Guest Artist Lecture from China’s first Bamboo Orchestra this Wednesday

31 January 2017

This Wednesday, Feb. 1st, from 4:30 to 5:30pm, first class Chinese musicians from the Beijing Bamboo Orchestra will give a guest artist lecture in the Concert Hall.

Bamboo is the world’s second-largest plant resource, and China is the world’s largest bamboo-producing country. Its bamboo culture is broad and profound, so its bamboo musical instruments have a long history and rich variety. On this basis, after 20 years of effort, comes China’s first Bamboo Orchestra.

The Beijing Bamboo Orchestra, with its distinctive features and high standards, quickly gained extensive attention. Taken from mountain forests, the materials for its instruments provide pure and simple sound. All instruments of the Bamboo Orchestra (together more than 30 kinds) have registers exceeding the piano range. Besides various Chinese traditional folk instruments, there are personally handcrafted exclusive inventions of new bamboo instruments, many of which have obtained national patents. Their distinctive appearance, innovative method of playing, beautiful timbre, and high interest, makes them unique to the world. The orchestra is known as China’s only “green orchestra.” Its members consist of mostly young bright musicians, with professional titles and the most advanced training in their craft. The Bamboo Orchestra has appeared on many major shows, on television, and radio stations broadcast in Beijing and around China. Performances for international organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and national leaders have been met with great success and praise. The orchestra has published five CD albums.

In 2012, with invitation from the Hong Kong Government, the Beijing Bamboo Orchestra performed in the Hong Kong Town Hall and the Tsuen Wan Town Hall for the Hong Kong International Comprehensive Arts Festival. In 2013, the orchestra performed in New York and Washington DC, and received the China Culture Festival’s “Best Performance Award.” In 2014, the Beijing Municipal Government invited the orchestra to participate in “On Both Sides” Culture Exchange Activities and they performed in the Taipei Zhongshan Music Hall and in the city of Kaohsiung. Sent by the Ministry of Culture, the Beiijing Bamboo Orchestra performed in the “Happy Chinese New Year 2016” project in Cincinnati, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia.

More information on our guest artists:

Li Zengguang is a National Grade-A performer, a member of the China Musicians’ Association, and executive member of the council of China Zhudi Committee. He is currently head of Dizi at the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra. In 1989, he released his album Chinese Dizi, which includes pieces like Oasis, River of Sorrow, Partridges Flying and Pastoral Flute. He has performed as a soloist both at home and abroad, including Japan, Thailand, Philippine, and Singapore. Currently, he is working at MTSU Center for Chinese Music and Culture.

Chen Wei, conductor of the Beijing Bamboo orchestra, is a composer, a percussion player, and a National Grade-A performer. He has composed and performed a number of bamboo instrument pieces, which were highly praised by experts and audiences at multiple concerts and large events in China. He recorded and played for more than ten albums and released his own percussion album Magic of Percussion. In 2013, he won the best performance award at the Washington, DC Asian Art Festival.

Yi Yongren is a National Grade-A Performer, head of the wind instruments and Sheng of the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra, member of the council of the China Nationalities Orchestra Society, and vice chairman and secretary general of the first session of the China Sheng Committee. Lusheng, Sheng and Hulusi pieces he has composed and performed, including Train into the Kam Village, Mountain Village, are greatly appreciated both at home and overseas. Yi has performed in many countries and has won multiple awards for his compositions and solo performances.

Ji Jie is a National Grade-A Performer of Chinese fiddles. He graduated from Tianjin Conservatory of Music and is currently a member of the Chinese Musicians’ Association and executive member of the Council of the China Nationalities Orchestra Society Huqin Committee. Ji is a master of jinghu, banhu, gaohu, mandolin, and other instruments. He has been heads of national-level orchestras and was invited to perform with China Philharmonic Orchestra, China National Symphony Orchestra as a soloist and leading performer in domestic and international concerts. In 1982, he won the Performance Award at the National Chinese Musical Instruments Competition. In 1995, he held his solo concert in Stuttgart, Germany. China Central Television, Beijing Daily, and the magazine Musical Instrument have given him special coverage many times. Currently, he is working at MTSU Center for Chinese Music and Culture.

Xu Mengge is an erhu performer and Master Degree candidate of the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing. She is the winner of the Gold Award of the “Chinese Recording Cup” International Erhu Invitational Tournament, the Gold Award of Youth Professionals- Group A in the “Youth Music Cup” International Erhu Competition, and the winner of Bronze Award in the CCTV Folk Musical Instrument Competition. Her performance style is exquisite and with rich expressive power.

Zhang Yukun is a xiao player, a Master’s Degree candidate at Central Conservatory of Music in China, and student of Dai Ya, a renowned Chinese artist. She has won multiple awards and performed in many countries.

Wang Wei, founder of the Beijing Bamboo Orchestra, received honors in the International Bamboo Art Competition held in New Orleans, United States. He has published dozens of professional papers, and his book “Bamboo Musical Instruments” received a national publisher’s award. The orchestra also received the “Excellent Performances Award” in the CCTV Folk Instruments Contest; the “National Service Grass-Roots Advanced Units Award” issued by the Publicity Department, the Ministry of Culture, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, and the General Administration of Press and Publication. They were praised by the Ministry of Culture for its performance in the Shanghai World Expo; and received the National Art Fund in 2015.

Wang Wei has given many seminars on bamboo musical art in venues such as at the National Grand Theater, Beijing University, China Opera Institute, Beijing Institute of technology, and Guangxi library. In 2014, in the 1200 square meter East Hall of the National Grand Theater, the inaurgual Exhibition of Bamboo Musical Instruments of the World lasted for a period of 20 days, where two concerts and lectures were given.