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Instruments of friendship

By Minlu Zhang | China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-03 08:49

Pipa player and composer Wu Man (center) and other artists from the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center in New York perform at a concert celebrating traditional and modern Chinese classical music at the center on Sunday. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chamber musicians from China and the US come together at the Lincoln Center to perform classical pieces that bridge the East-West divide, Minlu Zhang reports in New York.

A concert featuring traditional and modern Chinese classical music on Sunday helped to provide a much-needed celebration of the arts and people-to-people exchanges.

The concert at Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts attracted nearly 1,000 music aficionados.

David Shifrin, a clarinetist who has been playing with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for more than 40 years, says he was excited to perform there for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Music plays an enormous role across all countries. We don't think about politics; we don't think about disease. We just think about expressing ourselves and working with one another in music," Shifrin says.

Under the theme "China inspirations", the concert presented six pieces by Chinese composers that were derived from Chinese traditional music, classical literature and other elements.

Eight artists from China and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center played together.

Shifrin notes that there are many similarities in the language and points of reference between Eastern and Western music. "It's really fascinating to hear the music of half a dozen different composers from China who have been influenced by both the East and the West, and to translate that to Western instruments," he says.

"The pieces that I'm playing in all use Western instruments, but the way that the string instruments are tuned sounds so different. I thought that, sometimes, it sounded more like the Chinese string instruments rather than Western violin," Shifrin says, who played clarinet in Tales From the Nine Bells and Mandalas in the Rubble.

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