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Celebrating World Heritage: A Talk & Trio Concert of Pipa (China), Oud (Syria), Harp (Venezuela)

Thu, April 6th, 2023
7:00 pm
- 8:30 pm

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Chinese pipa player Gao Hong will join Issam Rafea, a Syrian oud artist, and Venezuelan harpist Leonard Jacome for a string performance connecting musical styles from across Asia and South America. The ensemble’s collection of new and improvised works explores the exchange of culture, stories, and musical traditions through the expression of strings. The trio will improvise compositions based on each other’s folk songs or modes to allow the audience experience the innovative/live composition process of turning traditional music into one-of-a-kind fusion music.

Join the artists at 4:15pm in the same location for a workshop and pre-concert talk on their collaboration and the history and techniques of their instruments.  Workshop goers are invited to bring their own instruments and join the improvisation! 

Gao Hong began her professional music career at age 12. As a performer, Gao Hong studied with pipa master Lin Shicheng at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She is a recipient of numerous honors and awards, including First Prize in the Hebei Professional Young Music Performers Competition and the prestigious Bush Artist Fellowship. In 2019, she became the only musician in any genre to win five McKnight Artist Fellowships for Performing Musicians. Gao Hong’s performances have spanned across Europe, Australia, Argentina, Hong Kong, Japan, China, and the United States.

Issam Rafea is a Syrian musician, music director and composer, noted for his compositions and performances on the Arabic oud. Rafea was Chair of the Arabic Music Department at the High Institute of Music in Damascus and the principal conductor of the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music from 2003- 2013, as well as the co-founder for the contemporary Arabic music groups “Hewar” and “Twais Quartet.” Since then, Rafea has directed the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble at Northern Illinois University School of Music; became an artist-in-residence at Carleton College; presented workshops and performances across the globe; and collaborated with artists like Gao Hong, “Gorillaz”, Fareed Haque, the Syrian National Orchestra, and many more.

Leonard Jacome, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and producer, is one of Venezuela’s most prolific and accomplished harpists. He has numerous awards representing Venezuela abroad and has toured and performed throughout Latin America, Europe and Japan. Leonard was also the head of the harp department at “El Sistema.” Since he created the Venezuelan harp chair, he has taught over thirty young harpists.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Africana Studies; Asian Studies; the Center for Global Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Global Studies; History; the Lecture Committee and Gaudino Scholar Jason Storm; Music; and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

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