Tradition in the Future
Vancouver Chinese Instrumental Music Society presents its first Online Symposium - Balancing the preservation and transference of traditional Chinese music with innovation in the 21st Century.
Saturday, August 1, 2020, 3 pm PDT
[Sunday, August 2, 2020, 6 am Beijing; 12 am Paris]
The Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble (VCME) will be hosting its first-ever online symposium, Tradition in the Future, on Saturday, August 1st, 2020, from 3pm to 5pm (Pacific Time), featuring presentations by international speakers and musical performances by the ensemble’s professional musicians.
Science and technology present both new possibilities and challenges for Chinese music. On one hand, social media and the Internet are breaking down the physical barriers between people, making even the rarest kinds of music accessible within a single click from one’s home. Modernization, social and cultural changes, nonetheless, are shaking up the niche of unique traditions and genres both in China and around the world at an unprecedented pace. At the crux of these phenomena is the question of how to adequately reconcile the preservation, transmission — and renewal — of traditional practices with the need for innovation.
The symposium will bring together specialists of ancient and traditional Chinese music from around the world to explore this complex topic.
The symposium brought together specialists of ancient and traditional Chinese music from around the world to explore this complex topic. The program featured bilingual presentations on the following:
13-stringed zither notations derived from the Tang dynasty (Prof. Steven Nelson, Japan)
Software-assisted deciphering of the 10th-century Dunhuang pipa notations (Dr. Weiping Wang and Vincent Boucheau, France);
Kunqu opera vocal techniques (Rui Chen, China);
Chinese music in 18th and 19th-century European and Japanese sources (Prof. François Picard, France);
The yin-yang nature of traditional Chinese music (Gordon Lee, U.S.)
Online Chinese music resources and possible future directions (David Badagnani, U.S.)
In particular, the symposium featured the world premiere performance of an instrumental piece, Tianzi Wannian 《天子萬年》, recently discovered and reconstructed by Professor Picard, in addition to the reporting of the earliest known version of the famous tune, Moli Hua 《茉莉花》 to-date, a discovery by Dr. Wang.
The symposium was intended for scholars, musicians and music lovers alike, and will be moderated by Composer-in-Residence, Alan Lau, with musical performances led by Artistic Director, Jirong Huang (erhu), along with Sarah Tan (guzheng), Zhongxi Wu (sheng/guanzi/suona), as well as special guest artists Kahoru Nakamura (gaku-biwa), Colin Cheng (dizi), Rob Hassing (hourglass drum) and Courtney Lambert (barrel drum). As David Badagnani, presenter and event co-organizer points out, through such a cross-cultural, multi-media, and multi-perspective approach to researching historical Chinese music as well as living traditions, it is hoped that the symposium “will breathe new life into the concert repertoire of current Chinese music ensembles, so that the scope of our programming will encompass more diversity than the typical, agreed-upon standard pieces that one expects to hear.”
Performances and Demonstrations
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Chinese Instrumental music symposium. It brought us a deep sense of joy and connection that only music and community brings.
2:30-3:00pm: Pre-event screening of VCME past performance videos
3:00-5:00pm: Tradition in the Future Symposium
After 5:00pm: Q&A session
1. Tradition in the Future: Introduction and Overview (Alan Lau 劉嘉麟, Canada)
2. Reading Notation for 13-Stringed Zither Deriving from Tang China: Tunings and Performance Techniques Relating to Pitch (Prof. Steven Nelson, Japan)
3. The Investigation and Software-Aided Deciphering of the Dunhuang Pipa Tablatures (Dr. Weiping Wang 王維平博士 and Vincent Boucheau, France)
4. The Essential Elements of Traditional Kunqu Singing and Recitation (Rui Chen 陳睿, China)
5. 18th and 19th-Century Chinese Music through European and Japanese Sources (Prof. François Picard, France)
6. What is the Yin-Yang Nature of Traditional Chinese Music? (G(Gordon Lee 謝坦, U.S.) 《甚麼是國樂的陰陽特性?》
7. The Thousand-Li View: Current Status and Possible Future Directions of Chinese Music in the West (David Badagnani, U.S.)
With musical performances by:
Jirong Huang 黃繼榮 (VCME Artistic Director; erhu)
Sarah Tan 譚宇莎 (guzheng)
Zhongxi Wu 吳忠喜 (sheng/guanzi/suona)
Special Appearances by:
Kahoru Nakamura 中村 かほる (gaku-biwa)
Colin Cheng 程舒嘯 (dizi)
Rob Hassing (hourglass drum)
Courtney Lambert (barrel drum)