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USM Faculty Concert Series opens with “Sounds of China” and Boston musician Zhantao Lin at Hannaford Hall

Sounds of China

Join the University of Southern Maine School of Music for the opening concert of both the season and the Faculty Concert Series! “Sounds of China” takes place Friday, September 14 at 8:00 p.m. at Hannaford Hall in the Abromson Center on the Portland Campus, and will be a musical journey to China, bringing together USM faculty musicians with guest artist, Zhantao Lin, on erhu, a traditional Chinese bowed string instrument.

The opening concert of the season, sponsored by the Confucius Institute at the University of Southern Maine, will bring two cultures together through an interesting assortment of traditional Chinese musical instruments, as well as traditional Chinese music performed on erhu. Works by Chinese composers for western instruments will also be featured. USM School of Music, faculty clarinetist Thomas Parchman has assembled a chamber ensemble with faculty colleagues Krysia Tripp, flute and Robert Lehmann, violin, with additional guest artists Bridget Convey, piano; John Mehrmann, percussion; Benjamin Noyes, cello. 

Guest artist Zhantao Lin, a Boston-based musician and music educator from China, is a board member of Chinese Professional Folk Orchestra Society and has been an awardee of many high-level competitions in China. Since his move to the United States, Lin has frequently participated in various performances in the New England area, including Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, MIT, Brown University, Boston University, Boston Children’s Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, as well as the Lincoln Art Center, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road concerts.

The concert will include works by composers Ka Nin Chin, “Among Friends,” and Zhou Long, “Five Elements.” Born in Beijing, composer Zhou Long is internationally recognized for creating a unique body of music that brings together the aesthetic concepts and musical elements of East and West. Deeply grounded in the entire spectrum of his Chinese heritage, including folk, philosophical, and spiritual ideals, he is a pioneer in transferring the idiomatic sounds and techniques of ancient Chinese musical traditions to modern Western instruments and ensembles. “Five Elements” expresses a central aspect of traditional Chinese thought, each element characterized in an individual movement.

The first movement is 'Metal', where the sound of iron being forged is imitated in the percussion, and echoed in the languid tone-clusters on piano.

The second movement is 'Wood', in which strong rhythmic patterns are generated on the wooden percussion instruments, alongside pizzicato motifs in the strings.

The third movement is 'Water', which takes on a slow, expansive texture, with long and tranquil melodic lines to create a feeling of quiet calm and serenity.

The fourth movement is 'Fire', which is characterized by persistent rhythmic drumming patterns and energetic trilling figures, punctuated by cascading bell-like chords in the piano, embodying light and heat.

The last movement is ‘Earth’; the music moves slowly and majestically in a free tempo, creating a feeling of peaceful, open space. At the end, all the elements are transformed into a perfect balance.

Tickets may be purchased online or by phone at (207) 780-5555; $15 for adults, $5 for students, and $10 for seniors, USM employees and alumni.

Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, please contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.