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General · 8th November 2009
Quadra Cultural Committee
An exotic musical experience awaits those who love live music when the western tour of the Yadong Guan Trio comes to the Quadra Community Centre on Sunday, November 29th at 7:00 PM. A virtuoso pipa player and composer, Yadong Guan is a renowned for her brilliant technique and profoundly sensitive musical interpretations. The trio: a combination of pipa, cello, and guitar evokes a feeling of both western and eastern music in this fine ensemble.

Born in Beijing, China, Yadong Guan began studying pipa at the age of seven and was chosen to complete her University training with the esteemed Pipa Master, Lin Shi Cheng. Upon graduating she won the first prize of the National Art Student Contest and went on to win a ministerial prize at the UN World Women’s Conference in 1995. After immigrating to Canada in 1997, she completed a Master’s degree in Composition at the University of Laval in Québec. Yadong Guan represents the best of musicians who have been schooled in the intensely competitive musical conservatories of China; they are superb musicians who sometimes go unrecognized in the West because they emerge from a different and somewhat mysterious musical culture.

The pipa is one of the oldest instruments in the world: originating in the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 AD) and remaining popular in China ever since. A four-stringed instrument that is difficult to master, it shares some similarities with the classical guitar and its shape is reminiscent of the European lute. Yadong Guan has gone further than mastering the pipa: she is dedicated to bringing this 2000 year-old instrument into the modern world by combining it with western instruments, and by adapting and composing music that blends eastern and western musical traditions. Yadong Guan performs traditional pipa repertoire as a soloist with orchestras across Canada. She also plays with smaller instrumental ensembles, writing her own adaptations of classical repertoire by such varied composers as Vivaldi, Debussy and Bartok, as well as her own original compositions.

The diversity of Yadong Guan’s musical repertoire and the artistic finesse of her performance have inspired critics to write such comments as: “The she-devil with the black mane and slanting eyes plucks exquisite 'portamenti' and 'vibrati' from her lute that burst out into the air like fireworks.” (Guy Fournier, ‘LA MARQUE’ magazine, published by the Orchestre symphonique de Québec.) “A brilliant and inspired artist, a repertoire and an instrument to discover, make this concert an experience of beauty, you will not soon forget.” Claude Gagnon.

Yadong Guan has three recordings available on her website for purchase: two are ensemble recordings with guitar and cello ( Fréquence Pékinoise and Tandem) and one is solo Classic Pipa Selection with the China Central Broadcasting Orchestra.

Tickets for Yadong Guan Trio are available at the usual outlets: Hummingbird Office and Art Supply in Quathiaski Cove; Quadra Crafts in Heriot Bay; and the Music Plant in Campbell River. Advance tickets are $17 for adults. Students 16 and under listen for free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets are $20 at the door. For further information, call 250-285-2580.