Where East Meets West: Contemporary Chinese Piano Music

The Shepherd University Department of Music presents Where East Meets West: Contemporary Chinese Piano Music for the Concert Stage and Studio featuring pianist Dr. Scott Beard, on Wednesday, September 3 at 7:00 p.m. in the Frank Arts Center M21 Rehearsal Hall. This interactive lecture-recital, sponsored by the Faculty Research Forum and the Department of Music, is free and open to the public. It will feature concert and pedagogical works where Chinese composers have skillfully blended the interesting timbres, improvisatory elements and tunings of Chinese folk music with the more traditional aspects of Western concert music.

Works that will be performed in their entirety or in excerpts include Thunder Drum by Li-Ly Chang, Island Watch by Li-Ly Chang, Silver Clouds Chasing The Moon by Wang Jian Zhong, Eight Memories in Watercolor by Tan Dun, Dew-Fall-Drops by Tan Dun, Guessing by Chen Yi, Ba Ban by Chen Yi, Sin Kiang Dance by Kuo Chih Hung. Dr. Scott Beard, Associate Professor of Music at Shepherd University, is a nationally recognized, pianist, teacher and author. His concerts have been praised for their poetry, passion and innovative programming.

During the past three decades, the West has increasingly discovered the enormous variety of music that permeates Chinese culture. While we are aware of the highly talented pool of piano performers from China, composers of Chinese art music who have incorporated Western musical idioms in their piano works have remained largely unknown. China’s first contact with Western keyboard music dates back to 1601, with a performance on a spinet by a visiting Jesuit priest; however, it was not until the twentieth century that exiled Russian and Jewish musicians began to actually teach Western music to the Chinese. By the 1940s, the piano became a highly prized possession of the upper class. It was during this time that Chinese composers began to incorporate Western musical language in their pedagogical and concert piano works. Today, thanks to performers such as Lang Lang, the beauty of this important body of repertoire has reached a global audience.