March-May 2009 – Beyond the Wall
Beyond the Wall is the Barbican’s exploration of Chinese music, concentrating on the bridge between East and West and on the influence each has had on the other. Grammy and Oscar winning composer Tan Dun plays a central role, as some of his works receive a UK premiere. The concerts also include a glimpse of Beijing’s underground music scene and Mongolian and Kazakh-influenced folk, as well as a chamber opera by Liu Sola.
Saturday 21 March
6-7pm: Chinese music in the foyers of the Barbican
Zhangjiajie Folk Daliuzi Group
7.30pm: BBC SO/Tan Dun/Anssi Karttunen
Tang Jianping: Sacred Fire
Guo Wenjing: Chou Kong Shan (Bamboo Flute Concerto)
Tan Dun: The Map (UK premiere), Concerto for Cello, Video and Orchestra
Tickets: £ 9/13/17/22.50/28
Tuesday 21 April 2009 7.30pm
LSO/Daniel Harding/Tan Dun/Lang Lang
Tan Dun: Internet Symphony 'Eroica'
Tan Dun: Piano Concerto (UK premiere), Mahler: Symphony No 1
Thursday 23 April 2009 8.00pm
UBS Soundscapes: Eclectica Dragon Songs
Lang Lang/Silk Strings (Cheng Yu, pipa; Sun Zhuo, guzheng; Hu Bin, erhu; Zhou Jinyan, yangqin)
LSO St Lukes
Together with Lang Lang, the London-based Chinese quartet Silk Strings mix traditional Chinese music with their own contemporary interpretations in works by composer and jazz pianist Raymond Yiu. Born in Hong Kong, Yiu came to England in 1990 and studied at Imperial College. Among his works are commission for the LSO and the Aldeburgh Almeida Opera. Part of UBS Soundscapes: Lang Lang, 18 – 26 April 2009. lso.co.uk/langlang
Sunday 26 April 7.30pm
Beyond The Wall: Beijing Now
Yan Jun with Wu Na, FM3, White and Xiao He
LSO St Luke's
Showcasing some of the leading figures of Beijing’s burgeoning musical underground scene, this concert will feature an array of musical talents whose daring approach reflects a distinctively Chinese set of circumstances and influences. Yan Jun is the central figure in the capital’s rapidly-evolving musical counterculture, whose live performances use feedback, loops and found voices to make hypnotic noise. White - a duo consisting of Shou Wang and Shenggy - formed in January 2006, and quickly became one of the most acclaimed outfits in the Beijing new music scene. FM3 were founded in 1999 by Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian and are considered pioneers of electronic music in China. Their mass-produced FM3 Buddha Machine loop box was released to wide acclaim in 2005 and has gained a cult following all over the world. Singer, guitarist and performance artist Xiao He takes an avant-garde approach to traditional Chinese music to produce a sound that is exuberant, freewheeling and completely singular.
Sunday 10 May 7.30pm
Beyond the Wall
Kronos Quartet, Wu Man (pipa)
Yuanlin Chen: Tribe Among Mountains world premiere, co-commissioned by the Barbican
Tan Dun: Ghost Opera
Tickets: £ 9/13/17/22.50/28
Ghost Opera is a five movement work for string quartet and pipa, with water, metal, stone and paper. Tan Dun describes the work as a reflection on human spirituality. He was inspired by childhood memories of the shamanistic "ghost operas" of the Chinese peasant culture. In this over 4000 year old tradition, humans and spirits of the future, the past, and nature communicate with each other.
Tuesday 12 May 7.30pm
Liu Sola (libretto and music): The Afterlife of Li Jiantong world premiere
Chamber opera for Soprano, Mezzo, Bass, recorder, harp and sitar, Chinese percussion from traditional Chinese Opera
Theatre of Voices, Director Paul Hillier
Recorders: Michala Petri; Harp: Andrew Lawrence-King; Percussion: Gert Mortensen
LSO St Lukes
This chamber opera is based on the story of Liu Sola’s own mother Li Jiantong, an historical and political writer. Although highly respected by many Chinese, Li Jiantong’s books were banned all her life. Her first book, published in the 1960’s, was criticised by Mao and subsequently banned. During the Cultural Revolution, she was investigated, illegally jailed, subjected to fierce interrogations and eventually sent off to work in the fields. After her death, her spirit came to her daughter Liu Sola. This chamber opera is about her three visitations. In the first half of the concert, Wu Man plays pieces for pipa by Chinese composers, including Liu Sola.
Saturday May 16 May 7.30pm
Beyond the Wall: Voices Of The Grasslands
Hanggai and Mamer + special guests
Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, Islington, N1 2UN
Based in Beijing but devoted to traditional Mongolian songs, Hanggai mix throat singing with rock instruments, and dress like men of the steppes even though they live in the teeming metropolis of Beijing. With their elegant songs, top-notch production and strangely familiar tunes, Hanggai have made the leap from folk phenomenon to crossover pioneers. Hailing from the grasslands of Xinjiang province in the far West of China, Mamer is a legendary figure in the Chinese underground music scene – he’s been described as the ‘Lou Reed of the grasslands’. Mamer’s band IZ is credited with single-handedly kickstarting China’s alt-country scene; his work has influenced a huge range of acts, including Hanggai.
Concerts at the Barbican Hall, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS unless stated otherwise
Box Office: 0845 120 7550 www.barbican.org.uk/beyondthewall