Gillian Carcas was born in England, Gillian and began composing as a child. As well as pursuing her career in composition, which has involved various commissions and many performances by ensembles in the UK and overseas, Gillian has taught music and composition in institutions which include Southampton University and the Royal College of Music Junior Department. Her output includes over 50 pieces which cover a variety of genres, including vocal pieces, works for many different chamber ensembles, orchestral pieces, a chamber opera and electro-acoustic music.
Stephen Dydo is a composer and classical guitarist with an international reputation. His interest in Chinese music goes back to the 1970's, when he studied with Chou Wen-chung at Columbia University. Among the organizations performing his works are the New Calliope Singers, Group for Contemporary Music, Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, Composers' Conference, Composers Ensemble, Lenox Arts Center, League of Composers-ISCM, Stichting Combinatie van Utrechtse Muziekbelangen, etc. He now teaches at the Crestwood Music Center in Westchester.
Gyewon Byeon is currently one of the most actively performed woman composers in South Korea. She has composed a number of works for Korean traditional instruments. Several her pieces were commissioned by very important institutions and orchestras such as KBS, Kyunggi and Chonbuk Korean Traditional Music Orchestras, the Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts, the Department of Korean Music at Seoul National University etc. She is currently a research fellow at Seoul National University of Education and is teaching at several universities such as Seoul National University, Hanyang University and KAIST.
Xu Yi is an outstanding Chinese composer based in Paris. She has written over 30 compositions ranging from Chinese, Western and cross-cultural to electronic, multimedia, TV, film and theatre. The French State, Radio France and numerous festivals, ensembles etc. have commissioned works from her. About 30 of her compositions have been played on the radio and at various festivals in China, Japan, Europe, the USA and Canada. Several concerts devoted to her music have been held in France and Italy. Her composition prizes include the Best Chinese Recording Award for her trio Vallée Vide (1984) and First Prize in Composition, Paris Conservatoire, for her work Huntun. In 2001 Xu Yi was appointed professor of composition at the Cergy-Pontoise National Conservatoire.
Cheng Yu (pipa), Jan Hendrickse (flutes), Stephen Dydo (guitar), Tim Garside (percussion), John Slack (clarinet), Michael Allen (percussion), Mara Miribung (cello) and Laura Metcalfe (viola).
Wednesday, 16 February 2005, 6 - 7pm, Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS.
Wednesday, 16th February 2005, 7.30pm
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London.
Friday, 25th February 2005, 12.30pm.
Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.
The concerts were supported by SOAS and Asian Music Circuit.
Following her successful London World Première on the 5-stringed pipa and its new music, Cheng Yu was invited to work with the Taiwan National Chinese Orchestra on new compositions for the newly created instrument. She performed at the The National Theatre in Taipei, and gave talks and lectures on the 5-stringed instrument at universities in Taiwan.
Here are some videos from this performance:
Wang Zhaojun - 王昭君
Dance of the Yao People - 彜族舞曲
Cheng Yu's project to bring back to life the lost Tang Dynasty (8th century) 5-stringed pipa won 3 major British awards:
She was awarded a Commission Fund by Women in Music in November 2002. This enabled her to travel to China and Korea to reconstruct the instrument and work on a modern design, and to collaborate with three young and talented women composers. Following this, she was offered another grant for the project by the Arts Council of England. This grant was announced at the end of May 2003 and was for performances and a CD recording for her 5-string pipa project. She was awarded a further grant in July 2004 by the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) to enable her to carry out all aspects of the project: research, construction, further performances and a CD recording.
Many people and organisations have been involved in this project. Thanks are due in particular to Dr Keith Howard, Women in Music, the Arts and Humanities Research Board, the Arts Council of England, SOAS and the AHRB Centre for Cross-Cultural Music and Dance Performance, Asian Music Circuit, Cheng Yu's father Cheng Junming, the pipa maker Mr Tang Zhiping, Professor Li Xiangting, pipa master Lin Shicheng and many others in China who gave valuable feedback and suggestions on the construction of the 5-string pipa. Grateful thanks are also due to all the composers and musicians for their efforts and hard work, and Jan Hendrickse in particular who voluntarily took up the challenge of taking up three different flutes and arranging the musicians and the concert at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
After the concerts, Bournemouth Internet Radio Station (BIRST) recorded a programme about the 5-string pipa project. It is available at http://www.birst.co.uk/music/ChengYu/index.htm.
Cheng Yu sincerely hopes the 5-string pipa will not sink back into obscurity. However, the development of a new instrument needs encouragement and support from players, composers, academics, promoters, and society as a whole. Respected Chinese musicologist Huang Xiangping once remarked that culture should be a locomotive of history and not merely be consigned to a museum. If you would like to get to know the 5-string pipa, learn to play it, compose a new piece for it, or promote the instrument and its music, please do not hesitate to contact Cheng Yu.