2010-05-03 Dong Yi

My Journey throughout China
—DONG Yi in Banqueting House Zheng Recital

International Classical Chinese Zheng Performer DONG Yi is giving a public recital called My Journey throughout China between 7pm and 8:30pm, 24 May 2010 (Monday) in the Banqueting House (address: Banqueting House, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2ER). This is also the opening event of 2010 Glamour of Jasmine Chinese Arts Festival.

Concert Information

Programme: Fragrant Jasmine, Flowers, Dancing Bells, Melody of Han River, Late at Night, Princess Wencheng, Moonrise and Spring Dawn on Snowy Mountain.

Ticket:£25 (buffet included)

Box Office:+44-(0)20 3166 6153, valerie.jarvis@hrp.org.uk or www.concert-diary.info

As the most popular Chinese national instrument over the world, the zheng (also known as the gu-zheng and the Chinese zither) is one of the oldest Chinese string instruments with a history of at least 2,500 years. This concert takes us on a journey of the spirit throughout China and features representative works from various schools of traditional and contemporary Chinese zheng, such as the Schools of Zhejiang, Shaanxi, Shandong, Henan and pieces recomposed from Tibetan folk dances and songs as well as excerpt from Beijing opera Late at Night. This ‘expo of Chinese zheng music’ includes not only compositions that date back to some 1,400 years ago such as Moonrise but also recently premiered new works, say Fragrant Jasmine, zheng concerto Princess Wencheng and so on.

The concert venue Banqueting House was a part of the Whitehall Palace, which was the principal London residence of the British Sovereign from the days of Henry VIII in the first half of 16th Century to the year of 1698. The Big Fire in 1698 destroyed most of the Whitehall Palace. One of the only buildings to survive was the Banqueting House. After that, chequered history being used as a Chapel Royal for over 200 years and then becoming the Museum of he Royal United Services Institute. In 1962 the Museum was disbanded and the building was opened for the public to visit, and international-standard concerts of solo and duet performances and chamber music are held on irregular basis.

One of the historic treasures audience would admire is the original nine canvasses painted by Peter Paul Rubens upon the commission by Charles I during his visit to Britain as a Cultural Ambassador of Spain. As a part of the tradition of all concerts in Banqueting House, an English buffet will be held in the Undercorft after the 90-minutes performance. Therefore, the audience will enjoy a feast of western classical architecture, fine art, classical music on Chinese instrument and British food and drink.

The 27-year old performer of this concert, DONG Yi, is the most celebrated international soloist of any Chinese national musical instrument of her generation and the first Chinese national soloist to give public recitals in The Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the British Museum and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s London residence, Cadogan Hall. She has been the youngest ever member of Chinese Musicians’ Association since aged 21 and holds a directorship at the Academy of Chinese National Instruments and membership at UK Musicians’ Union, etc. She has been striving for friendly communications and creative collaborations between people from the east and the west and has been bridging the hearts and minds of Chinese and European audiences with her music since she came to the UK as an overseas student in 2001. Since the age of 13, she won many national and international prizes, to name but a few, the Audience’s Favourite Performer in the 2003 International Music Day Scotland,the Best Music Art Film Award and the only New Generation Award of the Committee in 21st Century Budapest International MTV Art Festival. Her acclaimed two 2003 symphonic zheng recitals are considered to be the first ever whole-concert illustration of the collaboration of zheng and a western-style symphony orchestra. The public performance record for The Great Hall of the People in Beijing was rewritten by her in 2007.

Fusing Chinese and western instruments and techniques, her symphonic recital there was the first ever recital on a Chinese national musical instrument and the first ever recital by a female instrumentalist in this most distinguished venue in China. DONG Yi has premiered several works for zheng and western instruments and has been highly recommended and guided by British music masters such as Isobel Mieras, Eddie McGuire, Jim Ferguson, Vasko Vasseliv and Pamela Nicholson, some of whom have worked with her regularly. Besides several special topic interviews by BBC World Service since 2002, her public activities in Europe include initiating the Charity Gala Concert for 2008 Sichuan Earthquakes with participants from all walks of overseas Chinese life and many western friends in Scotland and North Ireland, facilitating the establishment of the first Confucius Institute in Scotland with several suggestions for its cultural strategies, and recording the Chinese audio guide for the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh. Two Scottish First Ministers, Jack McConnell and Alex Salmond, listened to her solo performances. XIE Hang-sheng, the Chinese Ambassador in Denmark, personally hosted her joint-recital with a Danish percussionist in Copenhagen December 2009. GUO Gui-fang, former Consul General of China in Edinburgh praises DONG Yi as ‘a brilliant non-governmental cultural ambassador with outstanding talents, righteous personal quality and cheerful spirits’. She has been recently nominated and shortlisted as one of the 30 candidates for the Big Ben Award & UK Ten Outstanding Chinese Young Persons, a prestigious international prize for professionals of all walks of Chinese in Britain aged between 16 and 40.