World-renowned quartet melds Eastern and Western musical styles

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For 30 years, the Weis Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Bucknell University, has presented artists who are committed to doing their very best work for University and Central Pennsylvania audiences. In addition, the Weis Center embraces the essential experience of sharing with people from different backgrounds, with different life experiences and alternative points of view. This tradition continues as they present The Shanghai Quartet with Qing Jiang, piano 2 p.m. Sunday.

Celebrated for its passionate musicality, impressive technique and multicultural innovations, The Shanghai Quartet has become one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles. While at the Weis Center, they will perform Mendelssohn’s Quartet Op. 12, Penderecki’s Quartet No. 3 (which was written for the quartet’s 25th anniversary in 2008), and Brahms’ Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34.

The Shanghai Quartet is renowned throughout the world, appearing at festivals and concert series in all parts of Europe, Asia, North and South American and Australia. Their work crisscrosses musical genres including traditional Chinese folk music, masterpieces of Western music and cutting-edge contemporary works.

Violinist Weigang Li said the quartet’s unique and elegant melding of Eastern and Western music puts them “in a special position and gives us the important advantage in interpreting and performing a lot of Chinese composers of the past as well as composers of the current generation.” Li believes that this melding of styles adds an unusual dimension to their music as well as forces the quartet to play music very different from their own sound and palate. Li, who was born into a family of well-known musicians in Shanghai, went on to say that the quartet melds these styles as a result of three of the members’ upbringing in China, but later from the influence they received while residing in the west.

The quartet includes Weigang Li and Yi-Wen Jiang, violin, Honggang Li, viola and Nicholas Tzavaras, cello. They have appeared around the world in places such as Carnegie Hall in NYC, the Beethoven Festival in Poland, the Cartagena International Music Festival in Columbia and have been regular performers at many of North America’s leading chamber music festivals. The quartet also currently serves as Quartet-in-Residence at the John J. Cali School of Music, Montclair State University, New Jersey, Ensemble-in-Residence with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and visiting guest professors of the Shanghai Conservatory and the Central Conservatory in Beijing.

During their performance at the Weis Center, the quartet will also welcome Qing Jiang, who has been praised by the New York Times as a “fiery musician” whose playing is “vigorous and passionate.” Jiang has a list of impressive credentials with which to add to the quartet’s already impressive accolades. Li said of Jiang’s addition, “We liked each other’s playing very much and thought it would be great to collaborate with her on this great masterwork from our beloved Brahms. I feel we speak the same musical language and it would be a perfect fit.”

In addition to playing live, The Shanghai Quartet has an extensive discography of more than 30 recordings. These recordings can be purchased by visiting www.shanghaiquartet.com.

For more information, call the Bucknell campus box office at 570-577-1000 or visit www.bucknell.edu/boxof fice.

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