|Liu Fang's Passionate Pipa|
Paula: What is your musical training and background?Liu Fang: My mother is an actress of Dianju (similar to Peking opera). I had the chance to listen to music even before I was able to speak. My mother always took me with her to rehearsals and sometimes also to the performances. I always sat there quietly during the performances and never made trouble for my mother, because I was very much attracted to the music, the singing and dancing on stage. When I was five years old, my mother began to teach me to play the Yueqin (a moon-shaped lute playing with a plectrum). When I was six years old, she bought me a pipa, and I began to learn the instrument. My teacher was Prof. Zheng Qinrong from the Yunnam Institute for the Arts. I love the instrument and made fast progress. I gave my first public performance when I was nine years old, and began to receive several prizes for provincial and national competitions. Meanwhile, I got the chance to perform with different performing troupes in many concerts, including a concert for the Queen of England. In 1990, when I was 15 years old, I went to study at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where I studied the pipa and guzheng, and got systematic training in Chinese music in general and had intensive contact with Western classics. Upon graduation, I went back to my hometown of Kunming, working as a pipa soloist at the Kunming Music and Dance Troupe. At the beginning of 1996 I moved to Canada with my husband and have been living in Montreal. I must say that I feel very happy to be in Canada. The audiences are great and open-minded. Before I came to Canada, I never thought I could live on my music in the Western World until my first concert in Montreal in 1996. I realized that my performance can touch the heart of so many people. This gave me immense courage to continue my career as pipa soloist. Later on, my husband quit his job and became my manager. I began my international career. Thanks to the support from the Canada Council for the Arts, my career has been developing very rapidly. By now I have given four European tours and performed at many festivals across Canada and several concerts in the USA and Columbia. Radio-Canada and the CBC have also given me great support. Six concerts were recorded in the last three years by Radio-Canada and one was recorded by Radio-France. I had also the chance to perform on TV and for film music. I am very happy to premiere the pieces composed by Canadian composers such as Murray Shaeffer, Melissa Hui and Chantale Laplant. I had the chance to perform with the Japanese Chamber music ensemble - Nishikawa Ensemble and premiered several pieces composed by David Loab (USA), Diago Luzuriaga, Yoshiharu Takahashi (Japan). I have gotten the chance to perform with symphony orchestras and perform pipa concerti composed by Tan Dun and Zhou Long. I also had opportunity to collaborate with master musicians from India, Japan, Vietnam and the Arabic countries. This gives me great possibilities to explore the musical languages. Indeed, I had wonderful experiences working with them. I am now the featured artist of the Philmultic Management & Productions Inc. (Montreal, Quebec, Canada).
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