Sounds of East Asia

PARMA has the honor of working with artists and styles spanning the globe, from the jazzy acoustics of the Caribbean Islands to the grandeur of East European classical traditions. This month, we are spotlighting PARMA music that features sounds from East Asia. From pieces written for traditional East Asian instruments to those inspired by tunes or musical conventions unique to this part of the world, Sounds of East Asia gives a glimpse into the rich musical traditions of this cultural sphere.

 On the Roof of Zhen Chen’s ON & BETWEEN intermingles the sounds of Eastern and Western traditions as each piece tells the story of an immigrant woman arriving from East Asia to America. The pipa, performed by Lin Ma, represents the voice of this central character as she moves through new experiences in America while never losing or letting go of the place from which she came.

Composer Marty Regan focuses his work on expanding the repertoire of contemporary music for traditional Japanese instruments. His Shakuhachi Concerto No. 1, “Southern Wind” features the shakuhachi, an end-blown bamboo flute that was originally used in certain Buddhist sects in meditation practices. Regan’s concerto features the shakuhachi in a contemporary context, connecting tradition with today’s worldwide listeners.

Croatian composer Matej Meštrović composed Chinese Rhapsody off of his album 3 RHAPSODIES after reaching out to various Chinese musicians he knew to send him scores of any music written for pipa, zheng, and erhu. After studying this music extensively, he composed Chinese Rhapsody, featuring each of the aforementioned instruments performed by Tu Shan Xiang, Zhang Pei, and Bai Yu.

From these to Minju Choi’s performance of Ching-Chu Hu’s Asian-influenced piano compositions, a selection of music from the esteemed Hong Kong Composers’ Guild, and more, there is a world of sounds and styles within the realm of East Asian music. Enjoy a glimpse into this world through the PARMA catalog, and be inspired to dive in and discover more of what this musical culture has to offer.

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