Saturday, September 14, 2019

Mid Autumn Qin playing and talk at BU

Thursday September 12, 2019 from 2:50 to 4 pm, I gave an introduction of the guqin to Prof. James Burns' Music 112 class at Binghamton University.

Prof. Burns decided to make it as a yaji (elegant gathering). He bought Chinese black tea to share with his students through the class.

The calligraphy teacher Xiuwen and calligraphy classmate Andy came to listen to my presentation as well. I was very happy to see them.

It was the day before Chinese full moon festival, so I decided to play "Song Of A Pleasant Night"  to start my presentation.

Outline of my presentation.

I played and sang the Wenjun Cao 文君操 (Melody of Wenjun)  while introducing qin song.

total 30 slides 
At the end of my presentation I performed the Shi Shang Liu Quan 石上流泉 (Spring Water Over Pebbles).

The last 25 minutes was Q & A and some of the students shared their poetry reading and music presentation such as one student used the mouth to make the sound of different percussion instruments (beatbox) like it is from an electronic keyboard, very impressive.

The questions students asked included:

Is this instrument difficult to learn?

How old were you when you started learning this instrument?

Does it play chords?

If the harmonic dots are a mirror image, why do you have to play same tone in different position?
and the student asked this question also commented that she thinks it creates a choreography style for the hand movement. 

Do people play modern music on the qin?

How do you carry the table and qin if going out?

Is the sliding difficult for the fingers?

How about the tuning?

Andy commented that he heard a blue jazz guitar player the other day, and the guitar player said that playing vibrato, when you reached the note, you wait a second then do the vibrato and Andy sees that is happening on the qin playing too. 

I took two qins, one was silk string, the other one was nylon string. I performed on the silk string qin with an amplifier. At the beginning I was trying not to use the amplifier. Although it can be heard, the audience has to concentrate without making any noise. After the first piece, I decided to use an amplifier for the rest of the playing. Many thanks to my husband's help on the slides and sound settings.

Picture courtesy to Xiuwen Li

In the last 5 minutes, prof. Burns asked me if I could play another piece on the nylon string qin? So I played the Yu Lou Chun Xiao 玉樓春曉 (Jade Mansion Spring Dawn) to finish the elegant gathering.

I was very happy to be with Prof. Burns and his students at this mid autumn day and to share my music with them.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Sep 7th 2019, NYQS Yaji

Saturday September 7th, 2019 from 1:00 - 6:30pm

Attendance list
Stephen D

Non members:
Bin Li
Stephen B

We discussed the possibility of organize the 20 years anniversary of NYQS and the way to have NYQS official website back.

Qin playing

Bin Li played his new composition on the qin, titled: America is hard to hear. This is a piece that only played with harmonics (to follow the philosophy of 大音希聲) and the tuning is the tighten 5th string but lower the 3rd string about 1/4 tone, in order to create more microtonal interval. Please see his notation below.

After Bin played this piece, everyone think it was a very nice piece , however no one can recognize that the melody was taken from Star Spangled Banner (the national anthem of the united state). Bin also rearranged the register and changed the rhythm. The result was quite interesting.

Peiyou played 採真游, 瀟湘水雲

John played 莊周夢蝶, 水龍吟

John showed his 2019 documentary film directed by Lao Shing Hon 劉成漢

The Scholar’s Studio- Guqin Recital at Sotheby's

Sotheby's Asia Week | Fall 2019
The Scholar’s Studio- Guqin Recital
with Peiyou Chang and John Thompson, New York Qin Society
Sunday, 8 September | 2 PM
Events are free and open to the public.
紐約琴社社員張培幼女士和唐世璋先生(John Thompson)

Very nice setting of the room on the 8th floor of Sotheby's on York Avenue between 71 and 72 street in Manhattan.
John bought his microphone and amplifier. But at the end he decided not to turn on the amplifier in order to present the authentic silk string sound of the guqin.

Photo courtesy to Bin Li
Photo courtesy to Bin Li

Photo courtesy to Marilyn Wong Gleysteen

Photo courtesy to Marilyn Wong Gleysteen


1. Jade Mansion Spring Dawn  (玉樓春曉 Yu Lou Chun Xiao, 1931)   
2. Water Dragon Intonation (水龍吟 Shui Long Yin, 1589)  
3. Mist over the Xiao and Xiang Rivers  (瀟湘水雲 Xiao Xiang Shui Yun, 1722)  
4. Cry of the Ospreys (關雎 Guan Ju, 1491) 
5. Wild Geese Flock to Sandy Shores (平沙落雁  Ping Sha Luo Yan, 1961) 
6. Zhuangzi's Butterfly Dream (莊周夢蝶 Zhuangzhou Meng Die, 1425)  
7. Seeking the Truth (採真游 Cai Zhen You, 1549)  
8. Song of the Fisherman (漁歌 Yu Ge, 1525)
9. Spring Water Over Pebbles (石上流泉 Shi Shang Liu Quan, 1864) 

The odd numbered pieces are played by Peiyou; the even numbered are played by John.

Program notes

Very beautiful printed catalogs as gift from Sotheby's

A gift of hand picked and arranged flower bouquet from SmiLin Flowers

Thanks to Sotheby's Associate Cataloguer Louise Lui 雷可欣, who organized the recital and introduced the performers.