Night Song by Mark Armanini

About the Artists

Mark Armanini (composer) 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. 

Yun Song (erhu) has established herself in China as one of the most prominent Erhu performers of her generation. Her extraordinary musical gifts became apparent when, at age 17, she received the First Prize from the Traditional Music Grand Prix organized/hosted by the Ministry of Culture, China. With her brilliant technique and real emotional depth, she won numerous awards, including Erhu solo, Concerto Competitions in Beijing, and nation-wide TV annual strings performing competitions in the following years. And she became one of the most sought-after young Erhu artists, appearing from city to city. She has been invited to represent China’s Young Musicians to participate in festivals and concerts around the world, including Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Japan, and Finland. After that, she joined the Central National Song and Dance Troupe as a Erhu soloist and performed frequently. And, as well, she became the member of China Musicians Association, and the Director of Chinese Erhu Artists Association.

Ge-Ling Jiang (zhong ruan) is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist who started her professional training at the age of 10. After graduating from Wuhan Music Conservatory, she became a member of the Chime Bell Ensemble of Hubei Province. As a 20 year member of the ensemble , she recorded numerous radio broadcasts, TV programs, and films; and toured in the United States, Japan and Singapore. Trained initially as a sanxian (three-string fretless lute) player, she also regularly plays the zheng, liuqin, ruan, and Jing-erhu. From 2004, after immigrating to Canada, she joined several contemporary music ensembles based in Vancouver and performed across Canada, the US, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Philippine and China: she was a zheng player in Orchid Ensemble; now sanxian, ruan and zheng player in Red Chamber; ruan, sanxian and zheng player of Cloud Bell Ensemble. She has been a guest musician working with the Vancouver Symphony, the University of British Columbia (UBC) Symphony, the Elektra Women’s Choir, and a Chinese music instrument coach at the University of British Columbia School of Music. She is not only an excellent musical interpreter for composers, but also a good improviser with different musicians.


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.

Zhong Ruan: a Chinese plucked string instrument with a straight neck, 24 frets on the fingerboard, and four strings. It is usually played with a plectrum (guitar pick). It can also be played with fingers (index finger and thumb with acrylic nails), similar to how one plays the pipa. The zhongruan is a tenor-ranged instrument in the ruan family. In ancient China, the ruan was called Qin pipa or Ruan xian. Now the ruan has expanded to different sizes and the zhongruan is the “medium” one.

Video Production Credits

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

Audio Engineer & Mix – Sheldon Zaharko

Filmed and recorded on December 2-3, 2020 at Deep Cove Shaw Theatre in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

For the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra:

Producer – Mark Armanini

Senior Project Manager – Farshid Samandari

View the full programme for The Longest Night: Music for Solstice (Solace).

More Videos

Click on the thumbnails to watch!

View the full programme for The Longest Night: Music for Solstice (Solace)