East Meets West in the Skaneateles Festival’s Second Week
by Evan Lewis - Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
The schedule for week two includes a mixture of music played on traditional Chinese instruments and western masterworks inspired by eastern themes.

The Skaneateles Festival celebrates the second week of its 35th anniversary with a program of Eastern-inspired music beginning on Wednesday.

The schedule includes a mixture of music played on traditional Chinese instruments and Western masterworks inspired by Eastern themes.
Skaneateles Festival Artistic Director David Ying said this week’s selection of music demonstrates the borderless nature of modern classical music collaboration.

“The music world is so open right now. The boundaries don’t even exist anymore, and that is a wonderful thing for music,” Ying said. “You hear all these intersections of types of music and cultures, and we just want to reflect some of that because it’s an important facet of our present-day music world.”

The two main performing groups this week will be the Shanghai Quartet and Music from China. Both groups will be joined by guest performers throughout the weekend.

The Shanghai Quartet is an internationally touring string quartet that has performed throughout Europe and Asia. Members include Weigang Li on violin, Yi-Wen Jiang on violin, Honggang Li on viola and Nicholas Tzavaras on cello.

The Shanghai Quartet built its reputation playing primarily Western music, but it also respects its cultural identity. The group’s combination of Western classics and  Chinese music will help listeners appreciate more familiar works by composers like the French Impressionist Maurice Ravel in a new context, Ying said.

Music from China is the premiere group of traditional Chinese instrumentalists in the United States, according to Ying. Members of the group are virtuosos on instruments such as the erhu, a two-stringed fiddle-like instrument; the pipa, an instrument similar to the lute; the ruan, also known as the moon guitar; and the dizi, a Chinese bamboo flute.

Skaneateles Festival events begin for the week on Wednesday with the Shanghai Quartet’s FamilyFest. On Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, Music from China will perform in community events at Fayetteville Free Library and Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, in Auburn.

Thursday and Friday evening, the Shanghai Quartet will perform with guests. On Saturday, both the Shanghai Quartet and Music from China will take the stage at Brook Farm to close out the week.

The Shanghai Quartet. Photo from their Facebook Page.

The Shanghai Quartet.
Photo from their Facebook Page.

“It will be fun to have Music from China here alongside the Shanghai Quartet playing together, playing separately, playing Western music, playing Eastern music, the whole mixture of things,” Ying said.

Both the Shanghai Quartet and Music from China are new to the festival this year, and Ying said he is excited to hear the sound they will bring to the event.

“I think the combination of sounds is going to be very magical and quite unlike anything that we’re doing for the rest of the festival … and anything you’ll hear in this area for quite some time,” Ying said.

Skaneateles Festival Week 2

Wednesday Aug. 13

– When: 11 a.m.
– Where: First Presbyterian Church, 97 E. Genesee St.
– Program: Meet The Shanghai Quartet, which has performed in Poland, China, France, Armenia and Korea. Come meet them and hear music from around the world.

– When: 2 p.m.
– Where: Fayetteville Library, 300 Orchard St., Fayetteville.
– Program: Shanghai Quartet. The internationally known string quartet is praised for its passionate musicality, impressive technique and multicultural innovations. Musicians: Weigang Li, violin; Yi-Wen Jiang, violin; Honggang Li, viola; Nicholas Tzavaras, cello.

Thursday, Aug. 14

– When: 2 p.m.
– Where: Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, 205 Genesee St., Auburn.
– Program: The ensemble Music from China will perform with both traditional and contemporary Chinese music and instruments.

– When: 8 p.m.
– Where: First Presbyterian Church, 97 E. Genesee St.
– Program: Not Your Mother’s Chamber Music Concert Hits the Silk Road! Musicians: Shanghai Quartet, including Weigang Li and Jiang, violin, Honggang Li, viola, and Tzavaras, cello; Jennifer Aylmer, soprano; Virginia Barron, viola; Frank Cassara, percussion; Elinor Freer, piano; Wang Guowei, erhu; Christopher Jones, marimba; Lampo Leong, multimedia; David Ying, cello.
Cui: Orientale, Op. 50, No. 9 
Kreisler: Tambourin Chinois (The Chinese Tambourine) 
Rimsky-Korsakov: selections from String Sextet in A Major 
Chen Yi: Fiddle Suite for Erhu and String Quartet with Multimedia Video Animation Projection 
Hovhaness: 4 Bagatelles for String Quartet, Op. 30 
Borodin: selections from Piano Quintet in C minor 
Steve Reich: Nagoya Marimbas 
Bizet: Adieux de l’hôtesse arabe (Farewell of the Arab Hostess) 
Debussy: Rondel Chinois (Poem on a Chinese Scene) 
Bernstein: ”What a Movie” from Trouble in Tahiti

Friday, Aug. 15

– When: 8 p.m.
– Where: First Presbyterian Church, 97 E. Genesee St.
– Program: East-West Fusion. Musicians: Shanghai Quartet, including Weigang Li and Jiang, violin, Honggang Li, viola, and Tzavaras, cello; Aylmer, soprano; Cassara, percussion; Freer, piano.
Traditional Chinese Folk Songs, arr. Yi-Wen Jiang: to include Miao Mountain and Shepherd’s Song 
Ravel: Shéhérazade (for voice and piano) 
Bright Sheng: Hot Pepper for Violin and Marimba 
Ravel: String Quartet

Saturday, Aug. 16

– When: 7:30 p.m.
– Where: Brook Farm, 2870 West Lake Road, 2.5 miles south of Skaneateles (rain location is Skaneateles High School, 49 E. Elizabeth St.)
– Program: Sounds of the Orient at Brook Farm. Musicians: Music from China; Shanghai Quartet, including Weigang Li and Jiang, violin, Honggang Li, viola, and Tzavaras, cello;  Cassara, percussion; Ying, cello.
Chen Yi: Chinese Fables for Erhu, Pipa, Cello, and Percussion 
Traditional Chinese Music: Songs for original instruments including Yao Dance, Melody of the Purple Bamboo, Birds in the Forest, Wedding Processional, and the Warlord Doffs His Armor 
Zhou Long: Chinese Folk Songs (for string quartet and traditional Chinese instruments)

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