Gao Hong releases a new album
Gao Hong, Director of the Chinese Music Ensemble and Lecturer in Chinese Musical Instruments, just released her eighth CD, Pipa Potluck–Lutes Around the World (Gao Hong and Friends). When pipa player and composer…
Gao Hong, Director of the Chinese Music Ensemble and Lecturer in Chinese Musical Instruments, just released her eighth CD, Pipa Potluck–Lutes Around the World (Gao Hong and Friends). When pipa player and composer Gao Hong has a potluck, the guests include a couple Grammy winners, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on Arabic music, and a healthy helping of string instruments. Featuring two original compositions by Gao Hong and collaborations on both new and traditional songs, Pipa Potluck stirs up a warm and nourishing multicultural meal on pipa, banjo, fiddle, slack key guitar, oud, and not forgetting regular guitar. Pipa Potluck could be looked at as a series of courses, but also conversations. The flavors and languages co-mingle with all their identities intact, giving a warm sense that yes, we can all get along on this planet. On “Cluck Old Hen,” “Sally Johnson,” and Gao Hong’s own “Green Willow Tree,” she finds common ground with Grammy-winning banjoist Alison Brown, fiddle player Matt Combs, and bassist Garry West. The interplay between pipa and the slack key guitar of 4-time Grammy-winner George Kahumoku, Jr. stand out on “Mosquito Song” and “The Source of the Spring Water.” The Middle Eastern oud appears twice, played by Yair Dalal on “Friendship” and Bassam Saba on “Longa Nahawand.” And on the appropriately titled “Lutes Around the World,” the voices of the pipa, the banjo, the oud, the slack key guitar, and all the guests come together to close the album out.
Gao Hong has received numerous awards and honors, including First Prize in the Hebei Professional Young Music Performers Competition in China and an Asian Pacific Award, and fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Meet the Composers Inc. in New York and the Jerome Foundation. In 2005 Gao Hong became the first traditional musician to be awarded the prestigious Bush Artist Fellowship, and in 2008 she became the only musician in any genre to win three McKnight Artist Fellowships for Performing Musicians. As a composer, she has received commissions from the American Composers Forum, Walker Art Center, the Jerome Foundation, Zeitgeist, Ragamala Music and Dance Theater, Theater Mu, IFTPA, and Twin Cities Public Television. She has performed throughout Europe, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, and the United States and has participated in such events as the Lincoln Center Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and the International Festival. She has performed countless United States and world premieres of pipa concerti with organizations such as the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Heidelberg Philharmonic, and the Women’s Philharmonic (San Francisco). She also is a Guest Professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.