Southern Scenes: A Double Concerto for Flute, Pipa, and Orchestra

Score title

Southern Scenes: A Double Concerto for Flute, Pipa, and Orchestra


Chen Yi

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Program note

The work is commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Bringham Young University, for Gao Hong (pipa), Linda Chatterton (flute), and the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestra JoAnn Falletta. The world premiere is on Jan. 7, 2018, in the concert Eastern Light in Honolulu, HI, USA.

There are two movements in the work: 1. The Huashan Rock in Guangxi Ningming; and, 2. The Bamboo Dance in Hainan Village. I am originally from Guangzhou City in Guangdong province. The two closest neighboring provinces Guangxi and Hainan are also located in Southern China. I have been fascinated by the absolutely vivid and mysterious rock paintings in Ningming County of Guangxi, and excited by the dazzling and cheerful bamboo dances in villages of Hainan when I traveled to collect folksongs in countryside as a composer. In my double concerto Southern Scenes, all of my pitch materials were drawn from the simple and beautiful folksongs heard in the areas. The featured duet, flute and pipa are interacted in an intimate dialogue, sometimes expressive and dramatic, with colorful support from the orchestra. The pipa is a two-thousand years old pear-shape Chinese lute with four strings and chromatic frets in a range of three and a half octaves.