Hsuan Ma performs Chinese folk songs at the China Institute
The final event of the year for the Arts & Cultures division of the China Institute, last week members of the Jing Daily team attended an evening of Chinese folk songs performed by soprano Hsuan Ma and pianist Wei-En Hsu in New York. Charting the historical path from folk songs to "art songs" in China, the performance combined the two musical styles, presenting a contemporary twist on traditional songs.
Ma and Hsu began the evening with renditions of Chinese folk songs such as Jasmine Flower (茉莉花), Feng Yang Flower Drum (凤阳花鼓) and Love Song of Tea Mountain (康定情歌), traditional songs known throughout China. The artists then performed versions of well-known ancient poems through traditional art song styles, such as Three Poems by Wang Wei (王维), Adagio of Resonance by Li Qingzhao (李清照), and Red Bean Song by Cao Xueqin (曹雪芹).
Wrapping up the event, Ma and Hsu entertained guests with several modern Taiwanese art songs, such as It is Again those Light Clouds (也是微云), Walking Alone in the Rain (雨中独行) and Artiste (戏子), combining Peking Opera with more contemporary art song styles. For the benefit of non-Chinese speakers in the audience, soprano Hsuan Ma explained the background and content of each song.
Soprano Hsuan Ma began her musical studies with piano at the age of four and voice studies at the age of twelve. After earning her BFA in Music Performance and Music Education at National Taiwan Normal University, and Master of Music at New York University, Ma has participated in many international competitions and performed at recitals as a soloist throughout the US, Asia and Europe. Recently, Ma appeared as a soloist in the play Kid Shamrock at the Atlantic Theatre and appeared at Citi Field's Chinese Cultural Night in New York City. Pianist Wei-En Hsu, also a conductor and composer, is the winner of the 2012 Los Angeles Liszt International Piano Competition.