Understanding China with Music, Seeking Beauty of harmony between East and West
“New Silk Road Explorer” Band——Sharing Tour of China-U.S. Musical Culture in China Ends

[Source]    Central Conservatory of Music [Time]    2017-05-25 13:52:06 
 

On May 13th, the “New Silk Road Explorer” Band——Sharing Tour of China-U.S. Musical Culture in China came to a successful end. It was hosted by the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM), created and supervised by the Centre for the Exchange and Experience of Chinese and Foreign Music Cultures & Music Confucius Institute Office.

The band is led by Prof. Liu Yuening of the CCOM, and composed of the young American dulcimer performer David Mahler, Jazz pianist, composer, conductor Prof. Dennis Friesen-Carper, multi-instruments performer, singer-songwriter Paul Friesen-Carper and multi-instruments performer, music producer Randy Raine-Reusch. During the twelve-day tour, the band has visited five cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Hefei, Qingdao, and hosted nine themed concerts, art sharing and cultural exchange events.

Harmonic Strings: Rediscover Nature of Music and Play a “New Chapter”

“New Silk Road Explorers” band has successively held four special concerts at the Opera Concert Hall of the CCOM, the Shanghai Grand Theatre, the Wuhan Qintai Concert Hall, and the Qingdao Grand Theatre, and performed nine China-U.S. classic and folk and jazz songs including Lian Wu, Blues version of KangdingQingge, Small Fairy and Big Fairy, Jazz version of Jasmine Flower, No Title, The Rhythm of Black Bamboo and Affection and Action and two new songs the Harmonic Stringst and The Moon Whispers to a Fountain.


Prof. Liu Yuening of the CCOM performing

Prof. Liu Yuening’s contributions to the China-U.S. music cultural exchanges were highly appraised by Annie Grimes, Counsellor of the Information and Cultural Section of the US Embassy in China. She said that Liu Yuening, as the first performing arts scholar in the decades-long history of the high-end cultural exchange “Fulbright Program” between China and the US, has played a positive role in people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and the US, making outstanding contributions to the transmission of the “Fulbright” culture.


Small Fairy and Big Fairy being performed by the US and Chinese dulcimer artists

On the importance of Chinese and Western cultural exchanges, Yu Fen, President of the CCOM, said in a speech delivered at the debut concert that “There is no doubt that Chinese culture needs to communicate with the world culture and absorbing the essence of foreign culture is an important impetus for the development of Chinese culture. And the world culture also needs the nourishment and contributions of Chinese culture. In another speech delivered at the concert, Guo Shulan, Secretary of the Party Committee of the CCOM, fully affirmed the positive role this sharing trip has played in promoting the combination of the Chinese and foreign music culture and traditional and modern art. She said that in this historical new era of China and the US cooperation and development, this sharing tour rediscovers the nature of music on the harmonic strings and opens a new chapter for music cultural exchanges through improvised dialogues among dulcimers of China and the US and a variety of Chinese and Western musical instruments.

Imparting skills and Gaining Benefits: Sharing Happiness Outweighs Enjoying it Alone.

In addition to the special concerts, the band also held cross-cultural exchange workshops at five prestigious universities in China, including the CCOM, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Ocean University of China (OUC) and Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA), in order to interact with teachers and students, impart skills and answer their questions. Prof. Liu Yuening said that this tour not only combines the Chinese and American folk music with jazz, but also opens up a new pattern that is accepted by the public, and that it also shoulders the historical mission to improve the art quality of Chinese universities.


Prof. Liu Yuening, American young performer David interacting with Chinese students

During the tour, the “New Silk Road Explorers” played the Chinese folk music Yearning in collaboration with the student choir of the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), offering a new interpretation of Chinese music from different cultures perspectives, accompanied by the chime made by both Chinese and Western musical instruments. At Ocean University of China (OUC), through David Mahler’s live demo, Prof. Liu Yuening also gave a general introduction to the development of Chinese dulcimer and the history and technical changes of American dulcimer for the faculty and students of Department of Art.

At Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA), student folk orchestra demonstrated the arts education level of a Chinese comprehensive university to American musicians by performing folk music Happy Night and Dunhuang New Anecdotes. At the “Harmony between the East and West—Improvisation Demonstration Workshop” held by the CCOM, the “New Silk Road Explorers” band had a lively discussion on the similarities and differences between improvisation in Chinese music and Western music with Prof. Tian Zaili and his “Yue Yun” young musician group, who were specially invited to the workshop.

Take Music as a Bridge to Build a New Model of Two-way Exchanges between China and World

Using music as a good tool to explore characteristics of different cultures, the tour has explored a new two-way cultural exchange model between China and the world that features performance along with creation of music, humanities exchanges and field academic research.

On the one hand, Chinese and American musicians have shown their unique perspectives through the performance and creation. The Harmonic Strings, created by Wang Dongxu, a PhD candidate of the CCOM, is based on the Chinese folk music the brook drips. It integrates three disparate music styles -- Chinese folk music, American country music and jazz and creates a new tune played by the Chinese dulcimer, American dulcimer and Mountain dulcimer; while The Moon Whispers to , created by Prof. Dannis based on the Chinese well-known music The Moon over a Fountain, reflects his respect towards Chinese musicians.


“New Silk Road Explorers” playing “the Harmonic Strings”

On the other hand, such performances, sharing and exchanges not only give Chinese audience a chance to appreciate the charm of cross-cultural music arts but also let Musicians both from China and the U.S. understand emotions and pursuits of contemporary Chinese people. Just as David Mahler and Paul Friesen-Carper said, “We wish to have more opportunities to cooperate with Chinese musicians, so as to learn and have a deeper understanding of Chinese music.


Enthusiastic audience

The band will conclude its tour in a special concert titled “China Theme” at the Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts on Oct. 22nd. The tour is a vivid example and good representation of the deep integration and mutual promotion of the musical culture between the U.S. and China. It will make positive contributions to building a dynamic contemporary cultural image of China.

A total of nearly7,000 distinguished guests and people watched the performances, including Wang Jiarui, Vice Chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Wang Zhizhen, Vice Chairman of the 11th CPPCC National Committee, Xia Jianhui, Deputy Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters and Deputy Director-General of Hanban, Anne Grimes, Counsellor of the Information and Cultural Section of the US Embassy in China, Guo Shulan, Secretary of the Party Committee of the CCOM, Zhang Xue, Executive Deputy Secretary of Beijing Municipal Education Committee, Ke Yang, Executive Vice President of Peking University, Pang Huanlei, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of the CCOM, Zhou Haihong, Vice President of the CCOM, Liu Xijin, President of the China Nationalities Orchestra Society, Cheng Donghong, Vice President of Western Returned Scholars Association and Chinese Overseas-educated Scholars Association, Tian Yuke, Vice Chairman of Political Consultative Conference of Hubei Province and Provincial Secretary of the Central Committee of the Jiu San Society and James Dragon, Public Affairs Officer at Wuhan Consulate General of the U.S. Embassy in China. More than ten mainstream media such as CCTV (China Central Television), CETV (China Education Television), BTV (Beijing Television), China Daily, China.org.cn, youth.cn, China News Service and Chinese Arts News made special reports on the performances.

 
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