Hunan musicians serenade Washington

Updated:2018-06-06 10:03:27

Erhu virtuoso Zhang Yinyue (front) from Hunan Art Ensemble of China performs with Washington Youth Chamber Ensemble at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performnig Arts in Washington on Saturday. Zhao Huanxin / China Daily

  The applause went on and on for a performance by the Hunan Art Ensemble of China at the Kennedy Center in Washington on Saturday.

  Eleven Chinese performing artists, lead by erhu virtuoso Zhang Yinyue, came all the way from Hunan province to play 12 Chinese pieces on the erhu and pipa, the guzheng and di, the xiao and zhongruan and other Chinese folk musical instruments to a full, enthusiastic house.

  The playlist was carefully chosen. The artists chose pieces that conveyed the great Chinese musical and cultural traditions.

  "We wanted to pick pieces that express the Chinese ancient poems, traditional culture and emotions, and to express them by using the folk instruments," Zhang said.

  For the pipa, the team chose Shi Mian Mai Fu, a famous work based on a key battle in the epic war between the Chu and Han of 202 BC.

  For the erhu, they performed Er Quan Ying Yue, a distinctive classic from Chinese musical literature.

  "By incorporating more diverse and wide-ranging musical pieces, we aim to present our audience with a better listening experience," said Li Yun, the pipa performer.

  "Chinese music is very beautiful," said Liam Noronha, the zhongruan player. "It's very different from traditional Western music. There are many beautiful Chinese melodies, which I really appreciate."

  "We wanted to spread the Chinese music culture to the American audiences," erhu master Zhang said.

  "Music is a wonderful bridge that can promote more and wider communication between different nations," Zhang added.

  Andrew Rylyk, a retired US International Trade Commission employee, said he enjoyed the concert, especially Zhang Yinyue's erhu performance.

  "This was wonderful, you know the variation and instruments are very unusual," he said.

  "It resonates and in it there is so much fluctuation, and tones and things of that nature and it was very moving, so I found it very interesting and I enjoyed it very much," he said.

  Rylyik said that as a folk music fan, he had gone to a lot of different folk festivals to watch different cultures present their music, adding that the concert given by Chinese artists had helped enhance his understanding of Chinese music.

  "[The audience] listened quietly, applauded frequently and stayed long after the performance," Zhang said. "I have the feeling that they understood our music."

  Guo Fengqing in Washington contributed to this story.