Zhongguo Pop (orchestra version) (2021) · 11 min

for quartet of Chinese instruments and string orchestra

dizi, erhu, pipa, guzheng, strings

Written with the support of a MacDowell Fellowship

Program Note

Zhongguo Pop (“China Pop”) was originally written in 2004-2005 as a work for virtuoso pipa soloist, Wu Man; a work she performed in several locations in the U.S. and abroad; and later published by Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music Press (2016). In 2011, I arranged this work for a quartet of Chinese instruments (dizi, erhu, pipa, guzheng) and two violins, which received a performance at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York City (April, 2011). This chamber music version started with a great deal of excitement, as does the original pipa solo, but I found that the middle of the work lacked the fluent recitative style that I loved about the solo work. In 2018, I was given the opportunity to completely re-think the organization of Zhongguo Pop upon receiving a two-week fellowship at MacDowell artist’s residency program. In this orchestral version, I retain the quartet of Chinese instruments, but enlarged the accompaniment to string orchestra. In addition, I completely revised the metrical organization of the work such that strong and weak beats feel more natural and intuitive (resulting in several meter changes); and I introduced several mini cadenzas, which give the soloists much greater freedom to control the pacing of their solo passages. However, it was not until mid-2021 that I put the finishing touches on this version, when I was able to confirm a recording date with Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Zhongguo Pop (orchestral version) was recorded on September 8, 2021, at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA; and will be released on CD on BMOP/sound in late 2022, featuring several of my works for Chinese instruments and Western orchestra.

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