Workshop Teaches Students About Taiwanese and Chinese Music, Culture

09-01-11
            The Asian Studies Concentration at The University of Scranton will host area elementary, middle and high school students for an interactive educational performance by the Chai Found Music Workshop, an internationally acclaimed Chinese and Taiwanese chamber music ensemble from Taipei, Taiwan. The performance, which will include time for students to participate in hands-on demonstrations of traditional Chinese musical instruments, will take place on Monday, Sept. 12, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Rose Room of Brennan Hall. The event celebrates the Asian Moon Festival.

           
            Ann Pang-White, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and director of Asian Studies Concentration at The University of Scranton, said she hopes the workshop will give a different perspective on Eastern music culture.

            “I hope students who attend the workshop will get a feel of how eastern musical instruments are not only different from Western ones, but also share many interesting similarities in sounds and melodies,” Dr. Pang-White said. “I hope students will leave the workshop with a better appreciation of eastern music.”

            At the event, six instruments used by the ensemble will be introduced through brief solo demonstrations of each instrument. Instruments include the guzheng, a 21-stringed instrument resembling a harp that sounds like a “horse’s whinny,” the ruan, the 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.

            After the instruments are presented, the group will play “Full Moon and Blossoming Flowers,” which is a song that uses all of the instruments. Students will then have a chance to actually play the instruments in a hands-on learning experience. The event will conclude with a question and answer segment where prizes will be given out.

            The workshop coincides with a public performance by the ensemble at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, in the Houlihan-McLean Center and the University’s Hope Horn Gallery exhibit of “Taiwan Sublime: Four Photography Masters’ Visions of the Treasure Island” from Monday, Sept. 12 to Friday, Oct. 7.

           The Chai Found Music Workshop aims to preserve and further the tradition of Taiwanese music. Since forming in 1991, they have performed throughout Asia, Europe and North and South America and have 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 ensemble has also performed in France, Holland, Japan, Lithuania, the Philippines and United States. For more information about the group, visit www.cfmw.com.

           The event is sponsored by Asian Studies, Performance Music, 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. The workshop is free of charge, however seating is limited and reservations are required to attend. Call 941-4094 to make a reservation.

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