Program: (subject to change)
(accompanied by Li Wang, Piano, Edward Arron, Cello, and Zhang Zhen-Tien, Chinese dulcimer)
1) V. Moonti/Arr, Xu Ke: Csardas 1989
For Erhu and Piano
2) Yanjun Hua: Reflection of the Moon on Waters,1950
For Erhu Solo
3) Tianhua Liu: Song of birds in a Desolate Mountain ,1928
For Erhu Solo
4) Zhou Wei: Ripe Grapes, 1983
For Erhu, Yangqin(Chinese dulcimer) and Dap(Uyghur percussion)
5) Shanxi traditional music/Arranged by Lu Rirong, Zhao Zhenxiao: 1975
Capriccio on a Theme from Shanxi Opera
For Erhu, Yangqin and Chinese percussion
6) Xu Ke: Enjoy the Countryside (1993)
For Bunhu, Yangqin and Chinese percussion
1) Yang Yong: River Songs, 2001
For Erhu and Cello (World Premire)
2) Wang Yanqiao: Erhu Suite (1,Wedding Dance 2, Morning of the Ashto), 2001
For Erhu, Cello and Piano (World Premire)
3) Jianmin Wang: Scenery of Tianshan, 1993
For Erhu, Cello and Piano
4) ChenYi: Romance And Dance, 1995/1999
For Erhu, Jinghu and Piano
Edited Bio of Xu Ke:
Hong Kong's HiFi Magazine praised him as "the Paganini in the world of Erhu", and the Richmond Times Dispatch exclaimed that he "sounds like another Heifetz." Mr. Xu Ke (last name Xu) was born in 1960 in Nanjing, China. He graduated with honors from the Department of National Music at the Central Conservatory of Beijing in 1982, where he studied under the Erhu master Mr. Yusong Lan. Mr. Xu was the principal Erhu player of the Chinese National Traditional Orchestra in 1983. In 1986, he toured the United States as a member of a good-will Chinese music delegation. His solo debut performance in 1987 with the China National Traditional Orchestra in Beijing Concert Hall caused a great sensation in China, prompting the media to dub him "a genius Erhu player." (Erhu is a two-stringed traditional fiddle of China.)
Mr. Xu has performed as a soloist with orchestras around the world, including six performances with the Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra at the Tokyo Suntory Hall under Yuzo Toyama, 14 concerts with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space Concert Hall, and additional appearances with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra at the Tokyo Bunkamura Orchard Hall, the New Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra of New Zealand, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Philharmonic Orchestra of China. He has also played recitals in Finland, Canada, Estonia, and the United States.
The superb technique, deep understanding and exciting interpretation of the Erhu repertoire has earned Xu Ke an international following. Mr. Xu is an outstanding composer as well as an ardent Erhu reformer. Xu Ke has expanded the Erhu's range from two to more than four octaves. He has also developed techniques such as double stopping, artificial harmonics in high position and granulated prestissimo staccato. Because of his contributions, the Erhu's repertoire has been enriched and diversified. He has made many presentations and workshops in universities such as Tokyo Arts University, Central University of Japan, Tokyo Women's University, Sibelius Music Akatemia, Old Dominion University, University of New Mexico, Duke University, University of Missouri, and Kansas City Conservatory of Music. He was a special research artist at the Social Studies Department of the Waseda University of Japan.
Invited by Mr. Yo-Yo Ma, Mr. Xu participated in the Silk Road Project in July 2000 at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. In addition, he had debut performances "FiddleSuite", composed by Chen Yi, in Konzerthaus, Berlin and Herkulessaal, Munich and other major concert halls in Germany with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra in October 2000. The concert tour was a great success and received critical acclaim. The Germany National Radio Station interviewed him and broadcasted his performance.
Xu Ke is the first Erhu master in the world to record under the RCA label. His discography includes " Elegy: Xu Ke Erhu Recital," "Wind and Rhythm: Xu Ke Erhu Concerto," "Zigeunerweisen - Erhu Classical Favourites by Xu Ke," "Lullaby," "Liebesfreud," "My Way," "Song of the Birds," "Sweetie," "A String of Melodies by Xu Ke Erhu," and "The Butterfly Lovers Concerto." The last one received a platinum disc award from the Hong Kong recording industry in 1992. Currently, Xu Ku is a resident artist with the BMG Japan (RCA label) Inc.
Most recently, Xu Ku joined Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble to perform at the Hong Kong Arts Festival in March 2001. He was also the artistic director of the "Silk Road Music" concert in the 17th Tokyo Summer Festival in Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall in July 2001. The first CD on the Silk Road Project with Yo-Yo Ma, Xu Ke and the ensemble has just been released on the Sony Classical label.
China Youth's Daily (Jan. 3, 1988)
"Absorbing the special features of the techniques of the violin, and merging the Chinese with western, he has mostly deftly and exquisitely expressed the rich and profound inner soul of the Chinese music.
"The success of Xu Ke's recital has laid the foundation of the utmost realization of the ideal of great Erhu master, Tianhua Liu, who believed that Chinese national music should keep pace with music of the world."
Japan's Asahi Daily (Jan 5, 1990)
"Xu Ke is the best among Chinese Erhu players His exquisite and vivacious performances have given his audiences the sheer enjoyment of the beauty of music."
Ming Bao Monthly, Hong Kong (Aug 8, 1992)
" The hero who succeeded for the first time in playing the double concord on the Erhu."
HIFI Magazine, Hong Kong (July 3, 1992)
"Xu Ke is the Paganini in the world of Erhu, and his perfect command of the techniques is probably unprecedented."
Richmond Times Dispatch (May 13, 1996)
"He sounds like another Heifetz. He plays the Erhu, the two-stringed traditional fiddle of China, with the speed, flexibility, dynamism and room-filling tone of a Western string virtuoso, and his arrangements of Chinese and Western violin music could usher the Erhu into the mainstream. If this plangent, wiry sounding instrument (an English horn of strings) finds a home in the concert world, Xu Ke will have been its missionary, as Segovia was for classical guitar and Landoswska was for the harpsichord."
Der Tagesspiegel, German (Oct. 31, 2000)
"An excellent concert in the Berlin Concert House. An especially beautiful insight into the characteristic of the Erhu- a Chinese stringed instrument - in a concerto by the 1953 born Chen Yi, performed by the internationally renowned Chinese Erhu player Xu Ke, the 'Erhu Paganini of the Far East,' with passion and unparalleled artistry."
Die Welt, German (Nov. 1, 2000)
"Erhu, a two stringed instrument, on which Xu Ke delivers an astonishingly masterly performance."
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