Chamber Music Festival highlights traditional Chinese reed instrument

July 27-Aug 6, 2017

Festival-grounds“We like to include flavors beyond strings and piano, and to have more sounds on the palate,” said Kevin Krentz, artistic director of the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival.

This summer, the audience will have a unique opportunity to get a completely new taste when the festival features Jianbing Hu, China’s premier player of the sheng, a traditional Chinese wind instrument. One of the oldest Chinese instruments, the sheng is a reed instrument with vertical pipes that produces multiple tones and harmonies at once.

Krentz called Hu “the hottest sheng player in China.” Hu tours internationally, both as a soloist and with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, which consists of performers and composers from more than 20 countries who blend contemporary and ancient – and Eastern and Western – musical traditions.

When Hu is in the Methow – for just one night in the five-night festival – he will play his own compositions and also do improvisation, which is how sheng is typically played, said Krentz. “Hu is excellent at what he does, and it has a really unique flavor,” he said.

In addition to his mastery of the sheng, Hu owns a small violin-making workshop in Beijing. Krentz, who designs cellos, first met Hu when he commissioned the workshop to make some of his cellos.

Seeing an opportunity to bring audiences variety beyond standard chamber music repertoire, Krentz said the two talked about including Hu in the festival.

Hu learned to play several traditional Chinese instruments from his father, including the sheng, suona, and guanzi. He has won competitions both as a soloist and for his compositions. He is active in cultural and academic exchanges between China and the U.S., and has performed in this country and Europe as well as in Asia.

Hu will be at the chamber music festival for the Saturday, July 29, performance.

(Photo by Marcy Stamper.)


DATES: July 27-Aug 5. Centerstage concerts, July 27 and 29, August 1, 3, and 5. In addition, the Fellowship Quartet, the festival’s energetic teaching ensemble, will play at venues throughout the valley during the course of the 10-day festival. CONTACT/TICKETS/INFO: LOCATION: Can be found at this link CLICK HERE