This is my third major concert commission involving the guzheng, or Chinese zither. Commissioned by the Ames Town & Gown Chamber Music Association, and sponsored by the Zheng-Durbin family, the Quintet for Guzheng and Strings combines the expressiveness of a 3000-year-old Chinese folk instrument with the familiar sound of a modern string quartet.
The piece had its premiere on May 8, 2022 in Ames, IA and was performed by guzheng artist Anwei Wang and The Telegraph Quartet.
The piece celebrates several things: the 50th anniversary of the Ames Town & Gown Chamber Music Association; the connection between that organization and its hometown of Ames, Iowa as well as Iowa State University; and the spirit of internationalism that underlies the Association’s artistic programming.
The Quintet merges the sounds of American and Chinese folk music, with passages suggesting both Americana as well as China’s centuries-old guzheng music tradition. It’s my hope that this piece can help introduce audiences to the unique sound of the guzheng in an intimate chamber music setting.