January 1, 2009

Zhou Yi

Zhou Yi (pipa): [Uri Caine: Dark Flame track #10]

See also: Zhang Baoli

"Zhou Yi (Chinese: 周懿; pinyin: Zhōu Yì) is a Chinese pipa player.
Zhou is from Shanghai. As a child prodigy, Zhou began studying music at the age of five and gave her first public recital at six. She trained for four years on the pipa before enrolling in the elementary school of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, one of China's premier music schools. Two pipa students, out of thousands, were selected for the position in the school. At the age of eight, she won the first prize of the Shanghai Spring Music Festival. At twelve years old, she claimed the Outstanding Performance Award of the Art Cup international Chinese traditional instruments contest. At the age of sixteen, her music was recorded and published by New Era Sound & Video Company of Guangzhou and Nanjing Video Publishing House of China. These recordings are used for future generations of music students to study as ideal renditions of these pieces. [...]
Her playing has been praised for its meticulous technique and expressiveness. She has been singled out as a young performer of notable musical talent. The Boston Globe wrote: '...She has an impressive command of the instrument and of a broad range of its classical, folk, and modern musical literatures...' and The New York Concert Review said: '...Her subtle string work made an artistic effect...'" (From Wikipedia)

"UC: There's the Song of the Earth [Lied von der Erde], which was the big song cycle which he [Gustav Mahler] wrote at the end of his life based on Chinese poetry—which is interesting because a lot of Mahler's chinoiserie, based on that idea that he was going to capture Chinese music, ends up sounding very much like another type of folk music. So I just thought it would be interesting to take the songs that had the most, I guess, stereotypical Chinese sound, the pentatonic scale, etc., etc., and actually have Chinese musicians play that music as if it were folk music.

AAJ: Like on The Lonely One in Autumn.

UC: Right. And it was very interesting to work with musicians who didn't necessarily know who Mahler was, but who, by the end of the session when we listened back, said it sounded like Chinese folk music. Then, when I played them the original Mahler, they were shocked. That's something that happens a lot to the musicians that play in my group. I mean, some of them know Mahler very well, but some of them don't — and I think if you present it as a certain form and let the improvisations give it a life of its own, and then when they go back to the original Mahler, they see what transformations have taken place." (Uri Caine interview from All About Jazz)

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