Alfred University News

East Meets West: Dialogue Between Chinese and Western Music

What happens when the guitar and the Chinese lute, or pipa, collide in jazz? Find out at the fourth monthly East Meets West concert, Saturday, May 15 at 8 p.m.


What happens when the guitar and the Chinese lute, or pipa, collide in jazz? Find out at the fourth monthly East Meets West concert, Saturday, May 15 at 8 p.m. Guest artists Min Xiao-Fen, a pipa soloist, singer, and composer,  and Rez Abbasi, guitarist, composer, and 2021 Guggenheim Fellow, will perform together in an evening of cutting edge music.

The event will be carried on the Zoom platform.

Few artists have done more to both honor and reinvent the 2000-year history of the pipa, a four-stringed lute, than soloist, vocalist and composer Min Xiao-Fen. Classically trained in her native China, Min was an in-demand interpreter of traditional music before relocating to the United States in 1996.  Since then, she has forged a new path for her instrument alongside many of the leading lights in modern jazz, free improvisation, experimental and contemporary classical music. The Village Voice has lauded her as an artist who “has taken her ancient Chinese string instrument into the future,” while The New York Times has raved that her singular work “has traversed a sweeping musical odyssey.” Her latest album, White Lotus, to be released in June, features guitar master, Rez Abbasi.

Rez Abbasi is among a rare breed of artists who continues to push boundaries while preserving the traditions he also has embraced. Consistently placing since 2014, on DownBeat’s International Critics Poll alongside luminaries Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny, Abbasi continues to forge new ground with his multi-dimensional projects.  Born in Karachi, Pakistan, migrating to Southern California at the age of four, schooled at the University of Southern California and the Manhattan School of Music in jazz and classical music, along with a pilgrimage in India under the guidance of master percussionist, Ustad Alla Rakha, Abbasi is a vivid synthesis of all the above stated influences and genres. With fifteen albums and multiple composition grants, Abbasi’s wide-ranging projects continue to capture provocative sounds rarely heard in today’s music.

More information about these artists may be found at minxiaofenbluepipa.org and www.RezTone.com.

The online cultural exchange series is organized by Confucius Institute at Alfred University and co-sponsored by the Performing Arts Division of Alfred University, the Music Department of China University of Geosciences, the Almond 20th Century Club Library, the Cuba Circulating Library, the Hornell Public Library, the David A. Howe Library in Wellsville, and the Wimodaughsian Library of Canisteo.

Everyone is invited to join in on Zoom for an intriguing evening of music and discussion hosted by Daisy Wu, the music faculty and Director of the Confucius Institute at Alfred University.  

Please use the Zoom link https://alfredu.zoom.us/j/6078712765, or Zoom ID: 607-871-2765 to join this free Zoom event.