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Beibei Wang with her mallets

Annual Concert 2019

Beibei Wang: Rhythms of the World

London-based young percussion virtuoso comes to Sydney for the Confucius Institute's annual concert on Sunday 22 September with special guests Taikoz and Riley Lee.

Brilliant... an unimpeachable command
The Guardian (2009)
Saying that Beibei Wang can play percussion is like suggesting that Lionel Messi can kick a ball. Her extraordinary gifts as a percussionist—as well as a composer and musical innovator—have seen her rise to international attention in blazingly short time.
Her astounding energy and agility as she moves through a range of instruments and centuries of music has made her one of the hottest acts for both classical music lovers and fans of world music.

Beibei Wang’s Australian debut

Beibei Wang’s appearance in this year’s University of Sydney Confucius Institute’s annual gala concert marks her Australian debut. This prestigious event, now in its eleventh year, invites iconic Chinese musicians working around the globe to create an event in collaboration with leading Australian artists.

Special Guests: Taikoz and Riley Lee

Australia’s very own percussion ensemble, Taikoz and shakuhachi master Riley Lee will join Beibei Wang on stage for a concert of old and new masterworks.

You will experience music that ranges from Li Minxiong’s brilliantly energised Writhing Dragon Leaping Tiger—a virtuoso, almost death-defying, work for percussion soloist—to the trancelike, subtle rhythms and textures of Marimba Spiritual by Japanese composer Minoru Miki. Joe Small’s thrilling 2017 work Propel makes a rare outing and Riley Lee appears as the shakuhachi soloist in haunting composition Cascading Waterfall.

Experience a concert of rare imagination and breathtaking physical musicianship.

Featured artists

Genre-defying percussionist Beibei Wang is an acclaimed international virtuoso percussionist with both Chinese and British musical education background. Beibei has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the classical music world, receiving international praise for her performances. She was listed in the top 50 Chinese musicians in the “Sound of East” project by the Chinese Ministry of Culture, as well as endorsed by the Arts Council, England, receiving an Exceptional Talent visa from British Government. Following a successful world tour, Beibei now leads a traditional Chinese percussion programme at SOAS, University of London.

As a soloist, Beibei has embarked upon a number of hugely successful international tours at many international music festivals including the Edinburgh International Festival, the Lucerne Festival and the Bach Academy Musikfest Stuttgart. She has collaborated with numerous leading orchestras worldwide, including: the BBC Symphony Orchestra (UK), BBC Concert Orchestra, China Philharmonic, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (Germany), Orchestra dell’ Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Italy) the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Canada), and New Japan Philharmonic. She has also collaborated with world-renowned, Grammy and Oscar winning composer and conductor Tan Dun, along with Kent Nagano, Kristjan Järvi, Barry Wordsworth, Muhai Tang and Gil Rose.

Since 2008, at the invitation of Grammy and Oscar winner, world-renowned composer and conductor Tan Dun, Beibei was featured as soloist in his Organic Music Trilogy (Water Concerto, Paper Concerto and Earth Concerto), premiering the Earth Concerto at 2009 Grafenegg Music Festival in Austria with world-renowned conductor Kristjan Järvi and Tonkünstler-Orchester. Recently, she was featured as soloist in a world premiere of new percussion concerto,The Legend of Cowherd and Weaver Girl, written expressly for her by Anthony Paul De Ritis in Boston, US. Most recently, she was featured as soloist, performing the percussion concerto inTears of Nature by Tan Dun, touring China with BBC Concert Orchestra and conductor Barry Wordsworth.

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Since 1997 Taikoz has developed an international reputation for vibrant performances that couple explosive energy and extreme dynamism with refinement and grace. From the most delicate melodies of the shakuhachi to the thunderous impact of the odaiko, Taikoz is simultaneously meditative and free-spirited, primal and dramatic. The ensemble undertakes a year-round schedule of workshops, teaching and performances that have seen them appear on the stages of Australia's finest concert halls, as well as those of Japan, the USA, Paris, New Zealand, Bangkok Taiwan and Abu Dhabi and most recently India, where Taikoz presented Chi Udaka, their collaboration with Lingalayam Dance Company, to critical acclaim. The group regularly appears in the theatres of regional Australia, having undertaken five Australia-wide tours. Taikoz has collaborated with John Bell and the Bell Shakespeare Company, taiko greats Eitetsu Hayashi, Kenny Endo and Kaoru Watanabe, as well as distinguished choreographers Meryl Tankard and Anandavalli. In 2012, Taikoz collaborated with Kodo on a nation-wide tour of Australia. The group has also appeared in concerto works with the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Dresden Sinfoniker in Europe. Taikoz received the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award in recognition of Taikoz's commitment to Australian music.

Taikoz Quartet Performers

  • Ian Cleworth (Taikoz Artistic Director)
  • Kerryn Joyce 
  • Sophia Ang
  • Ryuji Hamada

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Riley Lee first went to Japan in 1970 to work at the World Expo in Osaka. He began playing the shakuhachi in 1971.

He is the recipient of two of the oldest and most venerated lineages of traditional shakuhachi, which can be traced back to the Zen Buddhist komusô, or “priests of nothingness” of the Edo period in Japan. In 1980, he became the first non-Japanese to attain the rank of dai shihan or Grand Master.

Riley is a consummate teacher, performer and collaborator with other musicians of all genres.

Riley’s music is meditation. He frequently gives benefit concerts for Zen Buddhist groups worldwide. His music has been used worldwide in yoga and tai chi classes, and by massage, acupuncture, and other bodywork therapists. Many of his albums are particularly valued by by mothers, mothers-to-be, midwives and others working in pre- and post-natal care.

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The battle between Chu and Han

Chinese traditional drum solo by Beibei Wang

We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of our partners:

  • Confucius Institute Headquarters
  • Fudan University
  • Sydney Conservatorium of Music
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
  • China Southern Airlines
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