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Carleton College Presents Chinese Musicians

May 3, 2019 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Carleton College will present two prominent Chinese master musicians from Beijing – Chen Xiangyang and Cao Dewei – who will perform on Chinese traditional instruments including the yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer), and four different Chinese fiddles (erhu, zhonghu, jinghu, and gaohu). They will perform Chinese classical, traditional, and folk music plus a world premiere by an American composer. Joining them for a special performance of a famous Beijing Opera piece will be Tong Shengyuan, a specialist in Chinese opera percussion. The Carleton Chinese Music Ensemble will also perform with them on three pieces – one featuring the erhu and cello accompanied by the  Ensemble, one from Guangdong in southern China, and a third piece written in a musical style from northern China.

Chinese Master Musician Concert and Residency at Carleton College


Wednesday, May 1, 2019


3:30-4:30 pm

Chen Xiangyang, Yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer)

Cao Dewei, Chinese Fiddles (Erhu, Zhonghu, Jinghu,  Gaohu)       

Open Rehearsal

4:30-6:00 pm    

Chen Xiangyang, Cao Dewei, Tong Shengyuan and

Carleton Chinese Music Ensemble

Friday, May 3, 2019


8:00 pm

Chen Xiangyang, Cao Dewei, Tong Shengyuan and

Carleton Chinese Music Ensemble

WHERE: All events will be held at: 

Carleton College

Kracum Performance Hall

Weitz Center for Creativity

Corner of  Third and College Streets

Northfield, MN 55057



(507) 222-4475


Chen Xiangyang

One of China’s top yangqin performers, Chen is currently head of the plucked instruments and principal yangqin performer for the China National Traditional Orchestra. She has also held positions as Director of Instrumental Music at the China Conservatory’s Institute of Continuing Education and postgraduate mentor at the Institute of Art and Media at Beijing Normal University. 

Chen was awarded the “Excellent Performance Award” at the National Traditional Instrumental Music Competition held by the Ministry of Culture in 1982. In 1985, she was awarded the title of “Beijing City Excellent Worker in Culture and the Arts.” In 1987, she won first prize in the first International Jiangnan Silk and Bamboo Competition, and in 1996 she was listed as the First Yangqin Performer in the Ministry of Culture’s assessment of professional achievements in the arts. In 1997, Chen was awarded the highest honor in Uzbekistan’s first Samarqand International Music Competition.

Chen has performed with famous conductors in more than fifty countries throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas. She has participated in large-scale productions with the China National Traditional Orchestra worldwide. Her performance of a yangqin concerto at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing received critical acclaim, and her solo performances have been broadcast numerous times on China Central Television. She has served as a judge for traditional music competitions hosted by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and China Central Television.

Chen was also awarded an “Outstanding Teacher Award,” has published a personal monograph and educational DVD,  recorded many CDs, and published several articles. Her outstanding achievements have been included in the “Library of Chinese Experts and Talent” and “Dictionary of Chinese Experts.”

 Cao Dewei 

Cao is a professor at the China Conservatory of Music in the Traditional Music Department, Director of the String Music Research and Education Department, and a doctoral student mentor. 

Cao won the “Finest Performance”award in the nationwide “Beijing Erhu Invitation Tournament” in 1985, and first prize in the 1987 “International Jiangnan Silk and Bamboo Competition.” He is vice president of the Erhu Society of the Chinese Musician’s Association. Cao has published many books on erhu techniques and performance and has compiled a broad range of educational materials introducing erhu repertoire and teaching students how to play the erhu including “Famous Pieces of Chinese Classical Music,” “Tips from an Erhu Master,” “Resonance of the Strings,” “Master of  Traditional Music: Erhu Recordings of Cao Dewei,“ “Famous Erhu Classics,” “New Music of the Central Plains,” “Chinese Huaxia Chamber Music,” and many other CDs. He has trained a large number of masters students, undergraduates, and professional performers for arts institutions and performance troupes across China and abroad. Many of his students have won gold, silver, bronze medals and excellent performance awards at important national competitions such as the “Golden Bell Award,” “Wenhua Award,” “Tianhua Cup Erhu Competition,” and “Dunhuang Cup Erhu Competition.”

Cao has professionally visited many countries and regions, including the United States, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Egypt,  Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Macao, and Hong Kong. He has held many solo and master-student concerts in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Hunan, Hainan, Shandong, Yingkou, Tokyo, Kyushu, and other locations. Cao’s personal achievements have been recorded in the “Dictionary of Contemporary Chinese Professors.”

Tong Shengyuan 

Mr.Tong Shengyuan studied at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts in Beijing where he majored in Beijing Opera Percussion and studied with the famous educator Mr. Fang Ruishan. After graduating in 1984, Tong began teaching at the Academy and also became a percussionist with the Ethnic Orchestra of China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater, making performances in Japan, Germany, Australia, etc. Mr. Tong is a visiting professor at the China Conservatory of Music and National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, and an arts consultant to the Beijing University of Chemical Technology and Beijing Union University. In 2006 Mr. Tong began his affiliation with the Chinese Musicians’ Association, and in 2013 was accredited as a National First Class Player by the China Ministry of Culture. In 2015 and 2017 Mr. Tong was invited to teach Beijing Opera percussion courses at Ohio Northern University.

Carleton Chinese Music Ensemble

The Carleton Chinese Music Ensemble, under the direction of Gao Hong, was established 12 years ago and has since performed to much acclaim at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Mall of America, University of Minnesota, the Confucius Institute’s China Day 2010 event at Northrop Auditorium, the National Conference for Silk Road Scholars at the University of Minnesota, the ASIANetwork 22nd Annual Conference in Chicago, the Organization of Chinese Americans’ annual Chinese New Year Celebration, Winona State University, University of  Wisconsin-River Falls, the Land O’Lakes Company’s Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Concert Series, The Schubert Club’s concert series Cocktails with Culture, the Flint Hills International Children’s Festival presented by the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, and the Chinese Minghua Language School in St. Paul. Locally they performed the inaugural performance for Northfield Library’s Carnegie Concert Series, at St Olaf College, Northfield High School, Northfield Middle School, and Carleton’s international festival, gallery openings, and Chinese New Year celebrations. They even appeared on a KSTP News broadcast for their performance during the Confucius Institute’s opening ceremony at the University of Minnesota. In 2017, Carleton ensemble members Gus Holley (zhongruan), Gege Zhang (guqin), and Haoyi Wang (guzheng) won gold medals at the 2017 NYC International Chinese Instruments Competition. In 2018, Gus Holley won the gold medal in Beijing at the Liaoyuan Cup Pipa International Competition. He competed with 1300 other players and became the first non-Chinese pipa player in the competition’s history to win a gold medal.



May 3, 2019
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm