Running at SOAS for over fifteen years, the group has been very active in recent years, meeting weekly during term times and performing and conducting workshops in SOAS, and in schools, festivals and museums elsewhere. We thus perform for both formal SOAS events (such as SOAS China Institute events, Graduation, SOAS Festival and Open Days, as well as functions and conferences for various departments) and run workshops and performances elsewhere both in London (including at the V&A, Maritime Museum, Notting Hill Carnival, Leicester Square Buddha's Birthday Festival etc), and sometimes further afield . We represent SOAS on each of these occasions.
In 2014-15 we played many gigs around London (particularly for Chinese New Year). For instance, we collaborated on an ambitious project re-creating Puccini’s Turandot using Chinese instruments (performing in SOAS, Portsmouth, and China Town Community Centre, and the Tete-a-Tete new opera festival). We played for the Confucius Institute language competition final (at the British Library). Following an appearance with DJ Ritu on the Resonance FM radio station we hit the stage at Richmix.
In 2014-15 we also made a major purchase of drums sent over from China, in collaboration with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, to the benefit of all future Chinese music at SOAS. These have already proven their worth in several major concerts (such as the staging of Turandot), and one mid-term goal remains to develop a repertoire and SOAS tradition of the neglected but spectacular folk percussion.
In addition to our regular weekly rehearsals, we also run a series of instrumental workshops (where possible inviting Chinese experts to come in and provide additional training). In previous years guest instructors have included pipa player Wu Man and guzheng player Sun Zhuo.
Our core repertoire is the traditional jiangnan sizhu folk chamber style, but according to occasion we also play other styles and modern numbers and, now boasting an impressive set of Chinese drums, will be expanding training in the shifan luogu percussion repertoire.
We aim to sustain and grow the group: to continue to expand the number of concerts and training workshops that we can provide. We welcome both newcomers and experienced players.