with masterful skill and delicacy, presenting the various pieces
with unparalleled artistic intensity..." in “The
China Sound”, le struggenti note del liuto cinese risuonano
a Firenze, DOMENICA
07 OTTOBRE 2012, CELESTE ROTONDIl
"FORDE, NORWAY -- Sometimes you have to travel abroad to discover
the best of Canada.
Liu Fang of Montreal delivered an emotionally intense, stunning
performance last weekend at Norway's leading folk festival. While
recognition continues to elude her in Toronto, she drew explosive
applause at the Forde Folk Music Festival's opening gala, in the
celebrated fjord-studded region of the country's west coast.
Without speaking a word, elegantly dressed in a sleeveless gown,
Fang leaned into her signature instrument - the four-stringed Chinese
pipa - alternately caressing it, stroking it and whacking it like
a flamenco guitar. ..." - John
Star, Jul 19, 2011
the musician Liu Fang, master of pipa and guzheng, literally subjugated
(captivated) the audience with her exceptional ability and virtuosity
... her astonishing technical mastery has every time been a big
hit, ...but we particularly remember the almost languorous poetry
of her performances as "bluesy" as her silk dress. In
short, one more (beautiful) surprise to give to the credit of a
festival that never ceases to expand our musical horizons."
- Emmanuel Delahaye, Liu
Blues oriental et prestidigitation,
great ambassador for the Chinese music ...(Een groot ambassadrice
van de Chinese muziek)" - Ton Maas, Sensationele
Liu Fang beroert Chinese pipa, de Volkskrant (The Netherlands,
Liu Fang plays the pipa and guzheng, you hear the haunting melodies
and the harmonic range that is so accessible. She's just a star!"
global, by Charles Hutchinson, Music news and reviews, The press,
Fang has impeccable techniques. She plays with absolute cleanliness
and deep musicality which enables her to express all kinds of sensations
and feelings..." -Lope de Osuna, Classical World (www.mundoclasico.com),
From the outset, whether you are a connoisseur or not, listening
to Fang Liu, any reservation or prejudice is forgotten, because
it is the music that speaks. .. " -
Rault, Journal du Théâtre de la Ville, Paris, Avril-Juin
2006 : 38.
a medium which fully communicates the magic of the music of Liu
Fang, divine mediator...” - World,
No. 16, France, 2006
one devoted themselves to the joys of statistics, "grace"
and "poetry" would undoubtedly be recurring words in critiques
that mention Liu Fang's art. "Touching", "dazzling"
and "subtle" would also figure well..." - Ouest
France, mardi, 1 août 2006.
resident Liu Fang can already look back on one of the richest careers
an artist from the Far East has known. ... she has an expressive
way of interpreting the classical and folkloric repertoires of both
the pipa and the guzheng.... Yet, Fang is accustomed to daring collaborations
..." - Portrait of Liu Fang by Daniel
Brown, Mondomix, France, 2006
Liu Fang’s total devotion to her playing has moved her beyond
perfect execution to the creativity and flexibility that marks a
true musician. ... " - Andrew Cronshaw,
Liu Fang's quintessentially Chinese philosophy. ... delicately calibrating
the mood and colour changes. ..." - Songlines
Magazine, UK, October 2006
Superb sensitivity and unrivaled dramaturgic feeling. ... By observing
(her playing), one sees the love that unites her with the music;
one feels the unison which resounds within her being and the instrument,
and above all, one shares her deep joy..." -
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. …”
Inrockuptibles (Music magazine for World, Jazz, and Songs),
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
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.
there was just one musician, but ten talented fingers!". - Sir Ian
McKellen at the
BBC concert, November 7, 2003.
Masterful, 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. … "
MATIN, vendredi 30 avril 2004.
True ambassadress of the art of the pipa and Zheng, …”
- La Liberté de L'Est (Mirecourt, France, 2003)
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,
Music Guide, 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 (France, 2003)
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,
"... 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. ..."
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! ..."
Guide to the Music of China, World Music Network, 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. ... " - The
Wholenote Magazine, April 3, 2003.
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."
Lucie Rault: Traditional Chinese Music, Actes Sud/Cité
de la Musique, 2000, Paris, France.
(translated by Phil
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. ..." -
"... To simply say that Liu Fang plays the pipa would be like saying
Casals played the cello or Picasso could paint..." -
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.
"... 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) -
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,
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
Presented by Caroline Bourgine
France-Transmission 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!"
- 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.
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.
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..."
Dr Tran Van Khe, Honorary member of the International Music
Council (UNESCO), Corresponding Member of the European Academy of
the Sciences, Letters and Arts
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 music.
NOREAU, Le Soleil, Arts and spectacles, DI 14 JULLIET 2000
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
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 Fang ..." - by RUPERT BOTTENBERG, Montreal
Mirror, 2000.04 (