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Improvisers’ Playland (Toronto/Taiwan/US/Vancouver): 

The first meeting of four improvisers/composers 

Friday May 9, 2014 – 9:45-10:45pm, Performance Centre, Roundhouse

Originally from Hong Kong, Toronto based pianist Lee Pui Ming has performed at every major jazz festival in Canada. Trained in western classical and contemporary music, she also draws influences from Chinese culture: from traditional music, popular songs, regional dialects, to street life. Lan Tung combines the worlds of Chinese, world, and contemporary music in her improvisation, creating new sounds on the erhu/Chinese violin and developing a unique vocal style. Based in Urbana, Illinois, Taiwanese zheng/Chinese zither soloist Yuchen Wang brings the virtuosity of contemporary techniques and the sensibility of Chinese music into improvisation. Renowned for his “quicksilver ability to morph and manipulate sound via digital technology” (Georgia Straight), Stefan Smulovitz transforms the laptop into a versatile instrument.

Lee Pui Ming – piano

Lee Pui Ming had music in her blood before she was born. Her mother was a singer first of

western operas, later a performer and teacher of popular Chinese and western songs. Songs, of all kinds, swam in the womb. Pui Ming began piano lessons at the age of three. Music travelled with her, and she travelled through music.

After several academic degrees in western classical music, Pui Ming made a turn and began the path of creating and performing her own music. Six recordings and decades later, she has led The Lee Pui Ming Ensemble performing her compositions of contemporary music for Chinese instruments, and composed for The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. She has performed, toured and recorded with the founding members of the musique actuelle community from Montreal. Her most recent recording, “she comes to shore” (Innova Recordings), contains improvised solos and a concerto for improvised piano and orchestra. A 60-mins commission from Kokoro Dance premiered in Vancouver in 2013 with a score for string quartet. As a performing artist, Pui Ming has played at every major jazz festival in Canada, and toured the U.S., Europe and Asia. A Double Concerto for improvised piano, percussion and orchestra commissioned by The Bay-Atlantic Orchestra is scheduled to premiere in November, 2014.

Lee Pui Ming has been awarded The Freddie Stone Award (2000) recognizing her contribution to improvised music in Canada, and the K. M. Hunter Artist Award (2005) from The Ontario Arts Council.

Lan Tung – erhu (Chinese violin) & voice

Lan Tung uses traditional music as a bridge to connect between Asian and western ears, while experimenting with contradictions by taking culturally specific materials outside their context. Her rhythmic intricacy has a direct influence from Indian music, while her passionate melodies from Flamenco and Central Asian music, and the sense of breath/space from Chinese music. Incorporating improvisation and graphic notations, Lan’s compositions are released on numerous CDs, winning an Independent Music Awards and multiple nominations by the JUNO, Canadian Independent Music Awards, and Western Canadian Music Awards. Lan is the artistic director of Sound of Dragon Society, Orchid Ensemble, andProliferasian. Originally from Taiwan, she has studied graphic score with Barry Guy, improvisation with Mary Oliver, Hindustani music with Kala Ramnath, and Uyghur music with Abdukerim Osman. Lan has appeared as an erhu soloist with Orchestre Metropolitain (Montreal), Symphony Nova Scotia (Halifax), Atlas Ensemble (Amsterdam & Helsinki), and Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra (Taipei).

Yu-Chen Wang – zheng

Yu-Chen graduated from Taiwan’s Tainan National University of the Arts, studying both the zheng and composition. Performing with precision and astonishing technique, Yu-Chen has premiered numerous contemporary works by many ground-breaking composers in Asia and North America. Her own compositions blend western classical and Chinese traditional music and place the zheng in combinations of unconventional instrumentations. Yu-Chen has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras in Taiwan and the US. She is a member of Compost Q (improvisation) and Orchid Ensemble.

Stefan Smulovitz – laptop & viola

Award-winning technologist, composer, violist, and laptop artist Stefan Smulovitz has composed more than 50 live film scores and has worked with many of today’s leading improvisers. Stefan is known for his compositions as well as his collaborative works for theatre and dance. Kenaxis, Stefan’s game-changing software, is used by musicians around the world. Stefan recently started an artist retreat with Viviane Houle in Roberts Creek, British Columbia, called Lotfive Sound,where composers, choreographers, and musicians from around the globe come to collaborate.,