Liz Chi Yen Liew at Asia House for SG50

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Celebrating Singapore’s 50th Year of Independence (SG50) this year and the unique ties between Singapore and the UK, A COLLAGE OF DREAMS sees Singaporean British composer/musician Liz Chi Yen Liew and arranger Mark Troop with Yin Yang Collective perform a dazzling mix of folk music from both countries and original pieces inspired by both cultures.

With guest musicians Dennis Kwong Thye Lee on xiao (Chinese flute) and guzheng (Chinese plucked zither), and Joanna Zenghui Qiu on erhu (Chinese violin) and hulusi (Chinese reed instrument) with Mark on keyboard and Liz on electric violin and keyboard, their set includes a medley of pieces reflecting each of Singapore’s multi-ethnic cultures, UK folk tunes re-imagined on Chinese instruments and Liz’s original compositions – with a sprinkling of recognisable Singaporean tunes.

Says Liz “I’m really excited about this gig! My parents are Singaporean and most of my family still live there so we thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate SG50 with a special concert in London. I’m excited to work with arranger Mark Troop on this who is arranging a special medley for the gig, and Chinese musicians  Joanna Zenghui Qiu and Dennis Kwong Thye Lee. There’ll be something for everyone – we’ll be doing acoustic pieces as well as more upbeat electronic numbers!”

Date: Mon 23 November 2015

Venue: Asia House 63 New Cavendish Street, London, W1G 7LP United Kingdom

About the artists 

LIZ CHI YEN LIEW is a musician and composer whose music blends rhythms and melodies inspired by her Chinese roots on Chinese instruments with electric violins and electronics. As one half of violin duo Chi2 she performed and co-wrote Monkey King – A Modern Beijing Opera a brand new spin on the classic Chinese tale which they toured in the UK in 2008-9. Other commissions include co-writing the soundtrack to Time is Like Water Flowing a poetic evocation of the four seasons collaborating with French aerial acrobatic group Les Passagers and Chinese visual artists for Greenwich and Docklands International Festival with performances in London’s O2 Arena. As one of PRS for Music Foundation’s selected composers for New Music 20×12 (part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad) her piece XX/XY premiered to 12,000 people at Trafalgar Square in January 2012, was featured on BBC2’s Review Show and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Last year she had the privilege of attending the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in honour of the first state visit of the Singaporean President, as a representative of the arts world.

As a session musician she has toured/recorded/performed with Moby, Lamb, Gnarls Barkley, Asian Dub Foundation, Goldfrapp, Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra amongst others.

MARK TROOP, pianist, broadcaster and writer, is the founder of The Chamber Music Company. He runs four London based Festivals (Classical, Latin American, Chinese, contemporary); has created and tours a German Cabaret show (genre: Weill/Holländer), is preparing a Chinese East-West festival, created three musico-historical Latin American programmes for BBC Radio 3; and will release two cds this year – one of Romantic piano music (Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov), another with Chinese two-string fiddle (erhu). He has worked on music education and performance projects in Spain, Peru, Bolivia, India and South Africa, and runs Yin Yang Collective, London’s Asian-UK collaborative band. Mark has set up several British Council tours, to India (three times), Spain (twice) and Latin America, including concerts and educational work.

DENNIS KWONG THYE LEE was the principal xiao (flute) and guzheng (zither) soloist at the Zhuan Yi Chinese Orchestra. He has been playing various traditional Chinese musical instruments since his early teens, including the guzheng, xiao, dizi, sheng and pipa and also taught and performed the guzheng professionally for over 20 years. On the xiao Dennis specialises in traditional and crossover pieces and classical duets with the guqin in the “scholarly music” genre. He is a member of the London Youlan Qin Society and performs regularly with the UK Chinese Ensemble, the Yin Yang Collective and various other groups. Over the years Dennis has performed at various venues including V&A, Covent Garden Royal Opera House, Rich Mix, The Place (Euston), the Trafalgar Square Chinese New Year Celebrations and the Cultural Olympiad “New Music 20×12” at the Southbank Centre. 

 JOANNA ZENGHUI QIU (邱增慧) is director of the UK Chinese Opera Association.  She is a versatile Chinese musician, with over 20 years of experience, including Beijing Opera, Chinese classical music and folk music.  A graduate of the Tianjin Opera School and the China National Opera College, she performed in the National Beijing Opera Company and Mei Lanfang Opera Troupe for nearly ten years. Since moving to Britain in 1999, Joanna has performed in venues including the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall and Royal Albert Hall, and at world music festivals WOMEX 2006 (Spain) and WOMAD 2007 (UK).  She has taught courses at SOAS, University of London, and led numerous educational workshops throughout the country.  Joanna has been involved with several theatre productions, including music director for the highly acclaimed production of Wild Swansat the Young Vic and ART Theatre, Boston, in 2012, and Yeh Shen (Yellow Earth), in 2015.  Joanna plays a very wide range of Chinese instruments, including jinghu (bamboo fiddle), erhu (two-stringed fiddle), yueqin (moon lute), hulusi (gourd pipe), guzheng (zither), zhongruan (medium lute), xun (clay flute), dizi (bamboo flute), suona (Chinese oboe), and percussion.

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