A musical extravaganza through time and space: Confucius Institute at the University of Sydney hosts “Songs of the Silk Road” Concert, Australia

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the University of Sydney [Time]    2016-08-10 13:33:10 

On July 2nd, local time, the “Wu Man: Immeasurable Light - Songs of the Silk Road” Concert was jointly hosted by the Confucius Institute at the University of Sydney and the Art Gallery of New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Pipa (Chinese lute) virtuoso Wu Man, together with Shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) master Riley Lee, presented a musical extravaganza through time and space to the audience.

During the 90-mininute-long concert, the two musicians performed a series of compositions spanning a long time and a wide array of styles, including such pipa classics as “Xunyang Pipa”, “Ambush on All Sides” and “Sunny Spring and White Snow”, traditional Shakuhachi solo “Azuma Jishi” (Lion of the East), and the ancient yet elegant tune “In the Quiet Night”, an adaptation of Dunhuang musical scores from the Tang dynasty by Wu Man as well as the western-style “Desert Sunset”, a musical piece integrated with the music of Uyghur Muqam, which greatly enchanted the audience. Last, the free-spirited improvisations by the two musicians pushed the whole event to its climax.

The show achieved a resounding success. Artistic directors from the mainstream art institutions in Australia such as the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the City Recital Hall in Sydney all came to attend the concert and hailed it as a world-class show.

“Wu Man: Immeasurable Light - Songs of the Silk Road” Concert

Pipa virtuoso Wu Man and Shakuhachi master Riley Lee performing on the same stage

The internationally renowned pipa virtuoso Wu Man was named “Musical America - Instrumentalist of the Year 2013” by a prestigious institution of American classical music, the first Chinese musician ever receiving this honor, and has been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist for five times. She creatively integrated Chinese and western musical elements, forming her own unique style and brought the ancient Chinese instrument, pipa, to western listeners.

Riley Lee is the first non-Japanese master of shakuhachi. Born in the United States, studying shakuhachi in Japan and settling in Australia a decade ago, Mr. Lee is the initiator and the artistic director of the World Shakuhachi Association in Sydney, an influential figure in Australian music industry.

Ms. Jin Xing, Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Sydney, noted that the combination of Wu Man and Riley Lee not only reflected the cultural ties of the ancient Silk Road, but also symbolized the artistic inheritance from the ancient times to modern times as well as the integration and development of Chinese and western cultures.

A group photo of Wu Man, Riley Lee and Ms. Jin Xing, Local Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Sydney, as well as Cao Yin, the Curator of the Tang: Treasures from the Silk Road Capital exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW and Claudia, Director of Chinese New Year Festival at the Sydney Town Hall

This concert was the closing ceremony of the major Tang artefacts and art exhibition entitled Tang: Treasures from the Silk Road Capital. The exhibition, hosted by the art gallery of NSW and co-organized by the Cultural Relics Bureau of Shaanxi Province and the Cultural Relics Exchange Center of Shaanxi Province, featured a wondrous array of collections from over ten museums in Shaanxi Province, many of which were first exhibited overseas.

Since its opening in April, the exhibition received a widespread attention and compliments by people from all walks of life. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife visited the exhibition.

Prof. Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Sydney and Chair of the Board of the Confucius Institute, delivering a speech at the reception

The concert and the exhibition were closely married, integrating contemporary musical skills with the musical elements in the Tang dynasty and bringing back the prosperous scenes of the international metropolis in the Tang dynasty, Chang’an (present day Xi’an), which made the Australian audience truly experience the unique charm of Tang culture as well as the treasures of Chinese art.