Orchid Ensemble creates East meets Middle East featuring Jewish and Chinese music!

Orchid Ensemble is one of Vancouver's bravest culturally exploring musical ensembles.
Jewish and Chinese musical influences combine for Oct 3 show at Vancouver Community College

Here is the latest from my friend Lan Tung and Orchid Ensemble:

2009 Orchid Ensemble Concert
East meets Middle East in the Orchid Ensemble’s New Show
The Orchid Ensemble & Vancouver Community College present
Ten Thousand Miles to Kai-Feng

A musical exploration of the cultural exchange between the Jews and the Chinese

featuring Mike Braverman (clarinet & saxophone) of Olam, Boris Sichon (percussion), and The Madrigal Singers
October 3rd, 8pm, at the Vancouver Community College auditorium
VCC Broadway and King Edward Campus
Tickets $15 / $12 / $10 for VCC students with ID
Available at www.ticketweb.ca /
When it comes to Chinese Western musical fusions, Vancouver is the
undisputed leader.  Artists from these parts have at varying times
merged Chinese folk and classical music with Celtic, Brazilian, Spanish
and Aboriginal music to name a few, not to mention North American folk,
jazz, blues and classical sounds.

Now Vancouver’s Orchid
Ensemble, already one of the pioneering acts of the cross-cultural
fusion scene, is preparing a concert that will showcase its members’
most personal repertoire yet: a concert that pays tribute to the
centuries-old links between Chinese and Jewish culture.  It’s called
Ten Thousand Miles to Kai-Feng.

The project began about 11 years
ago as a labour of love for the ensemble’s founders, the husband and
wife duo of Lan Tung and Jonathan Bernard.  Tung was an award-winning
erhu player in Taiwan before settling in Canada with her family at age
20.  Bernard is a Canadian percussionist of Jewish ancestry who is a
regular with the Vancouver Symphony.

they discovered together is fascinating: tangible evidence of a Jewish
presence in China can be dated to the seventh century when Sephardic
Jews arrived from Persia along the several Silk Roads, settling in
China’s capital city, Xi'an. By the Northern Sung dynasty (960-1127
CE), a thriving Jewish community had been established in the new
capital Kaifeng, and it remained active for the next 1200 years. More
recently Russian Jews settled in Harbin and Ashkenazi Jewish refugees
settled in Shanghai.  There is also a long-ago-established Jewish
community in Hong Kong.

What has not survived, however, is any sense of what the music
made by the Jewish settlers and their Chinese neighbours might have
sounded like, or to what extent their respective musical traditions
were merged.  Thus, Tung and Bernard used their imaginations to create
the music that might have been – compositions that find common ground
between Jewish and Chinese styles.  They also turned to Moshe Denberg,
the composer behind B.C.’s well-known Jewish music ensemble, Tzimmes.
The resulting concert promises a fascinating array of
work.  Among the pieces to be performed is a Denberg composition called
“El Ginat Egoz,” which will feature the VCC Madrigal Singers, and a
unique arrangement of a traditional Chinese piece called “Hundred Birds
Honouring the Pheonix,” which has been transformed for soprano sax by
Mike Braverman, the lightening-fast reed player behind Olam. The show
will also mark the world premier of “El Adon,” a Denberg composition
based on a sacred Jewish melody, and “Ba Ban Variations,” a new
composition by Tung. In addition, there will be some Jewish-influenced
pieces from the group’s 2005 Juno-nominated CD The Road to Kashgar,
which explored Chinese interaction with cultures all along the Silk

Lan Tung

Orchid Ensemble
Chinese Music and Beyond…

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