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Yunnan ensemble to play traditional Dongjing Music

"Ancient Vernacular Music: Traditional Regional Music of China Series 2004 - Dongjing Music of Mengyang, Honghezhou, Yunnan", will be held on October 10 and 11 (Sunday and Monday) at 8pm at the Theatre of the Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre and the Studio Theatre of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre respectively.

The concerts, presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, will be performed by the Mengyang Ancient Music Ensemble of Honghe, Yunnan, in two parts, "A Ceremony to Honour Confucius" and "Dongjing Music".

Yunnan Dongjing music was originally Taoist music. During the Jin and Yuan dynasties towards the end of the Southern Song dynasty, the first emperor Yuan Taizu invited a Taoist priest, Qiu Chuji, to discuss scriptures. At that time, the Southern Song dynasty was in respite and the balance of power was maintained between it and the Jin and Yuan dynasties. Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism shed their differences and developed in harmony. Dongjing music then came into existence.

During the Ming dynasty, Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang sent the Jiangnan army, under the command of Fu Youde, on an expedition to Yunnan. After the conquest, a large number of officers and juniors from Jiangnan stayed behind. Hence the Jiangnan string and wind music was brought into Yunnan. Including Taoist music, Buddhist music, ancient music, court music, operatic music and narrative music, dongjing music represents a fusion of the philosophies of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism as well as traditional ancient music. There are slight differences in the set tunes and styles in different areas of Yunnan.

Mengzi City of the Honghe Prefecture, known as Mengyang in ancient times, was a place of strategic importance in the history of Southern Dian and was renowned for its thriving literary atmosphere. The transcendence of Buddhist and Taoist music as well as the elegance of Confucius music can also be perceived in them. Moreover, they have the idyllic appeal of national folk music. Performers play dongjing music with their body and mind in union, while the audience also find their minds broadened and bodies invigorated.

A subsidiary of the Mengzi Senior University, the Mengyang Ancient Music Ensemble of Honghe, Yunnan, is a dongjing performance group set up spontaneously by the community. In 1983, the ensemble's dongjing cassette tape won third place in the National Broadcasting Classical Music Competition and the championship for the area of Yunnan Province in the same competition. In 1988, it won the championship in the Yunling Folk Music Parade in Kunming. In 2000, the ensemble won the Gold Orchid Award given by the Kunju and Ancient Music Research Society of Kunming and was praised by music experts for its "authentic traditional ancient music".

Tickets priced at $150 and $90 for Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre and $150 for Hong Kong Cultural Centre are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (limited tickets for students and CSSA recipients available on a first-come, first-served basis). A 10% discount is available for purchase of tickets for this concert with "Traditional Folk Music of Fujian - Nangyin of Quanzhou, Shifan Music of Fuzhou and Chanhe Music" (November). A 10% discount is offered to Friends of LCSD performing venues.

In addition, a free exhibition, "Dongjing Music of Mengyang, Honghezhou, Yunnan" will be held from September 27 to October 17 in the Foyer of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre (HKCC).

Moreover, several talks will be held during September and October. On September 30 (Thursday) at 7.30pm at Room AC1, 4/F Administration Building, HKCC, Dr Luo Minghui, tutor of the Chinese Civilisation Centre, City University of Hong Kong, will speak about "Dongjing Music, Yunnan". Another talk will be held on October 9 (Saturday) at 2.30pm at the same place. Speaker Cao Zixi, Concertmaster of the Mengyang Ancient Music Ensemble of Honghe, Yunnan, will talk about "The Unique Dongjing Music of Mengyang, Honghezhou, Yunnan". The last talks are co-presented by the City University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and will be held on October 8 (Friday) at 10.30am at the R6143 of the Chinese Civilisation Centre, Amenities Building of CUHK and the same day at 7.30pm at the Disposition Hall of the Centre for the Arts, HKUST. Members of Mengyang Ancient Music Ensemble of Honghe, Yunnan will talk about "Yuuan Dongjing Music - The Music of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism". The talks are in Putonghua and free for admission with limited seats.

For programme enquiries, call 2268 7321, and for ticketing enquiries and reservations, call 2734 9009. For Internet bookings, go to . For credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999. Visit for more information on the programme.

Ends/Tuesday, September 7, 2004
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