The inauguration of the Year of the Tiger, the lunar or “Chinese” New Year 4708, began with the new moon that occurred on Valentine’s Day, and climaxes this weekend with the first full moon of the New Year. It would be difficult to imagine a better way to celebrate than with the North American debut of the Hong Kong-based Windpipe Chinese Ensemble.
Thanks to the auspices of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office of New York, which is sponsoring the tour, and Chicago’s Fulcrum Point New Music Project, the Windpipe Chinese Ensemble will present a free, one-night-only area performance that will spotlight this remarkable group that seeks to preserve traditional Chinese music on indigenous instruments as well as create a new body of contemporary Chinese music for ensemble that feature both traditional and modern instruments.
The nine-member ensemble performs on the Dizi (Chinese traverse flute), Suona (double reed trumpet), Xiao (vertical bamboo flute), Sheng (Chinese mouth organ), Yangin (Chinese dulcimer), Pipa (Chinese lute), Qinqin (lower lute) Sanxian (three-stringed lute), Daruan (Chinese string bass) along with such bowed string instruments as the Erhu, Goohu, Erxian, Zhonghu, Yehy and Tiqin.
The program will include two world premieres commissioned especially for this concert: Li Cheong’s “Drumming Ridge,” which will seek to evoke the Qing Dynasty when villagers would beat a huge drum on a hilltop to alert fellow villages against invasion, and Ng Cheuk-yin’s “Tiger Sketch,” which depicts not only the stalking movements of the tiger during the Year of the Tiger, but also the swish of Chinese comic book artist Lee Chi-ching’s paintbrush as he paints a tiger via video.
Other works on the program—some of which will also be performed by members of Fulcrum Point New Music Project in collaboration with the Windpipe Chinese Ensemble—include “In Celebration of Good Times” by Yau Hok-chau, “Birds Returning to the Woods” by Yi Jianquan, “Koel on Mount Parker” by Clarence Mak, “Distant Reflection” by Joshua Chan, “Dancing on Glass” by Victoria Bond, “Ritual Gathering” by Chen Neng-chi, and a multimedia finale entitled “Cat and Rat—Legend of the Chinese Zodiac” based on the illustrated book by Caldecott Award winner Ed Young, performed with readings and video projections.
Tickets are free, but e-tickets need to be reserved in advance by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a limit of four e-tickets per person, and requests will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis. (Dennis Polkow)
Northwestern University’s Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago, (312)726-3846. 7:30pm. Free.