Chinese zither players make world music and dance

Guzheng quartet, Western percussionist, Japanese stringed instrument player and contemporary dancer aim to bring the best out of each other through collaboration

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 July, 2015, 8:22pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 July, 2015, 8:22pm

The sounds of East and West will ring, vibrate and collide in the Music Room's latest offering, Musical Encounters.

The show will see HKPZE, a group of four traditionally trained guzheng (Chinese zither) players, collaborate with unlikely guest performers — percussionist Sascia Pellegrini, shakuhachi player Ocean Chan and interpretive dancer Sarah Xiao. The performers will make use of this diversity in several experimental formats.

According to Pellegrini, the first part of the performance will feature the combined efforts of all four musical mediums.

"We will mix a Chinese instrument, a Japanese instrument, Western percussion and contemporary dance together," he says. "We think that the combination of sounds is very unique and convincing, and the visual element offers another channel for interpretation."

The second part of the show will showcase the guzheng's more traditional role in classical Chinese music. Pellegrini, Chan and Xiao will separately accompany the HKPZE quartet, consisting of artists Chow Lai-kuen, Mok Wai Leung, Chin King and Iu Yan, to offer variations of several traditional pieces.

The pieces the artists have chosen reveal a breadth of cultural references, including Deep Night, a medley adaptation from a Peking opera; Mortal Kombat ryu hoshi, a Japanese comic theme song; and Ambush from All Sides, one of the most famous pipa pieces, composed around the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Pellegrini believes the arrangements will show the diversity of the guzheng's sound.

The team of collaborators has also played with the combination of East and West in other creative ways. For example, they have used classical scores and chords for Western instruments on the guzheng to create an experimental sound.

"These experiments add an interesting layer of East and West and offer a convincing way for us to work together," Pellegrini says.

Musical Encounters, July 5, 3pm, Sheung Wan Civic Centre Theatre, 5/F, 345 Queen's Road Central, HK$180-HK$380. Tel: 2111 3115