Shanjiao Liu's Visit


Oct 16, 2011 NYQS at Elaine's Apartment


Bo Lawergren
Elaine Sheng
Peiyou Chang
Stephen Dydo
Shihhua Yeh
Yuni Han
Ralph Knag

Weijun Wang
Zhiyu Liu
Shanjiao Liu
Chanpen Knag
Ting Liu
Jason Ginsberg
Sue Rissberger
James Yi Zhan
Sam Zhang


Thanks to Zhiyu Liu we were able to meet with her uncle, Shanjiao Liu, one of the 12 recognized guqin masters of China. Mr. Liu spoke about his work and the qin in China. Stephen talked about the Society's recent trip to Taiwan. Mr. Liu then played several pieces, followed by several other players and then he played one final piece

Shanjiao Liu 刘善教

Zhiyu introduced us to her uncle, Shanjiao Liu. Mr. Liu is the chief of Zhenjiang MengXi Qinshe(镇江梦溪琴社) and an expert of MeiAnPai(梅庵派) He then gave a lecture about his work and the qin in China with the help of translation by Zhiyu and Peiyou.

He came to the US to give a concert in Tempe Arizona, which is a sister city of Zhenjiang, China ( as part of Chinese culture presentation. They are not familiar with the guqin, but they think it sounds beautiful.

He told us that UNESCO has included the qin on the list of "the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" ( arts that should be protected. He's recognized as one of the twelve living masters of the instrument. He repesents the southern Mei'An school which is associated with Shandong, the land of Confucious. His father also heped spread the Mei'an school.

He travels all over China and has been influenced by folk music. This has helped his art to be closer to current day feelings. He's also studied other styles.


Where do you teach?

He teaches in a conservatory rather than a university, although he attends conferences at universities. He gives private lessons as well.

What is the role of Guqin schools in China today?

Each school has their own pieces, but often there is study of other styles as well.

What about silk strings?

Silk is best for home use. Metal is used for performance. Silk strings are affordable again and the best ones are from Hong Kong. Silk strings are more sensitive and require more control. Metal has a duller sound and requires a different technique. Qins are louder today then in older times as well. With silk the quality of the qin is more important. The quality of silk strings is worse today than forty years ago. (there was a comment that silk itself may be of poorer quality)

Is qin music becoming more popular?

Yes. Three things are helping:

  1. The UNESCO Heritage declaration has helped get government backing. This has allowed more education and shows.

  2. Higher life styles has made it more affordable

  3. It has prestige

People can make a living from play qin now. There's no money from UNESCO directly though. His job is to raise money for his qin organization. He teaches as well. They do charge for concerts - they usual have several masters to draw a crowd.

He often plays solo but sometimes he has duets with a xiao. Some people do new kinds of music as well as ancient pieces.

The oldest qins from the Tang/Sung dynasty are very rare. There are perhaps thirty in China, but only seventeen are certified. There is one in Washington DC. He does not think that that qins in Japan are as old. Masters will often only sell their ancient qins to skilled players.

Stephen Dydo

Stephen then showed us pictures of their trip to Taiwan. John Thompson, Peiyou Chang, Marilyn Wong-Gleysteen and Stephen represented our society at this gathering. Yuan Jung-ping now as a several hundred year Japanese style house in Taipei that he wants to make into a permanent Guqin exhibition (Qin Dao Guan Taipei Qin Hall on Qidong street) that will replace his mountain place. He's seeking government and private money to make this happen. There was a conference and a concert for fifty people at the Qin Hall on October 1. The next day Jung-ping, John, Marilyn, Peiyou and Stephen gave another for five hundred people in central Taiwan.

Stephen played his electric qin and has loaned it to the museum.

Mr. Liu mentioned that he knows Yuan Jung-ping. He showed him a Song qin. There were lots of nice pictures of our members and our founder.

Shanjiao Liu 刘善教

Mr. Liu then played three pieces:

Lament at Changmen Palace (Changmen Yuan 長門怨) Mei'an style

Mountain Life (Shanju Yin 山居吟) Guangling style

Wild Geese Descend on a Sandbank (Ping Sha Luoyan 平沙落雁)

He said that Ping Sha Luoyan represented the happy life of geese. They were migrating from north to south where it is warmer and better. People wanted to be like the carefree geese; alas the people lived with frequent wars and troubles.

Peiyou Chang 張培幼

Peiyou played Water Flowing over Pebbles (Shishang Liu Quan 石上流泉)

Yeh Shihhua 葉時華

Judy (Shihhua) played Invocation of Wind and Thunder (Feng Lei Yin 風雷引 ) Mei'an style and Phoenix Seeks his Mate (Feng Qiu Huang 鳳求凰) with singing.

Stephen Dydo

Stephen played Autumn at the Frontier (Qiu Sai Yin

Zhiyu Liu

Zhiyu played Moon over Guanshan (Guanshan Yue

Ting Liu

Ting played Mist and Clouds over the Xiao and Xiang Rivers (Xiao Xiang Shuiyun

Sam Zhang

Sam played A Drunken Fisherman Sings in the Evening (Zue Yu Chang Wan

Shanjiao Liu

Mr Liu concluded with Returning Home (Gui Qu Lai Ci

Thanks go to Elaine for hosting this great gathering and to Zhiyu Liu and Shanjiao Liu for making it possible.













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