The concert will have two sets with Xiaofen Min performs traditional Chinese Pipa music and a collaborative effort with Paul Margolis and John Shock.
Photo credit: Scott Friedlander
Tickets: $17 in advance/$20 at door/$10 full-time student with ID
John Shock and Paul Margolis have been playing music together since 1987, and have been at the forefront of the Baltimore roots music scene with such seminal bands as Two Legs, The Polkats, and The Stone Hill All-Stars.
Shock and Margolis have backed up numerous national and regional acts, including Sleepy LaBeef, Jorma Kaukonen, and Greg Kihn. In the early 1980's, Margolis performed Chinese orchestral music and traditional Chinese music up and down the east coast with Tong Kin Woon. At the urging of his neighbors, Margolis stopped playing the er-hu in 1983.
Hailed by The New York Times as “a pipa player like no other” and the Village Voice as an artist who “has taken her ancient Chinese string instrument into the future,” Min Xiao-Fen is a master of the pipa, a four-stringed, pear-shaped lute with a 2,000-year history. Born in the ancient capital of Nanjing, Ms. Min learned to play the pipa from her father, Min Ji-Qian, a respected professor and pipa master. At the age of 17, she was selected by the Nanjing Traditional Music Orchestra of China and spent ten years as its principal pipa soloist. She won first prize at the Jiangsu National Pipa Competition.
Known for her virtuosity and fluid style, Min has expanded her instrument's possibilities as an element for contemporary composition, tacking fluidly between the extended techniques of free improvisation, jazz, full-on noise and contemporary classical vocabulary. Her music interweaves traditional music, regional operas and Taoist music with John Cage, jazz and blues. Her works transcend borders with their own brand of cutting-edge fusion. Min’s treatments of jazz standards by Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington, mixed with some of their historical counterparts in 1930s Shanghai nightlife repertoire, led her to be the first Chinese musician invited to perform in a Jazz at Lincoln Center program. Her special interest in trumpeter Buck Clayton’s visits to Shanghai in that time led to her 2014 program “From Harlem to Shanghai and Back” with her Blue Pipa Trio. On her latest solo set, “Mao, Monk and Me”, Min investigates the deep and unexpected connections between the jazz standards of Thelonious Monk and Chinese music. She has performed with and premiered the work of such noted composers as Randy Weston, John Zorn, Derek Bailey, Tan Dun, Wadada Leo Smith, Jane Ira Bloom, Philip Glass, Daniel Schnyder and sound & visual artist Christian Marclay, and many others. She made an appearance on Björk’s album, Volta, and later performed as Björk’s special guest at Madison Square Garden, the Apollo Theater and Radio City Music Hall in New York. As a composer, Min received a commission for "Return of the Dragon" from The Kitchen. She was a featured composer and solo performer in "Blue Pipa" for the American Composers Orchestra's Composer Out Front series. Her "Dim Sum" was premiered and performed at Interpretations, the Undead Jazzfest and WQXR-FM New York Public Radio. Ms. Min has been a curator and artist residency at The Stone, the Museum of Chinese in America in New York, the Creative Music Studio and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Min is the founder of Blue Pipa, Inc. (www.bluepipa.org). She currently lives in New York City.