Composer's folk sound goes on tour around US

By Chen Nan in Beijing ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-02-18 12:10:00

Composer's folk sound goes on tour around US

Composer Ma Jiuyue leads Chinese folk musicians in a rehearsal in Beijing for their shows in the United States during the Spring Festival. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]

Inside a shabby three-story building close to Guomao, one of Beijing's busiest business areas, the air was filled with the sound of traditional Chinese folk instruments such as the stringed erhu and pipa.

Composer Ma Jiuyue, who works for the China National Orchestra, was leading around 20 young Chinese folk musicians in a rehearsal for their upcoming shows in the United States. The Chinese Ministry of Culture routinely flies folk musicians to perform abroad as a way to celebrate the traditional China Lunar New Year that falls on Feb 19 this year.

Although the US concerts are titled Sounds of China, Ma, who is the artistic director for the shows that began mid-month, told China Daily, "the sounds that you hear will be different from what you may expect from traditional Chinese folk music".

The 47-year-old composer is having more than 10 of his works performed at the concerts, from his adaptation of popular Chinese folk songs such as In a Remote Place to his original compositional works like Mask and Reincarnation, most of which are contemporary interpretations of Chinese folk instruments.

The first show was held at Chicago's Orchestra Hall on Feb 15, when audiences were given a joint performance by some musicians of the China National Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, showcasing traditional Chinese folk music and instruments fused with contemporary Chinese and Western classical music.

From Chicago Ma is leading a seven-member band of Chinese folk musicians to perform two concerts in Denver before they head out for a tour of nearby universities.

Having studied at Beijing-based Central Conservatory of Music since the 1990s, and graduated from China Conservatory in music performance, Ma is adept at playing the erhu, violin and piano.

"I've never learned composition but it's like an instinct, growing in my body," says Ma.

It was on a tape recorder that Ma first heard fusion music during his first year at the central conservatory. He can't recall the name of the album or the artists, but he says that he was impressed by the fusion of Indian folk instruments, especially the sitar, and Western classical music in that album.

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Editor's Picks
Hot words

Most Popular