North American Guqin Association
Two major international guqin events and sightseeing
In October 2006, NAGA director Wang Fei led a group of six NAGA members, Pat Wong, Kwan Wong, Jiang Wenyu, Fred Pohlmann, and Dr. Sanford Tom to attend two major international guqin events and to visit heritage sites in
NAGA's trip to
We met NAGA consultants Professor Li Xiangting, Gong Yi, Zheng Mingzhong, and Xu Jian. Some of the other qin scholars and performer and makers we met were Wu Wenguang, Cheng Gongliang, Tang Zhongliu, Ding Chengyun, Zeng Chengwei, Dai Xiaolian, Liu Chicheng, Xie Daoxiu, He Mingwei, and Wang Peng.
3. Chengdu 2006 ¨C Cultural Festivals for the Chinese Guqin and Zhuo Wenjun and Qionglai trip Photos
Wang Fei gave a presentation covering the history of guqin promotion in the West to both international qin conferences and was well received. In Qionglai, Wang Fei's presentation lasted 45 minutes, longer than the usual 30 minute presentations, but both organizer and audience said that they wanted more. Her talk outlined the stages of overseas development, covering English publications about the guqin, its history in the West, and the growth of guqin associations overseas. The guqin's recognition as part of the world's intangible heritage by UNESCO is a fitting tribute that resulted from overseas promotion. Some people in the audience were both surprised and impressed by the scope of these overseas
Please see the photo album of NAGA at the
As part of Wang Fei's presentation in Qionglai, Kwan Wong played Feng Qiu Huang while Wang Wei (China National Radio station producer and host) recited the song/poem in Chinese, and Fred Pohlmann recited an English translation of Du Fu's Qin Terrace.
During the masters' concert in Qionglai Wang Fei gave a moving performance of Mei Hua San Nong on the guqin. Master qin player Li Xiangting accompanied her on xiao. Having such an accomplished teacher and student pair perform together on stage provided a fitting scene for an event that celebrates qin study and performance.
Please see the photo album of NAGA at the Qionglai conference at http://www.chineseculture.net/guqin/newsletters/06nagaevents/chinatour/qionglai/
During Beijing's ¡°golden season¡±, the Central Conservatory of Music, the China Conservatory of Music and the Chinese Academy of Arts hosted a four day conference, the ¡°Beijing Week of Qin Music Culture 2006 and Commemoration of Qin Master Wu Jinglue's Centennial Birthday¡± on October 16th to 19th. The conferences included oral and performance presentations, concerts, workshops, and yajis. Wang Fei and her students are heirs to Wu Jinglue's lineage. Wang Fei told the group and the conference that to promote and bring qin art to the West is not only to introduce qin music, but also introduce the qin tradition and the traditions of Chinese culture, such as respecting and valuing their teachers and the traditions they transmit. She was happy to see that some of her students, including westerners, followed her and came to
Please see the photo album of the
There is more information about the
NAGA was also invited to the 3rd international guqin festival in Qionglai, a suburb of
Please see the photo album of the Qionglai trip at http://www.chineseculture.net/guqin/newsletters/06nagaevents/chinatour/qionglai/.
There is more information about the Qionglai events at http://www.cdclib.org/immaterial/guqin/FestivalInfo.aspx.
After the conferences NAGA members accompanied by Wang Wei and Zhang Yuxin to visit the flowing waters, emerald and turquoise lakes, and snow-covered peaks of Huanglong and Jiuzhaigou in northern
Please see the photo album at http://www.chineseculture.net/guqin/newsletters/06nagaevents/chinatour/jiuzhaigou.
Discussion and debate during the conferences centered on two general topics. One was the current status and development of the guqin within
The art and culture of the guqin have been undergoing significant changes in recent years. Some of these developments were in evidence at the conferences. We noted that the population of qin students is steadily growing, and an increasing proportion of them are young women: 80% of the students majors in guqin in the Conservatory of Music in
Although larger numbers of people now play the guqin than previously, fewer players have truly mastered the instrument, and even fewer hold to the unique, centuries-old traditions of qin practice and study. On the surface, the current state of the guqin seems vibrant, but in fact it is being mass-marketed and serious players and scholars are worried. Some young students, having only learned for a couple of years, are already eager to open guqin schools or offer lessons to the public; others, after a couple of years of self study, are keen to write instructional books; some amateur players are eager to self publish their own CDs or give public performances. There are even carpenters who, having seen a couple of guqins, have started making them. Such instruments are of course unplayable.
There is much experimentation with playing the guqin in different environments, such as with Western orchestra, with modern dance, or with rock music. Small, private concerts have become more popular and are quite expensive, sometimes fetching up to $1200 for a ticket. As a collector's item the value of guqins has soared. Much like the phenomenon of pu-er tea in recent years, the value of high quality new instruments has risen to almost astronomical levels.
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Reporter: Fred Pohlmann
Editor: Julian Joseph
North American Guqin Association