The Chinese New Year celebrations have officially commenced and to celebrate the Year of the Rat, the talented team of musicians that incorporate the Chamber Music Concert will be building an inviting cultural experience through their show next weekend (January 31, 2020) at the Adelaide Festival Centre.
Audience members can expect to be treated to the enchanting tunes creates by the Chinese harp, 'Guzheng', the Chinese violin, 'Erhu', the Chinese flute 'Dizi', and the Chinese guitar, 'Ruan', and supported by percussionists performing with a stage full of Chinese drums, as the musicians will be led by the accomplished Zhao Liang.
In anticipation of the upcoming concert on January 31, 2020, I was fortunate to have an e-interview with School of Chinese Music & Arts founder Zhao Liang - have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Zhao? Zhao: I'm a mother of two kids, born in Singapore, and I identify as Australian-Chinese. Music is my way of expressing myself, and also my way of connecting with my communities. I think I'm a highly responsive person, so I adapt myself to my surroundings without losing my faith. This is reflected in my initiatives, programs and vision.
Tema: Who are the key individuals involved with the concert? How did you go about sourcing the individual talent? Zhao: Some of the key ensembles and musicians include my musical trio San Ureshi – presenting Satomi Ohnishi on percussion, David Dai on erhu (Chinese violin) and myself on guzheng (Chinese harp). Satomi has even written a few percussion pieces for this performance and it will be quite a highlight that we can look forward to in this show! I initiated this due to a request for a Chinese music workshop to be delivered at the Adelaide Festival Centre in 2019's Lunar New Year. Satomi and I are both members of Moonta Street, a Eurasian band led by Keith Preston, and David and I have worked together since 2016. In the span of one year, we have grown to deliver close to 30 school workshops, more than 10 multicultural story times and have also been performing as a trio, responding to artwork at the Art Gallery of South Australia. We have named ourselves San Ureshi as it means 'joy of the trio' in Japanese, and Satomi is Australian-Japanese. Another ensemble is Oriental Flair, which features the Bronzewing Quartet led by Lester Wong, as well as music arranged and written by Joel Ang. In 2014, OzAsia Festival's Moon Lantern Festival organisers requested for a unique ensemble to collaborate with Young Adelaide Voices and at that time I thought it would be nice to collaborate with strings, thus this initiative. Without the support of Joel Ang, Lan Lieu and the many musicians who have performed as strings, this would never have taken off and grown so far. We also have the honour to have guest artists such as Jeffrey Kong, Carolyn Lam and Xuting Zhao.
Tema: What are some notable instruments and sounds that you'd like to highlight for your audience to expect at the concert? Zhao: Besides an array of traditional Chinese instruments – the guzheng, erhu, liuqin (Chinese mandolin) and dizi (Chinese flute) – there will also be one of the most extensive Chinese percussion sets to ever have come to Adelaide. We will have more than eight different drums for this performance and all sorts of other unique and rarely seen Chinese percussion instruments.
Tema: What do you hope for your audience to experience by attending the Chinese New Year Chamber Music Concert? Zhao: Personally, I think Chinese music presents a unique strength within gentleness and a way of life and harmony. Through this performance I hope that our audience will see Chinese culture as one which values harmony through its customs, art and music.
The Chinese New Year Chamber Music Concert will be performed at the Adelaide Festival Centre on January 31, 2020 at 6pm. Book your tix here.