During last several days Lunlun Zou has traveled through major cities of Southern China and met with guzheng makers and guzheng students.
Meeting with the Master and his Son
First stop on her trip was Shanghai. On 4-7 April she held extensive discussions with renowned guzheng maker Xu Zhen Gao, who is also known as the father of guzheng. Lunlun has hand-selected 3 guzheng instruments, judging by their sound, appearance and quality of construction. Later that evening master Xu Zhen Gao and his son master Xu Ting Dong have signed the 3 instruments with their names, date and personal dedication to each of the customers. These very special instruments were ordered through Lunlun Zou by admirers of Master Xu from Canada, New Jersey and Hong Kong.
Lunlun Zou is the exclusive agent for Master Xu and Son Co., a shop of Xu Zhen Gao and his son Xu Ting Dong. They manufacture top quality guzhengs and guqins and also welcome custom orders. Their focus is on preserving the tradition and art of crafting Chinese instruments. Unlike other huge instrument super-factories, their small shop is concerned about quality, not quantity. Their instruments are made with passion, care, love and attention to detail. Each instrument is personally made by Master Xu and his son. Most recently, Lunlun Zou and Peter Kahl have been cooperating with Master Xu and Son Co. in an effort to design new instruments.
Free Lessons in Shanghai
While in Shanghai, Lunlun Zou visited a music store of Ms. Li Ya Wen and gave free lessons to several Shanghai students. Lunlun’s visit at the store was an eagerly awaited event.
Second stop on Lunlun’s journey was Yangzhou, ancient city famous for beautiful gardens and large concentration of guzheng manufacturers. There she met with Mr. Liu, the director of Yayuin Guzheng Ltd. and Lunlun’s outstanding student, 9-year old Panting from Baoying city.
Baoying lays 100km away from Yangzhou. Panting and her father Mr. Panxiang got on the bus in Baoying at 6:20 AM and arrived in Yangzhou at Lunlun’s hotel 3 hours later. Their trip was far from pleasant for Panting, as she experienced an upset stomach during most of the bumpy bus ride.
At last, it was 9:30 AM and with tears in their eyes they united with Lunlun.
The weather of the spring season was exceptionally favorable. Sun shone high on blue sky, slight wind was moving blossoming branches of trees. Lunlun, Panting and her father carried guzheng and chairs to a beautiful garden, where Panting demonstrated great progress in her skills. Lunlun attentively observed Panting’s play and made suggestions to help her realize her dream to one day become a guzheng virtuoso. Lunlun commented: “Panting has improved dramatically since last time I met her. Her fingers are stronger and better controlled. The resulting sound is brighter and happier.”
Talent and Hard Work
Lunlun is very honored to have such talented student as Panting. Lunlun takes every opportunity to give Panting guidance – whether by phone, e-mail or by video over the Internet. This past encounter between Panting and Lunlun was only the second face-to-face meeting, but already, Panting feels great admiration and respect for Lunlun’s instruction. Besides their artistic connection, Lunlun and Panting are great friends and Panting calls Lunlun a godmother.
Lunlun Zou cannot take full credit for Panting’s virtuosity. The one who bears full responsibility is Panting’s father, Mr. Panxiang. He introduced Panting to playing guzheng at age six. Mr. Panxiang himself is a skilled guzheng musician. It was his dream to teach his daughter an exceptional skill, which would be admired by people in her town, province, and perhaps even by whole China.
Panting’s virtuosity was not a gift from heaven. It was, and it is being earned with daily effort of many hours each. Each and every day, weekday and weekend, Panting devotes all of her spare time after school to playing guzheng, practicing and listening to recordings of other guzheng musicians.
Panting’s dream is to one day study at the Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and eventually continue at the Hong Kongs Academy for Performing Arts. This may remain only a dream, as not every talented child in China has the means to make such dream come true. Lunlun Zou prays that the stars in Panting’s future will align in her favor.