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Pipa player Yang Jing is plucking new heartstrings

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-16 07:49

Pipa player Yang Jing is plucking new heartstrings

Pipa player Yang Jing has performed around the world over the past few decades. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Pipa player Yang Jing is reinvigorating the ancient instrument with original compositions, international performances and genre fusions, Chen Nan reports.

Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet Bai Juyi described the sound of the pipa as "pearls landing on a jade plate".

Performer Yang Jing says that's but one of the sounds the 2,000-year-old, four-stringed plucked instrument can produce.

Yang will display the lute's versatility during 65-minute performances of Symphony On Four Strings-Yang Jing's Pipa and Multimedia Concert in Beijing on Dec 17 and in Shanghai on Dec 24. The shows blend the ancient instrument with electronic and symphonic elements, plus multimedia effects.

The concert will feature eight original pipa pieces, including Dance Along the Old Silk Road, which she wrote in 1993 to explore the instrument's origins; Nine Jade Chains, which was inspired by Bai's poem, The Song of The Pipa Player; and Geyser, which was inspired by Yellowstone National Park's geothermal wonders.

Yang will also give lectures at Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music and China Conservatory of Music, and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Yang, who started playing the pipa at 6, left her hometown in Xuchang, Henan province, at 18 to attend the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, from which she graduated in 1986.

The musician moved to Switzerland in 2003, where she still lives, to complete a master's degree in composition at Bern University of Arts.

"Switzerland's natural splendors-its skies and forests-still surprise and inspire me," she says.

Yang has spent much of the last decade touring the West.

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