Chinese Traditional Instrument Demonstration

Date: March 25, 2021
Time: 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Venue: CMA Lecture Theatre (LTL)

Mr. Zhao Taisheng (Sanxian Principal) and Ms. Zhang Ying (Pipa Principal) of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra present a demonstration of traditional Chinese instruments. They bring with them various items from the HKCO’s collection belonging to the rich history of Chinese music with roots extending back 7000 years. Seats are available on a first-come-first-served basis. Social distancing measures will be in effect. 


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Zhao Taisheng 

Zhao Taisheng is Sanxian Principal with the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, a member of the Chinese Musicians’ Association and the China Nationalities Orchestra Society, and a committee member of the Central Conservatory of Music Alumni Association (Hong Kong). He graduated from the Conservatory where he trained in sanxian under Professor Xiao Jiansheng, Wang Zhenxian, and Tan Longjian at the Traditional Instruments Department. He was honoured by the Government of the Beijing Municipality for his meritorious achievements in culture. He was named one of the Ten Best Performers of Beijing in 1998. In 1996, his premiere of Demon from Heaven won an Outstanding Performance Award at the 3rd All China Folk Music Instrumental Music Showcase, and he was honoured by the Government of the Beijing Municipality for his meritorious achievements in culture. In his second year at the Conservatory, he won the Dunhuang Class One Award at the First International Jiangnan Wind and String Competition, a Class One Performance Award with A Festive Procession and another Class One Award for the new work Eulogy of the South.  

In the 2018 concert ‘Heart for Home – Music that Evokes Nostalgia’, Zhao performed The Abacus Rondo using the Chinese abacus as a musical instrument. His vivid portrayal of a Chinese merchant’s spectrum of moods won the audience’s heart so much that it became the most popular item on the programme. In the 2017 concert ‘The Jiangzhou Connection’, Zhao joined hands with the drum virtuoso from Jiangzhou, Cai Lifeng, in performing the world premiere of Strings and Drums Resonating. It marked the first ever duo of its kind with the unusual sounds of sanxian and dagu, the big drum. In HKCO’s China Tour 2017 that celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR, covering Wuhan, Shenyang and Chengdu, his reprised performance of self-accompanied singing of Song of the Black Earth on the sanxian again won thundering applause. In 2013, 14 and 15, when he was on tour to Russia, Singapore and Estonia, his self-accompanied singing performance of Song of the Black Earth on the sanxian won standing ovations from the house. Back home in Shanghai, Dalian and Wuhan, this performance also brought the house down. He was a guest performer at Hacken Lee’s concert in 2011, in which he demonstrated the amazing potential and charm of the sanxian. He later went on Hacken’s world tour and wherever they went, the segment that featured Zhao in traditional Chinese costume playing the sanxian invariably won rave response from the audience. Zhao joined the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra in 2005 as a sanxian virtuoso.    

In 2000, at the invitation of CCTV in Beijing, he appeared on a Chinese New Year show and performed Sending the Tiger Back to Its Mountain Hideout solo in a standing position. Audience response was phenomenal, and thus marked the beginning of the performing practice of playing the sanxian standing up. He has cut many recordings, and was the most frequently collaborated sanxian accompanist for the famous actor, Zhao Benshan, in such representative recordings as Liu Laogen and Marshall Ma. 

Zhang Ying 

Zhang Ying is currently the Pipa Principal of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, a lecturer in the master’s program at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, in addition to teaching at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Baptist University, and the Education University of Hong Kong. She holds a master’s degree from the China Conservatory of Music where she was trained under Zhao Yinan, Li Guixiang, Wu Junsheng, Ren Hong, and Yang Jing. 

Zhang was the winner of the Silver Award for Pipa Specialism, Youth Section, at the First Chinese Instrumental Music Competition organized by the Ministry of Culture in 2002; and the First Prize in the Youth Section at the 3rd ‘Longyin Cup’ International Ethnic Instrument of China (Pipa) in 2004. 

Zhang has given several solo recitals, including ‘Zhang Ying – Favourites in Pipa Music’ in October 2009 in Hong Kong; a solo recital, ‘Shining Lute –Zhang Ying in Concert’ in the Zhongshan Hall of Taipei in June 2011; and ‘Zhang Ying’s Solo Recital II – Plucking at Your Heart’s Strings’ in Hong Kong in late 2012. More recent performances include a solo recital ‘Pipa Stories – Zhang Ying’ in June 2014 and a solo concert at the Music Salon of the Zhongshan Culture and Art Centre, China, in September 2015. She was an Artist-in-Residence of RTHK Radio 4 in 2016. In May of the same year, she was invited by the Xinghai Concert Hall of Guangzhou to give a pipa concert. In 2019, she gave a piano and pipa duo recital with Linda Yim at the City Hall Theatre. Zhang has released a solo album titled Dancing in the Wind, and a DVD of her graduation concert in Beijing. Her thesis was titled On the Role of the Pipa in the Chinese Orchestra.  


Mak Ka Yin

Acting Gaohu Assistant Principal of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Mak Ka Yin has been with the HKCO since 2015.

Born in Hong Kong, Mak holds a Master of Music degree from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He received training in various kinds of huqin under Cheung Hiu-fai, Chan Yiu-sing, Prof Wang Guotong, Prof Yu Qiwei and Zhang Chongxue. While at the Academy, he was awarded the Exxon Mobile Scholarship, the Musicus Society Trey Lee Scholarship, and the Hong Kong Bank Foundation (Hong Kong – Mainland Exchange Scholarship on which he went to the Mainland to further his training in erhu under Yan Jiemin. Mak was awarded a Master of Arts in Music (with double major in erhu and gaohu) by The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He gave two graduation solo recitals at the Academy’s Concert Hall, one in 2016 and the other in 2014.

Mak is currently also a part-time huqin tutor at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He was formerly the concertmaster of the Yao Yueh Chinese Music Association and the Academy Chinese Orchestra, and Zhonghu Principal of the Hong Kong Youth Chinese Orchestra. As a soloist, he has performed with many renowned conductors and virtuosi, including conductor Wang Fujian in Birds Returning to the Woods for gaohu and orchestra; in the erhu concerto A Journey across Time with Hong Kong pianist Leung Chi-hin; in the erhu and violin double concerto Tranquility and Purification with the renowned violinist Pekka Kuusisto; in the gaohu concerto The Legend of the Merlion conducted by Hong Xia; in the erhu solo The Great Wall Capriccio conducted by Liu Ju; in the double erhu concerto Ode to Hero • Ode to Love with the Yao Yueh Chinese Music Association; and in Mountain Ballad for double erhu and orchestra with the renowned erhu virtuoso, Zhao Hanyang. Apart from these, he has been on tour to Australia, Finland, Russia, Sochi, South Korea, Singapore, mainland China, Taiwan and Macao for performance and artistic exchange.

Date: March 25, 2021
Time: 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Venue: CMA Lecture Theatre (LTL)