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The fourth concert will take us on a journey to the East, presenting the UNC Asian Mixed Ensemble performing traditional and modern gems of Asian repertoire on original and modern instruments as well as Western masterworks inspired by the rich Asian cultural heritage. This concert will also feature various works by de Lalande, Debussy, Arensky and a guest performance of Kreisler's "Tambourin chinois" by violinist Edward W. Hardy and pianist Hanguang Wang.



Journey to the East  

Asian Mixed Ensemble  

(Erhu/Saw uu, Jake/shamisen, shakuhachi/klui/duduk, slenthem/peking, ching/daff/ton-ramana)

Slide display


Haru Sandai (Three themes of the spring)

Japanese Ensemble: shamisen and koto


Ladrang Pangkur Laras Pelog Pathet Nem

Merak (Peacock Dance)

Bubaran Udan Mas (Golden Ruin)



Michel Richard de Lalande

Air des Siamois  (a reconstruction)

String quintet (2 violin/ 2viola/ cello) + harpsichord

Claude Debussy

Pagodes, from Estampes (1903), piano solo

Fritz Kreisler

Tambourin chinois for Violin and Piano

Anton Arensky

Etude sur un theme chinois, Op. 25, No. 3. 


The Maritime

For Western string, piano, percussion, Gamelan and Asian mixed ensemble

Slide display

Western strings: 2 violin/ 2viola/ cello


Percussion: Timpani/Marimba

Gamelan: Bonang, Slenthem, Peking, Saron

Asian Mixed Ensemble



Dr. Jittapim Yamprai

Journey to the East

Athita Kuankachorn


            Journey to the East is a composition by Athita Kuankachorn. It is set for the Asian mixed ensemble, comprised of various instruments across the Asian continent including Indian Sitar, Middle Eastern Duduk, Japanese Shakuhachi, shamisen, shimedaiko, Thai Ja-ke, saw-uu, klui, and Indonesian gamelan instruments, percussion and voice. The composition aims to take the audience on a trip to many splendid places of Asia. Opening with the land of the sun in East Asia, having Asian flutes, shakuhachi, duduk, and klui wake up the sleeping world with the peaceful light of the dawn. The journey continues to the Middle East, portraying the busy daily lives of people in the big cities with rapid tempo and thicker texture, set in maqam bayati. South Asia is known as the birthplace of many religions, holy shrines, temples, and mosques bring the solemnity and meditation experience, conveyed through an improvisatory passage under the raga bhairav. The gorgeous theatrical arts performance of the mainland of Southeast Asia is the next stop of the journey. The melody of “Sri nuan” that accompanied the dance can take the audience into the charming experience. The journey comes to an end with the islands of the maritime of Southeast Asia where mystic forests and magnificent nature surround the audience. The signature music, gamelan played with the slendro mode, together with other Asian instruments in unison ends this enchanted journey to the East with an unforgettable memory.


Yachiyo Jishi  (Lion Dance of Eight Thousand Years)

Japanese Sankyoku: koto, shamisen, and shakuhachi

            Yachiyo Jishi is a seventeenth century composition, originally written for a short Japanese bamboo flute Hitoyogiri. In the eighteenth century, Fujinaga Kengyo arranged the melody with voice for a traditional jiuta-style shamisen, having a tegoto-mono form of three sections: fore-song, instrumental interlude, and after-song. The title “Yachiyo” refers to eight thousand years and “Jishi” is the lion, depicting the dancing of the lion to celebrate eternity of life.  


Poem (translated by Tsuge Gen'ichi)

Itsumade mo                           Forever

kawaranu miyo no                  In this eternal reign,

aitake no                                  Like two bamboo shoots

yoyo wa                                  Grown straight and true,

ikuchiyo                                  This world shall last

yachiyo furu                            Thousands of ages.


(tegoto) instrumental interlude


Yuki zo kakareru                    On the young needles of the pine, Snow.

matsu no futaba ni

yuki zo kakareru                     On the young needles of the pine, Snow.

matsu no futabe ni


Ladrang Pangkur Laras Slendro Pathet Nem

Central Javanese Gamelan Ageng


Ladrang Pangkur Laras Slendro Pathet Nem is a traditional welcome piece of the Central Javanese Gamelan Ageng ensemble, which accompanies shadow puppet theater, palace rituals, dance, and general celebrations on the Indonesian island of Java. “Ladrang” refers to the piece’s 32-beat colotomic form, “laras slendro” is the five-tone tuning of the instruments, and “pathet nem” refers to the piece’s particular pentatonic mode.  The tune, named “Pangkur,” is derived from an eighteenth century Javanese court song. Pangkur is played in medley with a second tune, “Munggah Lancaran Manyar Sewu,” meaning “One Thousand Birds.”



Central Javanese Gamelan Ageng

Merak is a dance from the Sunda region of West Java, composed and choreographed in the 1950s by Raden Tjeje Soemantri.  It depicts peacocks playing and enjoying themselves in the forest.


Bubaran Udan Mas Laras Slendro Pathet Manyura

Central Javanese Gamelan Ageng

Udan Mas (Golden Rain) is a mid-20th century piece composed by Ki Narta Sabda in the Central Javanese Yogyakarta court gamelan style.  It typically functions as an ending piece, played as an encore or as people are leaving a performance hall.  It has since become a standard beginning piece for students of Javanese gamelan.


Michel Richard de Lalande’s Air des Siamois  (a reconstruction)

In 1686, a Siamese embassy had an audience with Louis XIV at the Palace of Versailles. The Air of Siam, a composition by a chamber court composer, Michel Richard de Lalande, was performed as the reception piece at the audience. Later the air was annexed as part of the Suites no. 9 of Simphonies pour les soupers du Roi, performed at the King’s Supper during the reign of Louis XIV to Luis XV and also used in two ballets Mirtil et Mélicerte which premiered in 1698 and ballet Les Folies de Cardenio in 1720. Musical material used in the French airs has been found to be similar to those of seventeenth-century Siamese music but untypical of French music at the time.


The version performed today is a reconstruction of the tune found in the manuscript Rés 582, now in the Bibilothèque nationale de France. The first movement is the first Siamese Air which was performed at the 1686 audience. The second movement composed by Jittapim Yamprai is based on the two transcriptions of Siamese songs in the account of Simon de la Loubère, French ambassador to Siam in 1687 and the account of French missionary, Nicolas Gervaise who spent four years in Siam during the 1680s. The two transcriptions are set into a double fugue composition to represent the interaction and cultural exchange of the East and West in the seventeenth century.


Debussy’s Pagodes from Estampes


Pagodas, is the first solo piano piece of the three-movement piano composition, Estampes, that Debussy composed in 1903. In 1889, Debussy had attended the Paris World Conference Exhibition. At the exhibition, he visited the Javanese village and had an opportunity to listen to the music of Gamelan. He was impressed by the new sonority and the complexity of musical layers, ranging from high-pitch gongs to an extremely low-pitch one that played overlapping in time. Inspired by what he heard and saw, Pagodas emerged as his attempt to depict the sound of the gamelan in a solo piano composition. This can be seen in assigning the left-hand to punctuate the down beat in a very low-pitch similar to the large hanging gong of the gamelan and the right hand playing a repeated pattern in a very high pitch similar to saron and peking, which provide the melody of the gamelan. The mid-range of the piano portrays the gamelan colotomic structure. Debussy’s intention in providing many shades of ranges points to the influence of musical layers in Gamelan music.


Anton Arensky's Etude sur un theme chinois, Op. 25, No. 3


Etude sur un theme chinois, Op. 25, No. 3 is the third of the four compositions of the Etude on the Chinese Theme that the Russian composer, Anton Arensky (1861-1906) wrote during the 1890s. Arensky set the third composition in a three-part form with a coda, having the middle section feature a famous Chinese tune, “Molihua” (Jasmine Flower). The “Molihua” melody stands out in the left hand of the piano having the right-hand decorate the atmosphere with a rapid running sixteenth note in a triplet grouping. The nature of the accompaniment imitates the performance of the Chinese zither, Guzheng.


“Molihua” is a Han folksong, circulated during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). The tune became first known to westerners in 1802 through the publication of John Barrow’s Travels in China. “Molihua” was not known only in London but spread throughout Europe. In 1896, “Molihua” had a different role functioning as a temporary Chinese national anthem that was used by Chinese officers in Europe. In 1926, Puccini also quoted the Molihua melody in his opera Turandot.

Fritz Keisler's Tambourin chinois, for violin & piano, Op. 3


In 1910, the renowned violinist Fritz Keisler composed Tambourin chinois for violin and piano. Although Keisler did not directly quote a traditional Chinese melody, the material is based on pentatonic scales and parallel fifths. Tambourin chinois is divided into three sections, employing exotic elements that include pentatonic scale and the inflection of the augmented second.


The Maritime Empires

a symphonic poem for Western strings, piano, percussion, Gamelan and Asian mixed ensemble

Narongrit Dhamabutra


            The Maritime empires is a symphonic poem depicting the great empires of the maritime of Southeast Asia. Constructed in three movements, each refers to an ancient kingdom of the maritime Southeast Asia: Srivijaya, Butuan, and Majapahit.

            The sound of the bronze drum opens the Srivijaya movement with atmosphere of the tranquil morning though the sound of piano and double bass. Nora, an archaic dance of the kingdom that is still practiced in the Southern part of modern-day Thailand and the Northern part of Malaysia, wakes up the kingdom with the sacred ritual, played by the Asian mixed ensemble.

            The second movement, Butuan, the kingdom in the East of the maritime, had its territory extend over the Mindanao Island and modern-day Philippines. Pre-colonial music of many ethnicities, including Kalinga and Kakula, are presented. The sound of bamboo instruments is enhanced through contemporary performance techniques of western strings and Asian mixed ensemble.

            The final movement, Majapahit, a prosperous empire of the thirteenth century that spread its power over Java, Sumatra, and Borneo islands, takes its stand in the glory of the Hindu culture. The ritual dance inspired by the story of the Hindu epic, Ramayana, is featured in the movement in the form of Kecak chant and instrumental response through the music of gamelan and western instruments.

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To purchase tickets, visit, or by phone: (970) 351-4849 / at the door
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