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Taipei Traditional Arts Festival to continue pushing borders

By Psyche Cho
Staff Reporter

2011 Taipei Traditional Arts FestivalTraditional arts are no longer equivalent to old-fashioned tricks as the 2011 Taipei Traditional Arts Festival continues to push forward the borders between the traditional arts and other genres of art this year.

“This year’s edition offers a wider selection of performing forms, ranging from ensembles to Nanguan music,” said Chung Yiu-kwong, conductor of the Taipei Chinese Orchestra (TCO), the organizer of the event, in a press conference March 29 in Taipei.

“As it runs up to its 24th straight year, the festival keeps focusing on cross-border experiments,” said Hsieh Hsiao-yun, Commissioner of the Taipei City's Department of Cultural Affairs.

New forms are what the organizer always wants to challenge, and the program will open with a Nanguan performance presented by the Han-Tang Yuefu Music Ensemble (HTYF) April 1 in Chungshan Hall.

Adapted from a Chinese myth, In the Beginning (盤之古) incorporates Nanguan music, Li Yuan dance, Taichi, and even the rarely-seen ancient instrument Bianzhong, a set of bronze bells.

The set of Bianzhong preserved in Chungshan Hall is one of only three duplicates in the world of the Zhong bells evacuated from the tomb of Marquis Yi, located in today’s Hebei Province, China, in 1978.

“The audience will be able to appreciate the simple and unsophisticated sounds of the instrument, which dates back 2,400 years,” said Chen Mei-0, founder of the HTYF.

To complement the play, multi-media technology will also be used to create the ancient time-space atmosphere of mythological China.

Another visual feast is Adventures in Zhang Daqian’s Masterpieces (音畫大千) , which features a combination of Chinese music and the late water-ink master Zhang Daqian’s paintings on stage.

Holding to the belief that art should be at no distance from anyone, several free theater programs, including Taiwanese opera, Beiguan performances and puppet shows, will be presented in the plaza of Chungshan Hall beginning May 7.
Please visit http://english.tco.gov.taipei for more information.