VICO: Classical Meets Intercultural

VICO with ORCHESTRA ARMONIA
Sunday October 16, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Ryerson United Church (2195 West 45th Ave., Vancouver)
Tickets ($25/$15) & information: www.vi-co.org

In the second event of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra’s “City Full of Sound” series, VICO musicians Yun Song (erhu), Charlie Lui (dizi), Yu-Chen Wang (zheng), Lan Tung (erhu) and Jonathan Bernard (percussion) will join acclaimed string ensemble Orchestra Armonia for an innovative evening of classical music with an intercultural slant. The programme will include pieces by Vancouver composers Mark Armanini, Jung Sen Tung, Dorothy Chang and Lan Tung.

“Vancouver’s 125th birthday is the perfect moment to celebrate our city’s multifaceted Asian heritage with a collaboration between the VICO and Orchestra Armonia,” says conductor John van Deursen. This joint concert is designed to build bridges: between ancient and modern sounds and styles…between the classical musical traditions of Europe and China… between two very different ensembles that share an affinity for Asian music and a propensity for taking artistic risks.

Erhu virtuoso Yun Song, a first place winner in China’s national erhu competition in 1983, will join the 13-member Orchestra Armonia for Night Bird Singing, a concerto for erhu and strings by Vancouver composer and VICO co-Artistic Director Mark Armanini.  Armanini has been working with Song to develop a new approach to the erhu, pushing at the boundaries of traditional styles and techniques and expanding the possibilities of the instrument.

The dizi (Chinese bamboo flute), played by Charlie Lui, will be the featured instrument in Spring Awakening at Mount Yangming by Vancouver-based Taiwanese composer Jung Sen Tung. Originally composed in the 1960s, the piece became famous when it was used as the theme of a popular daily TV show in Taiwan. Conductor John van Deursen was given special permission to orchestrate an accompaniment for string orchestra.

Lan Tung (erhu), Yu-Chen Wang (zheng) and Jonathan Bernard (percussion), well known in world music circles as Orchid Ensemble, will perform From a Dream by Dorothy Chang. Rounding out the programme are two works for string orchestra, Memories of HengChun by Bao Yuan Kai (China) and Fuga  by Fou Tong Huang (Taiwan). Finally, all five VICO musicians and Orchestra Armonia will join forces on Ba Ban Variations by Lan Tung, an original work written for improvising musicians. Inspired by Ba Ban or Eight Phrases, the root of hundreds of pieces in traditional Chinese repertoire, the piece explores the contrasts between tonalities and genres. It embodies the paradox of many opposite characters: chromatic and pentatonic passages, composed and improvised materials, contemporary and traditional forms…and as such, is a fitting showcase for the ground-breaking collaboration of Classical Meets Intercultural.