STUDENT FLIES FROM GERMANY FOR LESSONS WITH LUNLUN ZOU

Foreign students at Lunlun Zou‘s studio are not an uncommon sight. However, most recent visit of a student from Germany deserves a mention.

Fourteen year old Norman Bravo Sazo is not a typical German kid. Unlike most of his peers who are easily influenced by television and foreign films, Norman has chosen to follow his heart. Norman can tell what is beautiful, what music to listen to and what music to play. Chinese music and Chinese instruments are Norman’s choice.

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Norman is enjoying his new custom guzheng, which he purchased from Lunlun Zou.

For the past 2 years, Norman has been learning the art of playing guzheng and erhu with Zhengfang Zhang in Stuttgart, Germany. Eventually, his love for Chinese culture has brought him to visit Lunlun Zou in Hong Kong, buy a very special custom guzheng and take several lessons.

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Norman enjoyed interacting with Lunlun Zou’s students.

Continuously for 3 days Norman has been a student at Lunlun’s studio and eagerly learning new techniques and new songs. Being exposed to such stimulating environment, Norman felt inspired to practice harder and for longer periods of time.

Norman demonstrated his skill in front of other Lunlun Zou’s students and everyone was very impressed. This was a proof that his teacher in Germany, Zhengfang Zhang, is doing a great job.

Besides the joy of teaching Norman, Lunlun Zou enjoyed having the opportunity making an acquaintance with his mom, Paula Royce-Bravo Sazo, a professional violinist with the Nationaltheater Mannheim. Their visit was one to remember.

Mannheim, Germany, 12 June 2005

Although it is not my practice to make trusted contacts over the internet, I am glad I did in the case of Lunlun Zou.

Having been in the music profession as a violinist in an excellent opera orchestra for 25 years and a private teacher for even longer, I have been deeply impressed with the high degree of authority demonstrated by Ms Zou in all aspects of the art of guzheng. She and her husband have donated much time and effort not only in providing us with a first class instrument at a very reasonable price, but also in encouraging my son to develop his potential by spending generous amounts of time with him during our three-day visit to Hong Kong from Mannheim, Germany, where I have been promoting classical Chinese music performance on original instruments.

She has also been careful to strike a balance in her teaching by allowing him to play according to his own style, yet giving necessary musical intelligent tips without stifling his individuality. She imparts a positive motivation making students want to work harder and excel to new heights.

She is also a very sociable teacher, encouraging students to play together, which is very important later on in ensemble playing.

We are very grateful to Lunlun for her work reaching out to the world with new developments in raising the art of guzheng to new heights through knowledge of repertoire, what makes a good instrument and strings, technique, various styles and schools of playing, teaching, performing, making contacts with other leading international guzheng authorities and composers, and her openness for new ideas and styles.

Her own playing is executed using a wide dynamic range, pulling a very full sound coupled with a high degree of virtuosity as well as freedom of movement and expression within the rhythmic context of the works she plays.

I look forward to having her and Peter as a future guest performers and teachers here in Mannheim, Germany for our developing Chinese music program.

Sincerely,
Paula Royce-Bravo Sazo

LUNLUN TOURS SOUTHERN CHINA

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.

Emotional Meeting

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.

LUNLUN PERFORMS FOR ALAIN MIKLI

Lunlun Zou is a favorite performer at private parties of Hong Kong stars and world-renowned designers.

The name Alain Mikli is well known to all who follow the trends of fashion or know anything about beautiful eyewear. For many years, Mikli has been associated with stylish, attractive, and innovative designs. Paris and Hong Kong sight-impaired professionals cannot imagine life without Alain Mikli.

Alain Mikli cannot imagine a party without Lunlun Zou.

The party, a grand launch of Alain Mikli’s newest design PACT took place on 21 March in the exclusive Bel Air Pavilion in Hong Kong. The star-studded evening included Hong Kong celebrities Zhong Zhen Tao, Guan Zhi Lin, Liu Jia Ling, who made sure that excitement wouldn’t stop.

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Lunlun Zou: “I choose Alain Mikli.”

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Lunlun Zou and her band kept the Alain Mikli crowd in awe.

Centerpiece of entertainment was Lunlun Zou’s performance. She and her band kept Alain Mikli’s audience at awe – by masterful interpretation of Chinese traditional songs, as well as Lunlun’s own compositions.

Alain Mikli’s party was an event that’s difficult to forget, especially when it is the talk of the town, with coverage in major entertainment magazines and newspapers.

LUNLUN PROMOTES GUZHENG AT THE 2004 LKF CARNIVAL

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Lunlun Zou with her Brazilian fan

During the past weekend, Lunlun Zou has been promoting Chinese traditional music and the guzheng instrument at the 2004 Lan Kwai Fong Carnival in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong quarter Lan Kwai Fong is very famous and popular, not only among western tourists, but also among Hong Kong residents, whether they are local Chinese or immigrants from the western hemisphere. Yes, Hong Kong has very large population of immigrants from USA, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Netherlands and other countries. Lan Kwai Fong is located in the city center, has large concentration of bars and entertainment establishments. Lan Kwai Fong stands out for its modern architecture and exciting atmosphere.

Lunlun has been stationed at a booth in Lan Kwai Fong, where she has been meeting with her fans from Brazil, Hong Kong and other countries, selling her CDs, signing autographs and answering questions about guzheng.

During the evenings on Saturday and Sunday Lunlun has given recitals in the Lan Kwai Fong Amphitheatre to bewildered audience.

LUNLUN PERFORMS AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTRE

For the past 3 days Lunlun Zou has been performing with her fusion band Gliss at the World Trade Centre in Causeway Bay.

Lunlun’s band Gliss has received warm welcome from Hong Kong audiences. The concerts have been covered daily by local newspapers. Chinese television station Phoenix will broadcast the concert on 22 October 2004 at 19:00 o’clock, and on 23 October at 23:00 o’clock. (Phoenix TV is available in China, Hong Kong and through satellite coverage in 56 countries.)

Three more concerts at the WTC are scheduled for the weekend of 22 October 2004.

Enjoy viewing these short music videos recorded during this performance:

INTERNATIONAL GUZHENG CONFERENCE

From 23 till 25 August 2004, city Yangzhou was the host of the 5th International Guzheng Conference (photos). Attendees included honorable guzheng masters, teachers, students, guzheng manufacturers, press, and Yangzhou city officials.

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Lunlun Zou with Xu Zhen Gao

Lunlun Zou was also present, as this was a very important event of the guzheng world and an opportunity to meet face to face with friends and colleagues, exchange ideas, share experiences and opinions. Equally inspiring was to meet with guzheng manufacturers from Yangzhou, Shanghai and other parts of China, see and touch their latest products and talk about the intricacies of guzheng manufacturing.

Lunlun Zou was exhilarated to meet with Master Xu Zhen Gao who is often refered to as the father of guzheng.

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Lunlun Zou addresses the conference
Lunlun took the opportunity and toured the Yayun Guzheng Ltd. and the Feitian Ltd. factories of Yangzhou, where many of today’s guzheng instruments are manufactured. She shared with them her opinion about the state of the market, customer needs and gave ideas about possible improvements. Because of her unusual playing style, Lunlun has much stricter requirements for guzheng than most other musicians. The director of Yayun Ltd., Mr. Liu, was thankful to Lunlun for providing valuable insight.

Echos of the Cultural Revolution

It may seem, that news has difficulty to travel into remote areas of China. Perhaps some people weren’t told that the Cultural Revolution has ended, perhaps it’s impossible to undo the damage to brainwashed minds.

It felt eerie, as if someone has wound the clock 40 years back into time China cannot be proud of. In fact, what happened was only a proof that destructive effects of the Cultural Revolution live on.

During the guzheng playing demonstrations on the first day of the Conference, the ninth participant came to the stage and introduced himself humbly with tremulous voice and frightened expression in his face: “My name is Gao Baijian. I am from Nanhai county of Guangdong Province. I am nobody. I am not an expert in playing guzheng. I am only an amateur and I haven’t received any professional training. However, last year I had a sudden inspiration to compose a song ‘Homesick’. Today I will demonstrate my incompetence before you. Every expert, scholar, professor, classmate and comrade, please criticize me!” Then he deeply bowed and with tremulous hands proceeded playing .

Extraordinary Performance

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Lunlun Zou with Mr. Liu, the director of Yayun Ltd.
In the guzheng playing sessions of the conference, many scholars and experts demonstrated their skills and shared anything they thought worthwhile and interesting.

On 23 August, Ms. Su Xiuxiang from Taiwan and her students had shown four-hand playing (face-to-face on a single guzheng). Although their performance “Lake Music” wasn’t without fault, they demonstrated a valid approach, especially useful when there is a shortage of instruments.

Many speakers presented their papers during lectures. Some scholars believe that the teaching and playing of guzheng should not remain stagnant, but rather evolve naturally. The extraordinary performance by Lunlun Zou was a good demonstration of highly evolved playing style. On 25 August Lunlun Zou stood in front of the audience and played only to be frequently applauded. Many people were moved and commented: “It is very exciting to see Master Zou’s show. This is the most beautiful, and touching performance we have seen in a long time.”

Free Guzheng Lesson

Lunlun’s performance at the Conference on 25 August also made a tremendous impression on 9-year old guzheng student Panting from Baoying near Yangzhou. Panting has decided she must meet with Lunlun Zou in person. She has started searching the exhibition rooms at the conference, all nearby restaurants and hotels. Finally, 4 hours later, she discovered Lunlun having tea in the lobby of the New World hotel. Panting approached Lunlun and asked her for a short lesson. Lunlun agreed and spent over an hour with Panting . At the end of the lesson Lunlun Zou agreed to become Panting’s long distance teacher and give her free lessons over the Internet.

Lunlun performs at the Yangzhou Conference

Guzheng lesson with Panting (2004)

Photos from this event can be seen here.

SOUND OF MOONLIGHT CONCERT

After years of jamming with western musicians, Lunlun Zou, the famous Chinese guzheng artist eventually debuted her fusion music in a concert on Hong Kong soil.

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Lunlun Zou performing at the HK Polytechnic.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University concert hall was packed on that evening with artists, musicians and guzheng music lovers from Hong Kong and overseas. The concert was very well received and regarded as a breakthrough in traditional playing. Lunlun introduced a refreshing new style and proved to the audience that guzheng has more charm and potential than they believed.

Lunlun invited her musician friends (guitar, saxophone and flute) as well as some of her students (piano, guzheng and drum) to participate.

THREE SISTERS

Sorry, this article is available only in Chinese language.