Lyrical themes are embellished with silences and majestic tonal nuances.
… the music of Chinese Liu Fang, virtuoso of the pipa, ..., seems
to emerge from the soul with thrilling and total clarity. ” - GEO
magazine (France), 2006.
Thus the “pipa”, which the young Chinese virtuoso Liu Fang plays
with an surreal grace, … and the zither “guzheng", the
other traditional instrument she plays, both emanate the same intangible
sensations, and the same subtleness of evocation. …” - Les
Inrockuptibles (Music magazine for World, Jazz, and Songs), France,
- "... delicate yet sensational,
... without any amplification, Liu Fang presented a concert of nearly two
hours playing Chinese lute pipa and guzheng (a kind of zither) ... a fascinating
experience. With Liu Fang, a great ambassadress of Chinese music has come..."
- Ton Maas, de
Volkskrant, Amsterdam, the Netherland, 29.03.2005.
"... With the wind in
her hair and eyes closed, Liu was the picture of composure and elegance.
...". - Graham Bond Critics,
WOMAD 2004, Reading, UK, July 25, 2004.
"Yes, there was just
one musician, but ten talented fingers!". - Sir Ian McKellen at the
BBC concert, November 7, 2003.
graceful and riveting, ..." BBC
London, November 8, 2003.
a mastery of the movements, and agility, her fingers moving at an incredible
speed. The audience was enchanted, captivated by this splendid sound. While
playing, Liu Fang becomes one with her instrument. … Liu Fang is an
exceptional musician; she represents the charm, the grace, and all the magic
of the East. She plays with such an ease that one forgets the difficulties
of her art and is transported into her world …. " - Olonne-sur-Mer,
le journal Ouest-France, 11 decembre 2004.
ambassadress of charm … The listeners… were listening in a religious
silence inspired by this artist, who approaches interpretation like a sacred
act…One is literally transported in the serene exoticism of the landscapes
that emerge from music that is just as “figurative” as the titles
of the pieces would imply....With a winged grace and extreme refinement,….Liu
Fang draws out pure songs of subtle nuances from her instrument. …
" - VENDEE
MATIN, vendredi 30 avril 2004.
True ambassadress of the art of the pipa and Zheng, …” - La
Liberté de L'Est (Mirecourt, France, 2003)
idea to intercalate between the movements of the "Song of the Earth"
of traditional Chinese music, an echo of the old Chinese poems that inspired
Mahler, could seem contrived. However, with due respect to the purists,
the result revealed itself to be so beautiful, so touching, that it appeared
to be perfectly obvious. The Liu Fang's stunning improvisations on the lute
pipa never interrupted the course of the work; on the contrary, they enriched
it: the contrast between the fullness of the orchestra and the humble tone
of the traditional instrument doesn't fail to evoke the painful fragility
of poems..." - Le Monde de la Musique, No. 282
evening of all grace, poetry, delight and delicacy. … Delicacy: the
word summarizes Liu Fang’s art. A delicacy in the smoothness of her
execution, employing the softness of the traditional melodies to communicate
inner emotion…. On the four strings of the pipa, a kind of pear-shaped
lute, her fingers run, fly, and dance. Her expression, either open-eyed
by the warlike drama or eyes closed by inner emotion, accompanies the notes
which pour out ambitiously. One does not need to be an expert on Oriental
history to appreciate this exceptional concert. …” - Le
Progres (France), 20 novembre 2003.
music, performed here solo, makes us experience a range of emotions, from
naive amazement to warlike violence, from introspective meditation to the
floating dreaminess, from extreme delicacy to energetic impulse. The emotion
always flows masterfully. …” . - Yves Bernard, ICI
- "... But there can be
no overlooking the spectacular instrumental closer that just burns down the
house. Liu Fang on pipa & Farhan Sabbagh on mazhar, an open framed drum,
take off on a supercharged dance blast called "Night of the Bonfire" that
will burn the soles straight off your shoes. ..."
by Barbara Flaska, PopMatters Music Editor,, 11 February 2004 .
- "... This glorious music
is represented here by many artists. Particularly touching is the soft "The
Night of Bonfire," performed on the pipa (picked dulcimer) by Liu Fang, currently
a resident of Canada. Performed with a wisp of percussion by Farhan Sabbagh,
the delicate song races forward to a breakneck tempo by mid-song. Not bad
for an artist in her 20s! ..."
Rough Guide to the Music of China, World Music Network, 2003 .
- "Liu Fang is one
of the most renown pipa players outside of China. ... She possesses virtuoso
technique, grace and a unique empathy toward the music she plays -- whether
it is a traditional folk tune or a modern Western composition. ..." -
François Couture, All Music Guide, 2003.
- "MUSIC - The sound
of silence: Spaces between the notes matter to virtuoso Liu Fang. ...
'Behind every note, there is soul.' During her interview with The Gazette,
Liu proved the point most eloquently when she removed her plpa from her case
and began to play..." - BERNARD
PERUSSE, The Gazette (Montreal), Tuesday, March 26, 2002.
- "... a veritable feast
of alluring sounds, ranging from the eloquent and lyrical to the flamboyant
and percussive. The varied soundscape produced by one player and one instrument
is quite dazzling. Liu Fang’s masterly technique (e.g. tremolo, delicate harmonics,
lyrical tunes, and boisterous percussive effects), as well as the music itself
- which is based on short sections characterized by ever-changing tempos and
dynamics - all evoke an improvised and exciting quality. ... "
Wholenote Magazine, April 3, 2003.
- "Liu Fang is a foremost
representative of the young generation of pipa soloists in combining the taste
for tradition with virtuosity, which enables her to exploit the potential
of her instrument as far as is humanly possible."
- Dr. Lucie Rault:
Traditional Chinese Music, Actes Sud/Cité de la Musique, 2000,
(translated by Phil
- "I think Liu Fang is
a fabulous musician. The first 7 tracks of "Soul of Pipa I" gave
me the feeling of youth and sweetness. The very classical style and the composure
with which she played those pieces certainly revealed her complete control
and confidence in the instrument. Those pieces brought peace and quietness
to the heart, and subsided anxiety, uneasiness with clarity and serenity.
This is not to say that there is a lack of passion in Liu Fang's playing.
However, her multidimensional virtuosity started to usher itself with "Sunny
Spring and white snow", a traditional, yet very challenging ancient piece
of work. The melodic flow of the music mantled the underlying emotional energy
that could lead to a wild eruption at any time. Liu Fang shows off her mastering
of Pipa and music with "The King Chu doffs his Armour". It is hard
to believe that such music could have come from a girl of this young age.
This musical, spiritual, and instrumental encore sounds more like a downpour
of mixed, yet contradictory moods. Liu Fang is never lost or deluded by the
music; instead, she leads, conducts, and guides the music, as well as the
audience, into a virtual world full of colors and conflicts: aspiration vs.
desperation, life vs. death, to succumb vs. to resist. The intricacy is elaborately
and fully interpreted with impeccable technique. The intensive percussions
almost produced smoke out of the strings, while the slower passages echoed
with hopelessness and disappointment. ..." - Guitarscape.com
- "... To simply say that
Liu Fang plays the pipa would be like saying Casals played the cello or Picasso
could paint..." -
Dugg Simpson, artistic director, Vancouver Volk Music Festival,
- "... The musicians ...
and Liu Fang on pipa are all superb players. ... Liu Fang's lyrical and military
styles, exquisite in the speed and evenness of her finger rolls (something
like flamenco guitar, but infinitely more delicate), ... created an unusual
concert experience ..." - Stephen
Petersen, Arts reporter, The Chronicle-Herald, Halifax,
Nova Scotia, Canada, Monday, July 8, 2002, Volume 54, No. 160.
- "... Liu Fang is without
question the greatest ambassadress of the art of the pipa in America and Europe
(Original french: Liu Fang est sans conteste la plus grande ambassadrice de
l'art du pipa en Amérique et en Europe)
Guy Marceau, La Presse(Montreal), Le mardi 26 mars 2002
- "The empress of pipa
- Montreal counts one of the greatest virtuosos of pipa, Liu Fang.
..." -Pierre Cayouette, in
L'actualité, 15 décembre 2001, p90.
- "... She shift nimbly
from sparse passages that allow the pipa's sharp tones to blossom and
breathe, to blistering runs that, in their density, would make flamenco masters
weep ...", -Rupert
Bottenberg, Mirror, Montreal, March 21, 2002.
- "... The pipa entered
alone after a silence, with a pungent clash of chords, ... and made way for
an intimate music of real lyric beauty. ... Soloist Liu Fang played with the
intensity and timing of a great actor delivering a reflective monologue. ...",
- Muisc where East meets West by Robert Everett-Green, The Globe
and Mail, Friday, March 8, 2002.
- "The pipa, the lute
emblematic of Chinese music but possibly of Persian origin, has now one of
its ablest interpreters in the person of Liu Fang. Having lived in Germany,
she is now at home in Canada and on passing through Paris will be offering
us an hour of pleasure. Lucie Rault, a researcher and sinologist at the Musée
de l'Homme, kindly drew our attention to this virtuoso, who in playing becomes
the very soul of her instrument and whose technical prowess has listeners
melt into the music. The lightness and pliancy of the notes draw us into the
compositions, transforming us into jasmine blossom or silver trinkets tinkling
outside a temple in the passing breeze..."
Presented by Caroline Bourgine
on 10th September 2001
(translated by Phil
- "Much has already been
said about Liu Fang's sublime musicality and the exquisite nimbleness of her
masterful fingers. What springs to mind foremost, however, is her unusually
intimate relationship with her first instrument, the pipa. She seems to have
arrived at a tacit understanding with the pipa so that the music plays itself
out from this union as does a pure drama project itself through an actor --
so completely that the player is fully consumed by the art. Liu Fang's music
is indeed the soul of its drama, from the crescendos that rise to great heights
to the most delicately laced melodic notes. In true affirmation of her power
to be one with her instrument, Liu Fang enters the world of the guzheng so
very profoundly as to play her music as if emerging from the earth itself."
- Gabriel Safdie, poet, philosopher (Montreal, QC, Canada)
"...Liu Fang becomes one with her instrument, sometimes with a most delicate
grace, sometimes with a surprising power, evoking feelings of both meditation
and frenzy from the audience. The musician possesses an extraordinary finger
technique and dexterity which frequently astonished the public and raised
admiration from the listeners. If Samson's power lay in his hair, that of
Liu Fang is indisputably in her fingers!"
Critics - INTERNATIONAL
MUSIC FESTIVAL Of QUEBEC
- "... The pipa is
a traditional Chinese string instrument, four-stringed, pear-shaped and resembling
a lute, although there is more space between the frets and fretboard to allow
the player to apply perpendicular pressure to the string for microtonal effects,
something typical of Far-Eastern string instruments. It gives it that special
Oriental “twang." Otherwise it sounds much like a lute with something
of the banjo's dryness and finger-picking technique (but not that metallic).
Liu chose her program from the authentic traditional and “modern traditional"
repertoires. The disc begins with Hua Yan-jun's “The Great Wave Washes
the Beach," one of the classic pipa compositions of the 20th Century,
a gracious, evocative tune. But the highlights are found in Zhen Qi-ren's
“Melody from a Bamboo House" and Wei Zhong-le's “The Moon
Is High." The first one is a contemporary piece that, despite its respect
for musical tradition, takes matters deeper into complexity and originality.
In Liu's interpretation we hear her complementary interests in traditional
and innovative musics. The second is at least a millennium old and calls for
wide amounts of virtuosity through its 13 minutes of duration. The
way the basic themes are ornamented seem to reflect the structure of nature
or -- as it would be called much later - fractal geometry, producing endless
fascination. Out of Liu's fingers ooze serenity, precision and beauty. Highly
recommended. - François Couture, All Music Guide.
- "Liu Fang is a remarkable
virtuoso of the pipa, a Chinese lute. She plays with a grace that captures
the soul of the Pipa possessing such profound presence that she becomes one
with the instrument. Amongst her many international concerts as a featured
classical soloist is a command performance for the Queen at the age of eleven.
With a consistent technical prowess and range of unimaginable dynamics, she
can take you from a visceral frenzy to a deep breath of silence that cleanses
the spirit. An extraordinary player as well, of the Guzheng, a Chinese zither,
Liu Fang mesmerizes you with her delicate fingers that appear to prance, playing
with an ease that is undoubtedly a result of years of intense training and
keen discipline. This artist continues to astound and bewilder her public.
Liu Fang's playing is an inspirational experience not to be missed!"
- Janet Lumb, artistic director, Montreal Asian Heritage Festival.
- "What can be said
of Liu Fang's pipa and guzheng recital in Paris? A veritable feast for the
ears, eyes, heart and soul for the attentive, appreciative audience. With
such an accomplished musician, technical difficulties are forgotten to pass
effortlessly and serenely into a marvelous musical paradise....Liu Fang's
outstanding technique is married to her musicality. She performs master pieces
of the Chinese music with not only her fingers but also her heart and graceful
figure. She melts into the music.
She excels on the pipa but is also wonderful on the guzheng..."
Prof Dr Tran
Van Khe, Honorary member of the International Music Council (UNESCO),
Corresponding Member of the European Academy of the Sciences, Letters and
- Liu Fang particularly
touched the audiences with her two solo pieces on the pipa, ...
Scraping and gripping the cords with her five fingers, the Montréalaise of
Chinese origin produced effects that passes from air to frenzy. Particularly
in the part "Ambush", describing the battle around 200 years before Jesus-Christ,
she has astonished listeners with effects that seem to be invented in some
modern pieces. Liu Fang’s performance of the traditional pieces may have even
chocked some rock'n'roll guitarists by its force, rapidity and effects. The
sound landscapes followed one another, making live the phases of confrontation
until the last passage which could have been written by a composer of modern
NOREAU, Le Soleil, Arts and spectacles, DI 14 JULLIET 2000
- "The first time I saw
Fang perform, I was amazed at her discipline and her level of virtuosity on
the pipa and guzheng. ..."
- Dugg Simpson, Artistic director, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, 1999.
Fang's Passionate Pipa - Traditional Chinese Music is in Her Heart and Soul":
interview by Paula E. Kirman of the "Inside tWorld Music", June 24, 2001.
- "... of the Chinese
pipa of irreproachable Liu Fang (a virtuoso, nothing less)... " - Alain Brunet,
La Presse D8, Arts and spectacles, Thursday April 27 2000
- "... the pipa (kind
of lute) of the young Liu Fang, with the very expressive style... " - Nora
Ben Saadoune, The Press, Montreal, Wednesday April 7, 1999.
- "...Of an unequalled
brilliance and a musical quality, Liu Fang makes us pass by a frenzy which
enchants the spirit ..." - Pierre
- "Liu Fang captures the
soul of the pipa, a Chinese lute, ... for her delicate and spirited virtuosity."
- Armando M. Villapando, Asian Leader, April 1999.
- "... Liu Fang's playing
is notable for its well-articulated dynamics and inspiring lyricism..."
- Les classiques du Monde, Musique-Multi-Montréal, March 28, 1999.
- "... pipa princess Liu
- by RUPERT BOTTENBERG, Montreal Mirror, 2000.04 (