April 29, 2012 “An Ancient China Interlude”

Dr. Xiaochuan Pan — Born into a musical family, Xiaochuan Pan learned to play Guzheng from his mother and Erhu from his father. In his native China he performed in various music groups and was the winner of many prizes at both the provincial and national levels. He became a professional music teacher and performer during the last two years before he emigrated to Canada in 1999. Having trained in China as a healer, currently Dr. Pan is one of the best-known and most respected practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine on Vancouver Island. He is also a prominent teacher at the Canadian Institute of Postgraduate Studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine. He continues to direct the Dalian Institute of Integrating Traditional and Modern Medicine, which he founded in 1990. At the same time, he maintains an active “second career” as both a concert performer and highly sought-after music instructor, using traditional Chinese musical instruments, in Victoria.

Guzheng — The guzheng, or zheng (gu means “ancient”), is a Chinese plucked zither and was the ancestor of the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum. The modern-day guzheng is a plucked half-tube zither with movable bridges and from 15 to 25 strings. The strings were formerly made of twisted silk, but at the turn of the 20th century most players used metal strings. Currently most performers use steel strings flat-wound with nylon. There are many techniques used in the playing of the guzheng, including basic plucking actions (right or both hands) at the right portion and pressing actions at the left portion (by the left hand to produce pitch ornamentations and vibrato) as well as tremolo (right hand). Plucking is done mainly by the right hand with four plectra (picks) attached to the fingers. Ornamentation includes a tremolo involving the right thumb and index finger rapidly and repeatedly plucking the same note. Another commonly used ornamentation is a wide vibrato, achieved by repeatedly pressing with the left hand on the left side of the bridge.

Erhu — The erhu, also called the “Chinese violin” or “Chinese two-string fiddle,” is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument, used as both a solo instrument as well as in small ensembles and large orchestras. The erhu can be traced back more than a thousand years. The erhu consists of a long vertical stick-like neck, at the top of which are two large tuning pegs, and at the bottom is a small resonator body (sound box) which is covered with python skin. Two strings are attached from the pegs to the base. The erhu has some unusual features. First is that its characteristic sound is produced through the vibration of the python skin by bowing. Second, there is no fingerboard; the player stops the strings by pressing their fingertips onto the strings without the strings touching the neck. Third, the horse hair bow is never separated from the strings; it passes between them as opposed to over them. Lastly, although there are two strings, they are very close to each other and the player’s left hand in effect plays as if on one string. The strings are tuned a fifth apart. The usual playing range is about two and a half octaves

April 29, 2012 Concert Program

Z h e n g:

1. Nocturne of Fisherman Ancient melody
2. Lotus out of Water Ancient melody, Chaozhou
3. Song of Lake Dongting Folk Song, Hunan
4. Pagoda Wind Bells by Zhao, Deng Shan
5. Mountains and Running Water Ancient melody, Zhejiang
6. Mulberry Song Folk Song, Shaanxi

I n t e r m i s s i o n

E r h u:

1. Beautiful Eve by Liu, Tian Hua
2. Horse Racing by Huang, Hai Huai
3. Rivers folk song, Manchuria
4. Musette by Nate Sassoon
5. Moon Mirrored on the Pond by Hua, Yan Jun
6. Czardas by Vittorio, Monti
7. Galloping on the Grassland by Wang, Guo Tong

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