“a unified yet exotic sound” – Georgia Straight, 2017
Established in 2015 and debuted at the 2016 Sound of Dragon Music Festival, the Sound of Dragon Ensemble is currently the only large professional chamber ensemble in western Canada combining Chinese and western instruments. It brings together some of the most skillful Vancouver musicians: Nicole Li (erhu), Lan Tung (erhu & voice), Marina Hasselberg (cell), Charlie Lui (dizi), Mark McGregor (flute), Itamar Erez (guitar), Zhimin Yu (ruan), and Jonathan Bernard (percussion). This instrumentation has been carefully selected by pairing Chinese and western instruments in the families of the winds, plucked strings, and bowed strings, completed by a collection of percussion instruments from both the east and the west. The ensemble promotes the awareness/appreciation of Canadian intercultural music-making rooted in ongoing collaboration between artists from distinct cultures/traditions.
The Sound of Dragon Ensemble’s repertoire represents original Canadian intercultural art music and breaks down genre boundaries, crossing over Chinese traditions, contemporary music, world fusion, and improvisation. The ensemble has commissioned music from Canadian composers Mark Armanini, Dorothy Chang, Jordan Nobles, Farshid Samandari, Alice Ho, Itamar Erez, and Lan Tung. It has performed works by John Oliver, Adam Hill, Nova Pon, Ali Razmi, Tony Leung, and Bruce Bai. Through call-for-scores, the Sound of Dragon Ensemble has received scores from composers in 13 countries. It has premiered works by Canadian, US, Taiwanese, Chinese, Italian, and UK composers.
The Sound of Dragon Ensemble has given a number of sold-out-concerts in Vancouver, including the collaboration with dancer Dong Mei in 2017, with the Toronto Chinese Orchestra Chamber Players at the 2018 Sound of Dragon Music Festival, and with Melody of China (US) in 2019. The collaboration with Melody of China marked the first time two professional ensembles of Chinese roots from across the US/Canada border have come to work together. Internationally, the ensemble has appeared at the 2019 San Francisco International Arts Festival, 2019 Ding Yi Chinese Chamber Music Festival in Singapore, and Henan Chinese Medicine University and Ping Ding Shan Cultural Centre in China. In a very short time, the ensemble has grown to be a strong voice of contemporary cross-cultural music with enthusiastic support from the music community and the audiences. In addition to concerts, the ensemble gives educational workshops to composers interested in writing for its instruments and holds regular reading sessions.
The Sound of Dragon Ensemble 龍吟滄海樂團 (musicians’ bios)
Nicole Ge Li 李歌 – gaohu 高胡, erhu 二胡, zhonghu 中胡
Lan Tung 董籃 – erhu 二胡 & vocal 人聲
Mark McGregor – flutes 長笛
Charlie Lui 呂畇初 – dizi/Chinese flutes 笛子, xiao
Marina Hasselberg – cello 大提琴
Itamar Erez – guitar 吉他
Zhimin Yu 于志敏 – zhongruan 中阮 & daruan 大阮
Jonathan Bernard – percussion 打擊樂
“A showcase for the exciting, diverse directions being taken by both local and global composers and players working in the Chinese and western musical traditions” – Vancouver Sun
溫哥華喬治亞週報形容龍吟滄海樂團的音樂，兼具「 融合一致的整體性及文化碰撞帶來的異域風情」。樂團集結了大溫地區一群技巧精湛的音樂家， 共同探索跨文化的音樂領域，並提供作曲家、演奏家們創意實現的平台。樂團2015年首次的徵曲，即在國際上受到熱烈的迴響，收到33首來自13個國家作曲家的作品。此外，樂團亦積極委託當代作曲家譜寫新作。目前樂團的保留曲目有加拿大、台灣、中國、美國、義大利、英國作曲家的作品。