Tales of the Silk Road: Pipa and Percussion

Tales of the Silk Road: Pipa and Percussion

The Plucked-String Orchestra of China Central Conservatory of Music and Pipa master Zhang Hong-Yan made their Australian debut last week at the Sydney Opera House in a beautiful performance of Tales of the Silk Road: Pipa and Percussion. The musical performance is a combination of folk music along the silk road with contemporary dance, as well as the Pipa, percussion, and extravagant stage decoration.

A Pipa, otherwise known as the Chinese Lute, is a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument, considered the king of plucked instruments. With a pear-shaped wooden body, Pipa has a number of frets ranging from 12 to 26, and dates back to the Han dynasty (around 2nd century AD). A master of the instrument, Zhang discovered the Pipa and traditional Chinese percussion depicted in mural grottoes during a tour of Uygur in 2002. After learning both the instruments originated from this region, Zhang decided to bring the instruments back together in concert.

After learning the Pipa since she was young girl, Zhang graduated from the best music conservatory in China and became one of the world’s most renowned Pipa virtuosos. She is known as “the Queen of Pipa” in China, described as a “musical envoy from the orient” and “an incomparable music fairy” by the Washington Post.