Booey Lehoo Arts Week: Harmonies

by Project Pengyou on December 17th, 2011   1779 views

As part of Booey Lehoo Arts Week, I attended Harmonies, a Chinese and Western chamber music performance. If you’re wondering what chamber music is, it’s a form of…

As part of Booey Lehoo Arts Week, I attended Harmonies, a Chinese and Western chamber music performance. If you’re wondering what chamber music is, it’s a form of classical music written for a small group of instruments that can be performed in an intimate space, such as a palace chamber. Given the intimate surroundings, chamber music is often referred to as the “music of friends,” and has a history spanning over 200 years.

Hosted in the intimate venue of the Lotus Lounge at the Western Academy of Beijing, Harmonies featured music performed by faculty and students from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and the Bard College Conservatory of Music in New York.

The musicians performed with a diverse mix of both Western and traditional Chinese instruments, including piano, violin, cello, erhuxunguqinguzheng and pipa. They performed solo, but also teamed up in duets, concertos and quartets, playing with such emotion that they created a charged atmosphere within the intimate setting.

While all performances were superb, the highlight of the evening was the concerto. The trio of Robert Martin, Melvin Chen and He Fangyue (playing the cello, piano and violin, respectively) played works by Johannes Brahms with soul and technical brilliance to a standing ovation.

Although an anticipated vocal-piano duet between one of the Booey Lehoo artists, Chinese pop star Shunza, and her pianist mother was cancelled (Shunza was feeling a little under the weather), the audience was still left enthralled by the talented conservatory students and faculty. All of the pieces staged at Harmonies proved that while there may be vast cultural and linguistic differences between Chinese and Western audiences, music has an undeniable power to transcend such barriers, and bring people together.

Featured photograph courtesy of land_camera_land_camera from Flickr.

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