Beyond the Senses –
Atmospheric Music Theatre
by Law Wing-fai
Taking you beyond the sensory to the subliminal world of Oriental Aesthetics through poetry, music and visuals.
15 July 2017 (Sat); 7:30pm
£35 and £18
Prologue: Strolling in the Garden
Section 1: Autumn Palette
The Shimmering Swirly Leaves Xiao/Sheng/Ruan Ensemble
A Night of Oblivion Singing & Dizi
Section 2: Water Zen
A Pond of Scattered Duckweeds Soprano & Clarinet
Diary of a Frog Clarinet/Japanese Shō/Yangqin
Air Eleganza Xiao/Japanese Shō/Yangqin/Guzheng/Movements
Section 3: Listening to the Incense
Tranquil as a Chrysanthemum Pipa Solo
The Whispering Plum Blossoms Singing & Dizi
An Empty Mountain Recitation/Pipa/Singing Bowls
In Beyond the Senses – Atmospheric Music Theatre by Law Wing-fai, leading Hong Kong composer LAW Wing-fai adapts contemporary theatre as a means of expression to cultivate a mood for reflection within an Oriental aesthetic. Revolving around the natural timbres of Chinese musical instruments, he combines poetry, songs and music with various visual elements.
Set against a serene garden, the main character Ru Yu wanders around a serene garden, and starts to recite and sing about her surroundings. Eventually realising that what she sees and hears are both illusory and unreal, she slowly achieves enlightenment and transcendence. Amidst the pipa’s light strumming, the work enters into a realm of meditation and contemplation.
Beyond the Senses stars renowned Kunju artist KONG Aiping, who was awarded the UNESCO and China’s Ministry of Culture Award for the Excellence in the Promotion of Kunqu Opera. Rooted in Chinese opera, here KONG breaks new ground in her interpretation of classical Chinese poetry.
LAW Wing-fai Artistic Director/Composer
LAW Wing-fai is a leading composer in Hong Kong, and one of the few to have crossed over the boundary between commercial music and the arts. Currently Artistic Director of Wuji Ensemble, LAW graduated from the University of California with a Master’s degree in Music (Composition and Electronic Music). He worked closely with Hong Kong’s New Wave directors in films during the 1980’s, having scored for more than 20 films including the award-winning Boat People, Dream Lovers and A Simple Life. He was the founding Head of Composition of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, a position which he subsequently held for many years. During the 1990’s, he was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University where he gave lectures and wrote music. On returning to Hong Kong, he found a new angle in music composition, which resulted in many important works using Chinese-Western mixed instrumentation.
With a diverse oeuvre spanning serious and commercial music, LAW has written for pop music, commercial, drama, opera and in particular, for over a dozen dance dramas. His long list of accolades include the Irino Memorial Award presented at the Asian Composers’ League, the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Original Score, “Composer of the Year” by the Hong Kong Artists’ Guild, and being selected as one of the “Twentieth Century Masterpieces by Chinese Composers” by the Chinese Culture Promotion Society in Beijing. LAW’s score for the drama production The Peach Blossom Fan was awarded “Best Original Music” by the Hong Kong Federation of Drama Societies. He was also a five-time winner of the CASH Golden Sail Music Award between 2001 and 2008, with his opera Dreaming Plum Blossoms Away, Flowing Fancies for pipa and Western orchestra, Feng Liu for Chinese plucked strings, A Thousand Sweeps for pipa and Chinese orchestra, and Flowing Phantasm for Chinese orchestra. In June 2013, LAW was awarded the Xinyi Cup granted by the Chinese Nationalities Orchestra Society in Beijing for his pipa concerto A Thousand Sweeps. In 2014, his atmospheric music theatre When Petals Fall in Serenity was premiered to raving reviews, and was testimonial to his creative achievements.
WONG Chi-ching Music Director/Pipa
WONG Chi-ching entered the China Broadcast Chinese Orchestra in 1976 and was the Section Leader of Plucked-strings and Pipa Principal of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (HKCO) from 1987-2013. Now an active soloist in the Greater China region, she founded Wuji Ensemble and Wuxin Ensemble in 2003, and is currently Music Director of Wuji Ensemble.
WONG has performed as pipa soloist and with various renowned international orchestras on different occasions. In 2009, WONG recorded the CD The Impression of Wuji Ensemble with Hugo Records. In 2011, the HKCO presented WONG in the solo concert Flowing Fancies, featuring dialogues between the pipa and calligraphy. The same year, Hugo Records released two solo albums by WONG – Pipa Wuqu and Pipa Wenqu. Between 2012 and 2014, WONG led Wuji Ensemble in the widely acclaimed two-year project Images of Dunhuang, which consisted of a series of concerts and talks. 2013 saw WONG involved in a series of monthly concerts of music for the soul in Beijing, as well as performed in two solo recitals, When Petals Fall in Serenity, presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, to raving reviews. In 2014, as Music Director and pipa soloist, WONG participated in composer LAW Wing-fai’s atmospheric music theatre When Petals Fall in Serenity as part of the 25th anniversary celebration programmes of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. This production was later being invited for re-runs in Taipei as part of Taipei Hong Kong Week 2015 in September 2015. Most recently in April 2016, WONG was invited back as soloist to perform with HKCO in the concert Music Styles of Virtuosi North and South. She is also actively involved in Wuji Ensemble’s current three-year project of Atmospheric Music Theatre.
KONG AipingKunju Performer
A National Class One performer, KONG Aiping is currently the Kunju artistic advisor of Jiangsu Performing Arts Group. She graduated from Jiangsu Theatre Arts School in 1985, studying the role type of guimendan (young virtuous lady) with ZHANG Xian, ZHANG Xunpeng and ZHANG Jiqing. She furthered her studies at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts and graduated from the fourth class of the Advanced Professional Training Course in 2007.
KONG has gained numerous awards and honours, among them The 2nd Chinese Theatre Award – The Plum Blossom Award, The Orchid Award for Best Performance at the First Exchange for Chinese Young Kunqu Opera Performers, the Excellence in the Promotion of Kunqu Opera Award given by UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture, and the Pioneer Award of the National Cultural System. She has also performed with Hong Kong’s Zuni Icosahedron in its productions of 1587, A Year of No Significance and Stage Sisters. In addition, she has collaborated with Taiwan’s Lanting Kun Opera Troupe in its production of Quest for the Garden Saunter and the Interrupted Dream as the stylized movement advisor, and was nominated for Best Interpretation of Traditional Music in Taiwan.
KONG is included in the national list of intangible cultural heritage and a member of the Chinese Theatre Association. She was also the Special Ambassador to Nanjing’s bidding to host the Youth Olympic Games in 2014. As a distinguished Kunju artist, KONG is frequently invited overseas for lectures and performances, and has toured the USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Spain, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, among others.
Dizi performer and assistant professor ZHANG Fan is Vice Presidents of the Guangdong Dizi Society and the Guangdong Musicians’ Education Society, and is currently Vice-Principal of The Music School attached to Xinghai Conservatory of Music. ZHANG graduated from the Central Conservatory, studying under masters including DAI Ya, Professor ZENG Yongqing and renowned Chinese dizi pedagogue Master ZHAO Songting.
ZHANG has performed as soloist in many concerts with the Guangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra, Zhuhai Philharmonic Orchestra, Macau Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Wuji Ensemble, China Youth Nationality Orchestra, Guangdong Nationality Orchestra and Xinghai Conservatory Youth Nationality Orchestra, and toured extensively for cultural exchange performances. He recorded Di Yun and several other dizi CDs, in addition to recording a large volume of solo music for dizi, xiao, xun, wuba, pai xiao for TV, movies, and various recording companies. ZHANG is also a most respected teacher, with his many students winning awards in national Chinese musical instruments competitions. He has also written papers including Di music San Wu Qi and its relationship to Wuju, Summary of Research into the Renovation of Di and Historical Phases of the Renovation of Chinese Di.
Margaret YIM graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (APA), studying under Dr. Margreta Elkins and furthered her study at Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Australia under Professor Jane Delpratt. During her studies in Australia, she won prizes from the Bach’s Music Competition in Australia, Singing Contest for Asian Chinese in Taiwan as well as being the finalist of the San Francisco Opera Center Merola Program.
Since her graduation, Margaret has performed various roles in operas such as La Traviata, Turandot, Die Zauberflote, Cosi Fan Tutte, Hansel and Gretel, Rusalka, as well as the contemporary opera Dreaming Plum Blossoms Away. She performed the principal roles in Night Banquet and The Shopkeeper’s Daughter, both contemporary chamber operas presented by the Hong Kong Arts Festival. She is also frequently engaged in major roles in productions with Opera Hong Kong since its foundation year in various operas, and served a double role as Musetta as well as Assistant Director under the renowned Italian director Maurizio di Mattia in the production of La Bohème. She was invited to perform in Puccini’s Il Trittico in the Macau Arts Festival 2008, in Musica Viva’s production of The Legend of Zhang Baozai in Shanghai EXPO and Hong Kong in 2010, as well as in the musical production of The Good Person of Szechuan by Actors’ Family in 2011. Her recent performances as soloist include performances with the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge Concert, concert series by Bel Canto Singers, and concert series set to poems by the literary giant YU Kwang Chung. She has performed the principal roles in the recent atmospheric music theatre When Petals Fall in Serenity by renowned composer LAW Wing-fai. This same production toured Taipei this year as part of the Taipei Hong Kong Week presented by the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei, featuring Margaret as the only female vocalist. She was also the Assistant Director in Opera Hong Kong’s production of Otello in October 2016, and sang in the children’s opera Pinocchio with Yip’s Children’s Choir in April 2017.
Margaret is currently a vocal tutor of the APA, Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong as well as the Education University of Hong Kong.
LOO Sze-wang Sheng/Japanese Shō
TSANG Man-tungSinging Bowls/Set & Costumer Designer
Leo CHEUNGLighting Designer
CHAN Pui-chingSound Engineer
“Wuji” in Chinese means “boundless”, “endless” and “continuously evolving”. Founded in Hong Kong in 2003 with subsequent sub-ensembles extended to Taiwan, Beijing and Shanghai, the Ensemble is dedicated to exploring the realm of Chinese music to reflect the quintessence of oriental aesthetics. Wuji Ensemble’s repertoire is vast, encompassing traditional repertoire as well as commissioned works and new arrangements of both Chinese and Western music. In 2012, through its project of Images of Dunhuang, Wuji became one of the first grantees of the Springboard Grant under the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme, which provided the Ensemble the financial means to take its artistic goals a step further. In 2015, Wuji was confirmed to be a second-round grantee of the Springboard Grant for the next three years, allowing Wuji to continue with its latest exploration in "Atmospheric Theatre", complementing music with theatrical elements for a multimedia atmospheric experience.