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June 3, 2009 > Music of Confucius

Music of Confucius

Submitted By Gigi Lam

The North American Guqin Association (NAGA) is proud to present "Music of Confucius - Chinese Cultural Heritage Guqin Concert" on Sunday, June 21 at 2 p.m.
The concert will be held at Milpitas Community Center (457 E Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas). Tickets cost $15 and are available by calling (408) 332-7938 or (650) 341-2732, or online at www.guqin.org/ticket.

The guqin, a seven-stringed zither, is China's oldest stringed instrument, with a documented history of about 3,000 years.

It became part of a tradition cultivated by Chinese scholars and literati and has been associated with philosophers, sages, and emperors since the time of Confucius.
Perhaps because of this illustrious history, following the rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949, the guqin came to be viewed as one of the "Four Evils" and was the only traditional Chinese musical instrument to be banned during the Cultural Revolution.

As a result, the practice of playing the guqin and the instrument itself became endangered. More recently the guqin has enjoyed a return to favor with the government and was featured in the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.
However, despite the resurgence of interest in the guqin, today few people can play it and the instrument is very rarely seen even in China.

Not all international institutions shared the Chinese government's past disdain for the guqin and in 2003 UNESCO declared the art of the guqin a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The concert will feature Wang Fei, an internationally known guqin performer, educator, and scholar. She will guide the audience on a special musical journey, introducing Chinese culture and bringing to life the sound of the sages.

She will perform guqin masterpieces from different dynasties. Of these, the oldest will be "The Solitary Orchid," of which the 1400-year-old score is the oldest written music in the world that is still played today. According to legend it was composed by Confucius himself.

Wang Fei is considered one of the most experienced guqin artists of her generation. She is the founder and director of the North American Guqin Association and a council member of the China Guqin committee.

She has given concert-level performances internationally and presentations on the guqin and related arts to both Chinese and Western audiences, in the US and overseas. She has won several awards in the field of Chinese music and lectured at many universities including Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSB, and UCSC. Her music has been included in an American K-12 textbook to represent Chinese music.

Wang Fei will be joined by famous artists Diana Weiping Ding, Xiaopei He Gelb and Cheryl Leonard.

They will create a stage performance demonstrating urban Chinese art, culture and lifestyles and develop interactive performances that integrate guqin music with a range of other art forms such as natural object music, narrative, singing, dance and poetry, and will explore cross-cultural and interdisciplinary artistic expression through their performances.

The concert will give the audience a multidimensional experience that will allow them to "listen, watch and feel" as a comprehensive new way to enjoy guqin music.

NAGA is a nonprofit cultural arts organization dedicated to the public presentation and preservation of the art of the guqin, spreading community appreciation of Chinese culture through the traditional art of the guqin and building a bridge for cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the Chinese and American communities.

With all the new and unexpected challenges we have to face in the modern world, people need music more than ever to alleviate stress and to provide a refuge of tranquility. NAGA will offer such an opportunity on June 21 to refresh our minds and appreciate guqin music at the Chinese Cultural Heritage Concert.

Please note that seating for this performance is on a first-come, first-served basis. This show is recommended for ages 10 and up. Please do not bring infants to the show. The wearing of traditional Chinese or Chinese-inspired clothing is welcome.

Please visit www.guqin.org for more information about the guqin and NAGA, and to listen to guqin music online.

Music of Confucius
Sunday, June 21
2 p.m.
Milpitas Community Center
457 E Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas
(408) 332-7938

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