Orchid Ensemble brings its exotic repertoire to the Heron
By JANICE RANDALL
Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Arts Writer
February 3, 2009 · Updated 6:50 PM
Celebrate Chinese New Year and the year of the ox with Orchid Ensemble, a trio from Vancouver, B.C., that expertly blends ancient musical instruments such as erhu, zheng and marimba with traditions from China, Persia and India.
The ensemble will bring its exotic, haunting music to the Blue Heron Art Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7.
The ensemble’s music ranges from traditional and contemporary music of China to world music to new music to jazz and improvisation.
The trio, which delights worldwide audiences of all ages, was dubbed “one of the brightest blossoms on the world music scene” by critics.
The Orchid Ensemble’s 2004 release, “Road to Kashgar,” was nominated for a Juno, Canada’s equivalent of a Grammy, in the Best World Music category.
The group is led by Lan Tung on erhu, percussion and vocals. Tung trained at Taiwan’s Chinese Cultural University and has performed with Gypsy, Indian, Celtic, Jewish, Korean and other world music ensembles and musicians, including the famous Tuvan ensemble Huun Hurr Tu and Canadian legend Bill Bourne.
Tung has premiered numerous contemporary works by Canadian and U.S. composers and performed with some of Vancouver’s most innovative improvisers.
She has received numerous awards from the B.C. Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts to pursue advanced study with internationally renowned erhu virtuoso Jebing Chen in San Francisco, Zhang Fun Min in Beijing and Indian classical violinist Kala Ramnath in Mumbai.
Born in Chengdu, China, Bei Bei He is a guzheng performer, composer and educator. She currently resides in Southern California.
Bei Bei has earned multiple awards, including the First Dragon Cup International Gu Zheng Competition in 2001. She performs in a variety of genres from classical to jazz and rock to electronica. Bei Bei released her debut album “Quiet your Mind and Listen” in 2006, which received international attention.
Jonathan Bernard on marimba and percussion combines Western percussion with a fascination for Asian traditions to create a unique sound palette. Bernard has premiered more than 70 chamber works. He is principal percussionist for Vancouver Island Symphony.
For more information and sound samples from the ensemble, see orchidensemble.com.
Tickets for the Orchid Ensemble Chinese New Year celebration at the Blue Heron are $10 for ages 12 and under, $14 for VAA members, seniors and students and $16 for general admission. Fortune cookies are included.