China’s Top Musicians to be Featured in the Empty Choreography Concert at Jordan Hall


Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts


Empty Choreography*玄門步虛

Buddhism and Taoism Temple Music

Featuring the Four-virtuosos of Chinese Wind Instruments


Bao Jian包鍵, guanzi pipe

Hu Jianbing胡建兵, sheng mouth organ

Chen Tao陳濤, dizhu flute

Guo Yazhi郭雅志, suona


Chinese Performing Arts of North America北美中樂團

Saturday, February 2, 2013, 8 PM Concert

6:30 -7:30 PM Pre-Concert Lecture

(Prof. Waifong Loh English translation)


New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall

Tickets: $15-$50, Order online:



1, Ji Xianbin集贤宾(Worthy guests coming together)

Local Taoist music of Hebei 河北province

2, Fanhui Xiang返魂香 (The joss-sticks to call the spirit back)

A piece originally played at Lvzu 吕祖temple (Lvzu吕祖, one of the Eight Immortals in the Legend).

3, Zhongzhong Wuming种种无名 (Anything without names)

Local Taoist music of north of Yanmenguan Shanxi Province山西雁北.


4, Zhou Jintang**昼锦堂 套曲 (The Hall of Incantations)

A suite of Buddhist music of Beijing, discovered first at Beijing Zhihua Temple 智化寺京音乐by Yang Yinliu during the 1960s. The suite contains four labeled tunes as follows:

A. 垂丝调 Chuisi Diao

B. 昼锦堂 Zhou Jingtang (The Hall of Incantations)

C. 醉翁子  Zui Wengzi(A Drunk Scholar)

D.金五山 Jin Wushan(Five Golden Mountains)          

** “Zhou Jintang” is a rarely heard original ancient tune of the “Beijing Zhihua Temple”. The old music preserved by this Temple carries a significant meaning to Buddhist music, ethnic music and Chinese musical history. It has been 26 generations of masters teaching and existed more than 560 years. The original style remains intact.


*Empty Choreography 玄門步虛

From “Reflections on the Taoist term Empty Choreography 步虛 by Prof. Waifong Loh陸惠風


 “If Genesis is concerned about why the cosmos has come into existence, then Laotze and the author(s) of the Diamond Sutra are mainly interested in how (and in what state) the cosmos is in existence. To the Taoists as well as the Buddhists, the ultimate ritual is a ceremony of the non-existence (nature of an inner landscape), an invisible dance accompanied by chanting and instrumental music that manifests the fascinating aspect of emptiness. In other words, reality could be an empty choreography conjured by non-verbal perceptions.”

“In a preface to the 827A.D. edition of the Diamond Sutra, Yang Gao used three musical terms to compare with the three basic elements of Buddhism: ‘The (structure and melody of) music can be compared to Buddha’s teaching; the various (mixture of ) sounds are like a Buddhist’s public practice and private cultivation; and the voices (of singing and instruments) can be compared to Buddha’s nature.’ “Without the music we cannot make the sounds flow and travel; without the sounds we cannot carry the voices; without the voices we cannot manifest the music.” It is noticeable that this analysis considered music as a known entity that could be used to explain Buddhism whose basic tenets were still somewhat unknown to the ninth century readers of the Diamond Sutra. A Yuan Dynasty savant, Zhi-An wrote: ”The Taoists sing about passion and compassion; the Buddhists sing about nature (of all beings); while the Confucians sing about rationality.”

“We often find a great affinity between the beauty of human nature and that of natural forces. In fact it echoes the Taoist’s concept of Empty Choreography. “


Tickets: (Children under 6 not admitted)

$50: VIP Reserved Seats, $30: open seating at non-VIP section, $15: student open seating at non-VIP section

100 free student tickets (age 14 and up) available at

Rush tickets $10 for students and senior, available 6:30 pm on concert day at Jordan Hall Box Office only, 617-585-1260

Order Online:  (no fee)

Email: [email protected], 781-259-8195


The Four-Virtuosos of Chinese Wind Instruments



Bao Jian包鍵, guanzi pipe

A graduate of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, Bao Jian has been awarded as an outstanding performer of the guanzi (a double-reed folk instrument of ancient Chinese origin) through appearances as soloist and chamber musician worldwide. Hailed by The Berlin Daily Post for his “pure hallowed music from the East,” Mr. Bao has enchanted audiences with his virtuosity and poise. He boasts an impressive list of awards includes the 1998 Pro Musicis International Award and First Prize in the 1995 “International Chinese Ethnic Instrumental Competition”. With immense knowledge of classical and folk Chinese music, he is also acclaimed as a major innovator of contemporary works. UNESCO chose his recording of the song “Three Layers of Yang Guan” to be internationally published. His performance of “Lin Li” concerto with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra set new standards for the guanzi . With saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky, he premiered Lei Liang’s “Extend” at the New England Conservatory’s Spring Music Festivals in Jordan Hall. With The Phoenix Symphony, he premiered Xu Zhenmin’s “Mooring at night by the Maple Bridge”. As a recitalist, he has been heard on three continents and is a frequent guest performer at heralded festivals, including the “Festival of Asian Art” in Hong Kong and the “Bao der Weltkulturen” in Berlin. His reputation has earned him mention in “Famous Ethnic Chinese in the World of Arts & Literature”. He is currently an artistic director of the Chinese Performing Arts of North America.


Hu Jianbing胡建兵, sheng mouth organ

Hu Jianbing has been recognized for his artistry as a sheng soloist and composer. He graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music, and joined the Central National Traditional Orchestra of China. He is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. He won the Best Chinese Music Instruments Soloist Competition in Gansu Province. His commissioned piece “Plum Festival” was premiered by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra in 1990, and broadcasted by the Chinese Central Broadcast Corporation. His composition “Fragrant as ever” received Taiwan Original Music Awards in 1993. Chinese Central National Traditional Orchestra presented “The Autumn MelodyHu Jianbing’s music” at Beijing Music Hall in 1997. Hu appeared many times with Yo-Yo Ma on Silk Road Ensemble since 2001.  Hu and Bao Jian performed in Paris 2004 presented by Pro Musicis. In the same year they performed at Carnegie Hall and again the following year for the board of directors of Carnegie Hall. Hu also appeared with ACJW Ensemble, Peabody Museum’s “Olympic Week” concert series, the Museum of Modern Arts, the Cambridge Salon of Harvard University, Seattle Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and many others. The Boston Globe said “he has an impressive command of the sheng and of a broad range of its classical, folk, and modern musical literatures.”


Chen Tao陳濤, dizhu flute

An internationally acclaimed Chinese flutist, music educator, composer and conductor of Chinese orchestra, Chen is the founder and director of the Melody of Dragon, the artistic director and conductor of the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York, and conductor of New Jersey Buddha’s light Youth Chinese Orchestra. He graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in 1986 and has served as a professor in the Chinese music department. Chen has performed throughout the US. His playing can be heard on soundtracks of Hollywood movies including Seven Years in Tibet, Corrupter (with the New York Philharmonic), The White Countess and the PBS documentary Under the Red Flag, the Voice of China, Becoming American and Italian movie “Singing behind Screen”. The New York Times called him a “poet in music” and his playing “a miracle of the oriental flute.” While on tour in Germany in 1989, maestro Herbert von Karajan praised him as an artist who “performed with his soul.”  Chen has been leading the Melody of Dragon collaborating with Midori & Friends Foundation, to develop Chinese music culture in elementary and high schools. His compositions for flute, bawu, and Chinese orchestras have been released on CDs. His new “Mindful of Zen—flute with orchestra” was commissioned by The Council of New Jersey Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage. His flute and drum music “Dream of Dun Huang” was commissioned by Nai Ni Chen Dance Company and World Premiered at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in 2007.


Guo Yazhi郭雅志, suona

In Asia, he was widely known as “THE” best Suona player. Guo graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music, and stayed on as a lecturer. In 1999, he served as the principal Suona of Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. The “Flexible Core of the Suona” invented by him is a great contribution to Suona performance. It solves the problem in Suona’s playing of complicated modulations and temporary inflexions. This invention allows Suona to play in orchestras that use sophisticated and modern arrangements, thus greatly broadening the expressive force of this instrument. Guo is a versatile and charismatic player. Apart from the Suona, he also plays pipe, sheng, piccolo, flute, ocarina, cucurbit flute, saxophone and even ‘leaf’. In 1998, he performed at the welcoming banquet for President Clinton’s visit to Beijing. In April 2007, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra presented a sold-out large-scaled concert titled “Guo Yazhi’s Wind Music World-Legend of Suona” at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. In July 2012, the orchestra held another concert titled “Guo Yazhi’s Wind Music World 2– Raising the Bridal Sedan and Welcoming the Bride”. Chinese opera, modern jazz elements and diversified playing forms were incorporated into the performance, showing his excellent music talent and deep expression of music. He has appeared many times on CCTV’s programs. He charmed and attracted a large group of fans in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and has changed people’s perspective towards the Suona. He has given a new life to this traditional instrument.