GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION

Lunlun Zou Guzheng Studio’s new office warming party, fittingly titled The Grand Opening Celebration, took place this past Saturday, 20 February.

Lunlun Zou Guzheng Studio was formally established by Lunlun Zou in November 2006 as an art school with focus on tuition of Chinese musical instruments. It also boasts a showroom and a store with selection of high-end musical instruments and accessories, including those by boutique luthier Master Xu Zhen Gao and Lunlun Zou.

Although the studio has been in operation for several weeks, feng shui masters advised that 20 February be chosen, the most auspicious day to assure success and prosperity to the business.

Lunlun Zou’s students, friends, business associates and well-wishers have sent in numerous bouquets, making the new office in the “fragrant harbor” ambrosial and festive. French wines, champagne and snacks were served while Lunlun Zou’s students performed to everyone’s delight.

A customer came with cash in her hand and bought one of Master Xu’s guzheng instruments on the spot. According to Chinese superstition, this was a sign of an imminent windfall ahead.

YEAR 2007 CALENDAR

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Year 2007 Calendar

Lunlun Zou has produced a year 2007 calendar to promote the guzheng instrument and bring it closer to the western culture.

This beautiful calendar features guzheng artist Lunlun Zou playing a guzheng in Vienna’s Burggarten, in front of Mozart’s monument. The calendar is printed in full color on a size A1 (59.4 cm X 84.1 cm, or 23.4″ X 33.1″) sheet of heavy glossy paper. Hong Kong and US holidays are clearly indicated.

GUZHENG CLUB’S DECEMBER BARBECUE PARTY

The Guzheng Club’s final performance for 2006 was held at Mr. Li’s House of Music in Aberdeen this past Sunday evening.

In addition to a wide array of freshly barbecued foods (pigeons, calamari steaks, beef and pork steaks, sausages) and year-end fellowship, emcee Carmen Bee gathered the audience of varying ages to enjoy a diverse set of acoustic musical performances following the meal. Ranging from traditional guzheng pieces performed by Master Lunlun Zou and her top students, to classically based original guitar pieces performed by Thomas Schmidt, both children and adults enjoyed an evening of musical wizardry, including an impressive performance by the host, Mr. Li. Guitarist Schmidt praised the abilities of Lunlun’s guzheng students during his performance, and added, “The parents of all of these guzheng students should also be congratulated … for giving their children the gift of music at such an early age.”

Special guests included Mr. Wong, the owner of the large Hong Kong music store chain Greenery Music, who astounded audience with his skill on erhu and dizi, and Ms. Wu Nan, who showed her mastery playing guqin and guzheng.

The grand prize winner of the lucky draw was Ms. Ku who walked away with a brand new DVD player. Others have won digital tuners, music CDs and Lunlun Zou’s guzheng picks.

This gathering was the largest ever with number of attendees at 65.

GUZHENG CLUB’S JULY BARBECUE PARTY

Lunlun Zou and friends had organized another party of the Guzheng Club in Aberdeen.

Although the word “barbecue” was used to name the event, seasonally rainy weather forced the organizers to opt for a wide selection of buffet delicacies instead.

Besides the usual performances by master Lunlun Zou and her guzheng students, everyone enjoyed special appearances by band Jetopa, Hong Kong singer Carmen Wong and drummer Henry Li who flew in from Boston.

Lunlun Zou gave an educational mini-seminar on how to perform on stage, children and adults enjoyed themselves singing.

AFTERNOON TEA WITH GUZHENG

Restaurant Heaven on Earth in Hong Kong’s hippest district, Lan Kwai Fong, proved to be the ideal setting of yet another social gathering of our guzheng club and everyone who loves the guzheng music and guzheng instrument.

It could be said that this small-scale gathering of 33 people was an event of international proportions with many attendees from Hong Kong and others from as far as Taiwan, Singapore and USA.

The party was opened with a welcome note from the club’s director Ms. Ruby Wan, who reminded everyone that GuzhengOne is a non-profit and non-commercial club, whose aim is to organize educational and entertaining social gatherings for those who can attend such meetings personally, and also to provide wealth of information to those members whose access is limited to internet.

The traditional decor of the Chinese-themed restaurant Heaven on Earth helped everyone transcend the boundaries of time and experience the relaxing atmosphere of an afternoon tea at the Chinese imperial court at a time, when guzheng music was reserved only for the emperor.

Such was the atmosphere at this event of GuzhengOne when beautiful guzheng music started flowing. Everyone felt at ease, while sipping hot Chinese tea and nibbling at small refreshments.

Yen Ming Mei opened with Shan Dan Dan Kai Hua Hong Yan Yan, Crystal performed Lake Dongting, Natalie Fishermen’s Joyous Return and Yao Festival Dance. Amy played Qin San Qu, 6-year old Xin Yi played Liu Qing Niang and Lunlun Zou performed Spring returns to snow-capped peaks.

Li Mei Feng performed Liu Yang He, Lunlun Zou’s newest student Mr. Li played Zheng. Singapore’s guzheng master Mr. Ho performed Han Ya Xi Shui and Taiwan’s Mr. Hui Rui played Fang Zhi Mang.

During a Question and Answer session Ruby Wan asked about the proper technique of playing yaozhi and Lunlun Zou answered and gave demonstrations, including difficult excerpts from Zhan Tai Feng.

The event was closed with Lucky Draw and several attendees won prizes, including music CDs and fashionable guzheng picks.

DEBUT RECITAL OF THE INCREDIBLE PANTING

From an unknown small town in China to the world’s most important financial hub, she became the star and the center of attention of Hong Kong’s TV stations and the press, and an instant favorite of millions. This is the story of a 9-year old talented girl by the name of Panting.

Little Panting is a role model to children and adults around the world. Her talent and daily hard work are the reasons why she was able to stand out above others at such young age.

Lunlun Zou discovered Panting in August 2004 during a guzheng convention in Yangzhou, while giving her a free guzheng lesson. Lunlun noticed Panting’s talent and potential.

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After the performance, everybody wanted to have a photo taken with Panting.

During the days, months and years that followed, Lunlun kept in touch with Panting by telephone and e-mail, and used video teleconferencing to help with guiding her talent. Later in April 2005 Lunlun traveled to Yangzhou to give Panting additional lessons.

This year the time has come, according to Lunlun Zou, that Panting was given the opportunity to show her advanced skills in front of highly critical Hong Kong audiences in a debut recital.

The event took place on 21 February 2006 at Sheung Wan’s Civic Center. The concert hall was filled to maximum capacity of 150 seats with guzheng music lovers, guzheng teachers, guzheng students and members of the press.

Panting performed many Chinese traditional classics, and impressed the audience with flawless interpretation of the difficult, communist-inspired Zhan Tai Feng. Among the most enjoyed scores of the event were Kang Ding Qing Ge and Hua Er Yu Shao Nian (Flowers and Children), which she played in duet with Lunlun Zou.

At the program’s end many members of the audience, including children, surrounded little Panting on the stage to congratulate her with successful debut, made friends and chatted. Many people wanted to purchase Panting’s video, which unfortunately will not be available until a few weeks from now.

LUNLUN ATTENDS MUSIC CHINA TRADESHOW IN SHANGHAI

If it is about guzheng, if there is anything to see and if there is anyone from the guzheng industry to meet – Lunlun Zou is there. This year’s Music China trade show in Shanghai was no exception.

First in History

Even before the show started, Lunlun met with masters Xu Zhen Gao and Xu Ting Dong. She was helping out while Peter Kahl was taking lessons from Master Xu Zhen Gao and thus became the first non-Chinese guzheng-making apprentice in the history of the world. Peter Kahl hopes to design and build his own guzheng and offer it to the market during Q1 2006. His effort is closely supervised by both masters Xu.

Health Hazard

The music instrument trade show Music China is only a small part of the monstrous ProLight+Sound trade show. This is the largest music-related trade show, attracting manufacturers and buyers from every corner of the world. For 3 days, from 19-21 October, huge crowds flooded the exhibition halls, making it impossible to walk in a straight line. You even had to clear the way for pizza delivery motorcycles which were driving directly through the crowds. If you were lucky, you could hear music instruments from every direction, if you were not, you were subjected to ear drum-breaking demonstrations of mega-decibell speaker systems, made for rock’n’roll concerts. Yes, the show was a health hazard to the body.

New Products

The Music China section of the show was only a relative oasis. Familiar faces, instruments and sounds made Lunlun feel at home. She paid visit to most instrument manufacturers and carefully examined their products. Some guzheng makers were proudly displaying their approach to innovation of the guzheng instrument. Mr. Liu’s Yayun factory was introducing electronic and key-changing guzhengs. The Dunhuang guzheng factory focused on appearance with their spicy-looking guzhengs in the shape of a surfboard, covered with modern car paint. These will undoubtedly make many adolescents very excited. Only time will tell whose approach will survive the commercial viability test of these instruments.

“Let’s harness the eastern wind of the Shenzhou 6!”

Business has been good for most of the guzheng manufacturers. Everyone seemed to be in good mood, especially in the light of the recent flight of Chinese astronauts into space. Lunlun Zou overheard someone saying: “Let’s harness the eastern wind of the Shenzhou 6 to make the guzheng instrument even better!”

Feeling Disturbed

Rather disturbing was to see the lack of respect of the Chinese manufacturers to intellectual property rights (IPR). Whether this practice is legal or illegal, none of them seem to understand the obvious disadvantages of stealing each other’s designs. By shamelessly making their own products indiscernible from others, they hurt themselves, the original manufacturer, the consumer, and the reputation of the Chinese nation and the guzheng instrument industry in whole. It will be no surprise to see copies of the newly introduced products within few months. Lunlun Zou hopes that one day, China will grow up and put a stop to this immoral practice.

FULL MOON FESTIVAL BARBECUE GUZHENG PARTY

A second informal get-together of GuzhengOne members took place 17 September 2005 in Saikung, Hong Kong, in celebration of the Full Moon (mid-autumn) Festival.

Our friends and club members Sendy and Kam have volunteered to let us use their house and garden to have barbecue, chat with friends, play guzheng and enjoy. Kam together with CY were in charge of the barbecue, making sure that no one went hungry. At the same time, others were chatting, making new friends and acquaintances, putting on makeup and relaxing. Highlight of the party was Lunlun’s guzheng performance.

GUZHENG CLUB PARTY ON LAMMA ISLAND

First informal gathering and a party of those who are and aren’t members of GuzhengOne club, students of Lunlun Zou and others who love the guzheng instrument and Chinese music took place 30 August in Yung Shue Wan on Lamma Island, Hong Kong.

Total of 20 guzheng enthusiasts from Hong Kong and USA have met at the Sau Kee restaurant to talk about their passion for guzheng and listen to live guzheng music.

Besides having a chance to listen to masterful play of Lunlun Zou, others too took turns and played for mutual enjoyment. Party participant from USA, Jennifer, who is a fourth-year student of ethno-musicology at UCLA, entertained with Liu Yang He. Even 6-year old student of Lunlun Zou, Lam Lam, had plenty of courage for her first flawless public performance.

Everyone enjoyed tremendously and already look forward to the next party.