Taiwanese Chamber Music Concert Illustrates Interdependence

Aug 25, 2011

          One of the intentions of Interdependence Day is to promote a better understanding of the connectedness of people of different cultures and communities and how these relationships affect one another. A performance by an internationally acclaimed ensemble that blends cultural styles through its music is an ideal fit for an Interdependence Day concert. 

          To commemorate Interdependence Day and the Asian Moon Festival Asian Studies in collaboration with Performance Music at The University of Scranton will present the Chai Found Music Workshop, one of the foremost Sizhu (Chinese chamber music) ensembles in the world from Taipei, Taiwan.

          The Chai Found Music Workshop will perform “A Music Journey to the East – Silk and Bamboo,” Sunday, Sept. 11, at 3 p.m. at the Houlihan-McLean Center at The University of Scranton. The performance is free of charge and open to the public.

          While preserving the tradition of traditional Chinese chamber music, the Chai Found Music Workshop has been innovative in its collaboration with many contemporary music ensembles from Europe, United States and Asia, creating experimental music that explores new sounds and melodies.

         The concert will touch on a variety of different music styles, ranging from traditional Sizhu music (Chinese chamber music) to more contemporary music to Romanian and Taiwanese folk songs. The artists will perform on traditional Chinese and Taiwanese instruments that include the guzheng, a 21-stringed instrument resembling a harp that is played horizontally while on a wooden stand; the ruan, a four-stringed “Chinese guitar;” and the erhu, a two-stringed instrument similar to the violin that uses a piece of python skin around the resonator to produce its unique sound.

          Ann Pang-White, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and director of Asian Studies Concentration at The University of Scranton, said the group’s combination of classic and modern music, as well as the Western and Eastern style, helps promote the theme of interdependence.

          “We want a bridge between different cultures, a respectful blending of East and West, that preserves both without one diminishing the other, ” said Dr. Pang-White, who noted Interdependence Day and the Asian Moon Festival fall on Monday, Sept. 12, this year. “This is not always an easy synthesis, but you have to work for it. That is what interdependence is and that is the goal we want to bring to the community. Chai Found symbolizes the spirit of interdependence and the joy of unity with the language of music that transcends cultural boundaries and barriers.”

          “I am also very grateful to Ms. Cheryl Boga, conductor and director of the Performance Music program at the University, as well as Ms. Sondra Myers, director of the Schemel Forum, for their enthusiastic and generous support for this joint collaboration with Taipei Cultural Center in New York, which is itself a good example of interdependence – without it the concert would not have been possible,” said Dr. Pang-White.

          The Chai Found Music Workshop will also offer a 90-minute educational program for area elementary, middle and high school students on Monday, Sept. 12, at 1 p.m. that includes a hands-on instrument demonstration. The educational workshop is free of charge, however seating is limited and reservations are required to attend. Call 941-4094 to make reservations.

          The Chai Found Music Workshop performance and educational program coincide with The Hope Horn Gallery’s presentation of “Taiwan Sublime: Four Photography Masters’ Visions of the Treasure Island” from Monday, Sept. 12 to Friday, Oct. 7.

          The Chai Found Music Workshop, an acclaimed traditional Taiwanese and Chinese music ensemble, was founded in 1991. Since then, the group has performed throughout Asia, Europe and North and South America and has been invited to several international festivals, including the Cologne Music Festival in Germany, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in England, Festival Dimension in South Korea and the 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympia in Canada.

          The concert is presented by Asian Studies and Performance Music at The University of Scranton. Other sponsors include the Schemel Forum, the Office of Equity and Diversity, the Taipei Cultural Center of Taipei Economics and Cultural Office in New York and the Taiwan Council of Cultural Affairs. 

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