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Master’s student Andy Hecheng Zhang has Erhu Concerto ‘Xian Heng’ premiered in Beijing

Master’s student Andy Hecheng Zhang has Erhu Concerto ‘Xian Heng’ premiered in Beijing

  • Date13 June 2023

Congratulations to RHUL MMus student Andy Hecheng Zhang on being a finalist in a prestigious Chinese composition competition and also for his premier orchestral performance in Bejing.

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Andy Hecheng Zhang, currently completing his MMus (Composition pathway) at Royal Holloway, recently attended a performance of his ‘Xian Heng-Concerto for Erhu and Orchestra’* at the China National Centre of the Performing Arts in Beijing. As part of the National Centre of the Performing Arts Young Composer Programme, on 8 June 2023 the China National Ballet Symphony Orchestra performed Andy’s work, with Yuanhang Xiang performing the solo part for erhu and erquanhu and Lihua Tan conducting.

Concerto for Huqin and orchestra ‘Xian Heng’, composed from April to November 2022, is based on a short novel Kong Yiji in Lu Xun’s novel collection Call to Arms (Na Han), commemorating over one hundred years since its creation in 1918. Through the fusion and contrast of erhu (as well as Zhonghu or Erquan hu) and orchestra, the concerto creatively reflects key aspects of the novel, including its narrative arc, atmosphere, prosperity and decline of the times as well as Kong Yiji and various drinkers in the Xian Heng tavern. The piece integrates and innovates traditional folk music materials from Shaoxing, Zhejiang, and the famous piece ‘The Moon Reflected in Er-quan Spring’ by Hua Yanjun. The concerto combines the structure and theme of traditional symphonic music, creatively exploring the expressivity and technology not only of orchestral music but also the huqin instruments. The music contains a strong national style and dramatic features, the distinct contrast of the characters’ personalities, and thinking about contemporary society. The concerto is like a musical drama presented through instrumental music.

Though Andy started this composition before he commenced his Master’s degree, he received helpful feedback and other support from composition staff in the department. 

*A short excerpt is available by kind permission of the NCPA. Copyright is owned by NCPA and composer, and infringement is strictly prohibited.

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