Traditional Chinese music comes to BYU

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Four professional Chinese musicians will grace the stage at BYU, bringing with them the sounds of traditional Chinese music. The four musicians are educators of Tianjin Conservatory of Music and make up the Sound of Silk Ensemble. Their production of “The Sound of Silk and Bamboo” is a part of the BRAVO! concert series here at BYU.

Members of the Sound of Silk Ensemble from Tianjin Conservatory of Music in China practice for their performance (Photo courtesy
Members of the ensemble from Tianjin Conservatory of Music in China practice for their performance. They will perform “The Sound of Silk and Bamboo” as part of BYU’s BRAVO! program. Pictured left to right: Li Fengyun, Wang Jianxin, Dong Qing, Liu Zunhai. (Wang Jianxin)

The ensemble members play many different types of instruments, but the majority of the instruments are strings, flutes and small percussion instruments.

The concert will feature traditional Chinese songs. The songs will be played on qin, xiao, pipa, di, erhu and sheng, which are all Chinese musical instruments.

The qin is a a plucked seven-string instrument; the xiao is a Chinese end-blown flute; the pipa is a pear-shaped wooden body instrument that is a four-string lute; the di is a Chinese transverse flute; the erhu is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument; and the sheng is a Chinese mouth-blown free reed instrument with vertical pipes.

“The four musicians are truly masters of their craft and are revered in the Chinese music community as such,” said Jeff Martin, producer and presenter of the BRAVO! series at BYU.

BYU is not a foreign place to half of the ensemble.

“Two of the members of the group, Wang Jianxin and Li Fengyun, have been to BYU on two previous occasions, in 2005 and 2009,” Martin said. “BYU’s relationship with them has been strengthened over the years as some of our faculty and student touring ensembles have visited them in Tianjin on multiple occasions.”

“The Sound of Silk and Bamboo” is one of the many BRAVO! series productions being featured this year. BRAVO! aims to educate and entertain students within the performing arts and community. It’s designed for students to experience the work of visiting professionals.

“I always have direct contact with all of the performers that come through the series,” Martin said. “I like to make sure that they have a good experience at BYU, and so I like to be personally involved as much as possible. We also have very unique standards in the eyes of the world, so I try to make them as comfortable as possible.”

Martin travels throughout the world for his job as producer of the series. He went to China and personally arranged for this group to come to BYU to share its talents with the student body.

“We are very happy to be able to welcome them back to BYU again this season,” Martin said. “I have also arranged for them to perform and work with students at Brigham Young University—Idaho, which they will do prior to their time in Provo.”

“The Sound of Silk and Bamboo” will feature this Friday, Oct. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Madsen Recital Hall. Tickets are available online or at the Harris Fine Arts Center ticket office.

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