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Sound of Dragon music festival showcases dynamic new trends and revered traditions


The Orchid Ensemble is, from left, Jonathan Bernard, Lan Tung and Yuchen Wang.

There is no such thing as “Chinese music,” at least not in the confines of strict genre conventions.

Like music from anywhere else in the world, traditional/classical/contemporary and avant-garde streams flow in and out of one another to create a vibrant body of work.

Classically-trained and dedicated to furthering cultural fusions and developing new sonic dialogues, Vancouver-based erhu master Lan Tung is the leader of the Juno-nominated Orchid Ensemble and the organizer of the Sound of Dragon Music Festival happening during Vancouver Asian Heritage Month celebrations.

“It’s the first time that the spectrum of Chinese music in Vancouver, across Canada and internationally has been showcased this way,” said Lan Tung.

“The growth of both the community of musicians and the audience here has made it possible to present something that, in many ways, seems overdue.”

Tung has never shied away from exploring the scope of Chinese music in her own work. She has been building a wider-range community of like-minded players and composers for decades.

Sound of Dragon music festival showcases dynamic new trends……

The concert series at the Sound of Dragon features performances such as the global summit Improvisers’ Playground with Tung, Toronto-based pianist Lee Pui Ming, U.S.-based Taiwanese soloist Yuchen Wang, and Stefan Smulovitz freely finding common points of entry into spontaneous music creation (Friday, 9:45 p.m.).

Those favouring a Chinese, Persian, South-Asian and European criss-cross can enjoy the Big World Band from Vancouver (Friday, 8:30 p.m.) or the city’s celebrated VICO (Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra) (Friday, 7 p.m.) in a program of new works.

“Vancouver has been a very good place for these kinds of musical explorations to take place because of both the large and diverse immigrant population bringing its traditions and new ideas here, and also because of a general sense of willingness to explore within the community,” Tung said.

Noting that there now are many composers from many different ethnic backgrounds creating works for Asian and Western ensembles, Tung said something new and dynamic is taking place and spreading worldwide.

The concert series also shows great reverence for the traditions that spawned such musical mixes with afternoon solo performances and more evening group shows from the likes of B.C. Chinese Music Ensemble (Sunday, May 11, 8:40 p.m.) and the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra from Taiwan (Saturday, May 10, 7 p.m.).

“It has been a very big job putting together the program,” Lan Tung said. “But I really feel that what it brings is one of the widest representations of the contemporary Chinese Music scene and its global context both here in Vancouver and beyond.”

Sound of Dragon is featuring numerous world premières of works from B.C. composers for both local and international ears to come and appreciate.

As Tung says, come and discover, come and enjoy.
Sound of Dragon Music Festival
Where: Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews When: Friday-Sunday

Tickets: © Copyright (c) The Province