folk songs in the region, a project that was supported by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. The piece has three movements. The first movement is warm and rhythmic dance music. The second movement evokes vocals – perhaps a duet, two female singers singing on a relaxing sunny day. The third movement has a fast tempo, and the mood is festive and celebratory.


About the Artists

Jin (Jack) Zhang is an internationally recognized composer and conductor. Accolades he has received include: the AVIFF Award at Cannes 2018 for his film score “Lama in the West”; a nomination for his composition “Fire” in the 17th International Independent Music Awards in USA; a nomination for best instrumental music album at the Western Canadian Music Awards; and various other artistic achievement awards in Vancouver and China. Also, a project in which he was involved as composer and sound designer design received the main prize in an international multimedia competition in England.

Currently Jin Zhang holds the position of Music Director and Conductor for the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra, and the New Westminster Symphony Orchestra; he also conducts the Intermediate Orchestra of the Vancouver Youth Symphony. He is also an Artistic Director of Canada Chinese Performing Arts Society. He was a resident composer at Casalmaggiore International Music Festival 2015 in Italy, Artistic Director of Golden Maple International Film Festival in Vancouver and White Rock City Moon Festival 2019.

Jin Zhang studied music at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo. In Japan, he studied conducting in master classes with maestro Kazuyoshi Akiyama and Seiji Ozawa. Jin’s compositions have been played by many orchestras, including Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, and Victoria Symphony in Canada, and Xiamen Philharmonic and Guang Dong provincial orchestra in China. He has also received commissions for his music arrangements from the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Jin is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre, and a recipient of multiple commissioning grants from the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2006, he was selected by the Canadian Music Centre to be part of their new online initiative entitled “Composer Portraits – Influences of Many Musics.” This project focuses on Canadian composers who have come to Canada from other countries, highlighting their valuable contributions to Canadian music.

Janna Sailor (conductor) is a conductor, violinist, and musical innovator of extraordinary scope and versatility.  Originally from rural Saskatchewan, she began her musical studies at the age of three and began performing with professional orchestras at the age of thirteen. In June 2016, Janna founded the Vancouver-based Allegra Chamber Orchestra, one of the only all-female classical orchestras in the world; an ensemble dedicated to creating opportunities for women and minorities in the music industry, with a mandate of social action through music. The orchestra has been featured on CBC Radio, German Public Radio, Radio ICI, the Strad magazine, The Violin Channel, The Walrus, The Hub magazine, as well as other publications and media outlets across North America and Europe. Janna has conducted major orchestras and ensembles including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Vancouver Bach Choir, and the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, among others. Janna has held conducting positions with the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra. In addition to conducting, Janna enjoys a diverse career as violinist, delving into contemporary, world and early music, jazz, and classical crossover, in addition to chamber and solo engagements. Ensembles she has performed with include the Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, Pacific Baroque Orchestra and Tafelmusik.  Janna has served as concertmaster with both the Montreal based l’Orchestre de la Francophonie (2011) and the National Academy Orchestra of Canada (2014).

The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, founded in 2001, was one of the first professional concert orchestras devoted specifically to performing new intercultural music on a grand scale. It is currently the only ensemble of its kind in Canada, and one of a only a handful 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. The ensemble includes Western strings and winds (violin, viola, cello, contrabass, oboe, flute, clarinet) alongside Chinese erhu, sanxian, zheng, and sheng/suona; Persian kamanche, tar/setar, and tombak; Vietnamese dan bau; percussion from many world music traditions; and a variety of other instruments as required.

Since repertoire for the VICO’s unusual and diverse instrumentation does not already exist, creating new work is an integral component of all our programming. Developing new commissions (over 50 new Canadian works since 2001, and counting!) provides a necessary framework for bringing musicians and composers together to learn from each other, in a uniquely collaborative process. We create and perform music that transcends borders and breaks down barriers, modeling a pathway for integrating non-Western traditional instruments, sounds and techniques into contemporary Canadian classical music.


Video Production Credits

Videography – Alistair Eagle, assisted by Don Xaliman & Camillia Frey

Audio Engineer & Mix – Sheldon Zaharko

Filmed and recorded on June 12, 2021 in the Historic Theatre at The Cultch, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

For the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra:

Artistic Director & Producer – Mark Armanini

Composer-in-Residence & Senior Project Manager – Farshid Samandari

Production Manager & Communications – Melanie Thompson

Marketing & Production Assistant – Gina Hernandez Sanchez

Operations Manager – Devni De Silva


View the whole Global Soundscapes Festival: Digital Edition 2021 programme.

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If you enjoyed our 2021 Festival series, we would be so grateful if you would consider supporting the project (and others to come in our 20th anniversary season) by making a donation to the VICO. We are a registered charity, and if you donate online via CanadaHelps (click here), a tax receipt will be automatically issued and e-mailed to you right away.

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More Videos

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Overview of the full Festival programme