Detail, At Ease in the Countryside: Scholars and Fishermen. Yamamoto Baiitsu (1783–1856).

Much of the Japanese and Chinese music heard on this podcast evokes some aspect of nature: waves, birds, trees, sunrise, and the seasons. Japanese artists have sometimes depicted the koto (or a related instrument) being played by scholars contemplating the natural world, as in the screen above—an approach incorporated from Chinese tradition. Detail, At Ease in the Countryside: Scholars and Fishermen. Yamamoto Baiitsu (1783–1856). Japan, Edo period, 19th century. Six-panel screen; ink and light color on paper. Purchase, F1961.1

Music for the Soul:
From East Asia to the Middle East

Relax with gentle yet invigorating music performed by virtuoso artists from Japan, China, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and the United States. These diverse concerts were recorded live at the Freer and Sackler Galleries between 2008 and 2019.

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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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