The featured pianists on this podcast are (left to right) Jenny Lin (born in Taiwan), Quynh Nguyen (born in Hanoi), and Xiayin Wang (born in Shanghai). Jenny Lin’s recording of the Shostakovich Preludes was voted Best of 2009 by the Washington Post. Quynh Nguyen won top prize at the International Piano Concerto Competition and now teaches at Hunter College in New York. Xiayin Wang, who has appeared at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, was called “a paragon of virtuosity” by the Washington Post.

Asia on Piano

Enjoy virtuosic arrangements of feisty folk songs from China and Vietnam, along with new music evoking calm landscapes of Asia. These selections are drawn from performances by pianists Xiayin Wang, Jenny Lin, and Quynh Nguyen, who appeared at the Freer Gallery of Art in 2010 and 2011.

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Enjoying the Flowers: Chinese Music & Drama

Enjoy this rarely heard tradition of Chinese music and drama called nanguan. Dating from the early seventeenth-century Ming dynasty, it has been revived by Chinese musicians and actors in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. It is performed here by vocalists and instrumentalists on Chinese fiddle, lute, gongs, flute, and percussion. The centerpiece of the performance is an excerpt from Enjoying the Flowers, a famous scene in the nanguan repertoire. In this episode, a lady’s maid conjures up imagery of bees, butterflies, birds, and flowers to convince her patron to express her frustrated love through romantic poetry. This performance was presented in cooperation with the Taipei Cultural Center and in conjunction with the Sackler exhibition East of Eden: Gardens in Asian Art. Recorded live in the Haupt Garden at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on April 22, 2007.

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Formosa Aboriginal Song and Dance Troupe

Experience the haunting choral melodies and evocative dances of the aboriginal Bunun and Ami tribes of Taiwan’s high central mountains and rugged east coast. The troupe appeared at Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Festival, prompting the New York Times to delare, “The city’s busy skyscape paled before the authority, simplicity, and radiant humanity of the company.” The surprisingly modern choral sounds of the Bunun shocked musicologists who first heard it 60 years ago, and Bunun musicians were featured on the recent CD with ECM recording artist, cellist David Darling. To preserve and share the island’s rich aboriginal culture, the ensemble draws its membership from Taiwan’s twelve native tribes. This concert was presented in cooperation with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office. Recorded live at the Freer Gallery October 9, 2005. (26:30).

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