Min Xiao-Fen’s Two New Film Scores Performed Live with River Guerguerian
Thursday, June 22, 2023 at 8PM
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center {120 College Street}
TICKETS – $15 General Admission / $10 for BMCM+AC members + Students w/ID

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center presents an evening treat for cinephiles and music aficionados alike. Following Min Xiao-Fen’s acclaimed White Lotus, her score for the 1934 classic Chinese silent film The Goddess, she received a commission from the Smithsonian Institution to compose new original soundtracks for Romance of the Fruit Peddler and Romance of the Western Chamber, two historical Chinese silent films from the 1920s. These new scores will premiere on May 6, 2023. Ms. Min, known for her innovative approach to traditional music and her ability to seamlessly integrate diverse musical styles, will perform with master percussionist River Guerguerian, a renowned multi-percussionist and composer and a leading figure in classical, jazz and world music. Together, they bring a unique cross-cultural expression and artistic vision to the stage. Both films will be shown during the performance.

Min Xiao-Fen: Chinese plucked instruments, including pipa, ruan, sanxian, guqin, and finger piano, sound effects, and voice.
River Guerguerian: Middle Eastern and Indian frame drums, hand drums, kanjira talking drums, Chinese gongs, hand-pan, marimba, and voice.

Min Xiao-Fen and River Guerguerian at BMCM+AC's {Re}HAPPENING 10

Min Xiao-Fen and River Guerguerian at BMCM+AC’s {Re}HAPPENING 10

Min Xiao-Fen

Few artists have done more to both honor and reinvent the 2000-year history of the pipa than soloist, vocalist and composer Min Xiao-Fen. Classically trained in her native China, Min was an in-demand interpreter of traditional music before relocating to the United States and forging a new path for her instrument alongside many of the leading lights in modern jazz, free improvisation, experimental and contemporary classical music. NPR Weekend Edition lauded Ms. Min as “one of the world’s greatest virtuosos” and JazzTimes hailed her as “a pioneer in integrating her ancient instrument with modern jazz and improvised music.” The New York Times raved that her singular work “has traversed a sweeping musical odyssey.”

Min’s acclaimed new album, White Lotus (2021), is her original score to the 1934 silent film The Goddess, long thought lost but recently rediscovered and restored. On From Harlem to Shanghai and Back, Min’s Blue Pipa Trio commingles trumpeter Buck Clayton’s Kansas City swing with the music of Li Jinhui, the “Father of Chinese popular music.” Min’s 2012 album Dim Sum spotlights the stunning scope of her original compositions, while her 2017 release Mao, Monk and Me is a deeply personal exploration of the music of Thelonious Monk combined with Chinese folk tunes and children’s songs remembered from her childhood in Nanjing. Min was a curator at The Stone and the Museum of Chinese in America in New York. She also served as artist-in-residence with the Sound of Dragon Society for the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and was a guiding artist for the Creative Music Studio and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.

River Guerguerian

River Guerguerian has been inspiring audiences with his ecstatic and versatile percussion for over 35 years. Born in Montreal to Armenian-Egyptian-Syrian parents, River began his cross-cultural musical journey at an early age. He graduated from The Manhattan School of Music Conservatory in 1989 with the school’s award for Most Outstanding Percussionist. River plays across a remarkable span of musical genres and traditions, both obscure and mainstream, delivering a personal and masterful sound with Old World instruments originating from the Middle East, India, and Africa. The New York Times acclimated “Guerguerian’s composition, sensationally performed, devoted itself even more religiously to the possibilities of pure sound.” River has recorded on over 300 albums and film soundtracks and has performed in over 30 countries with such groups as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, New Music Consort, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Tibetan Singing Bowl Ensemble, Chuck Berry, Tan Dun, and Ziggy Marley and The Gipsy Kings. You can hear his lyrical style with his world jazz ensemble, Free Planet Radio, as well as others he curates.

In 1994, River sold all of his possessions and stepped off of the grid. He resided in a wildlife sanctuary in the Himalayas. The adventure lasted for five years and led to his immersion into sound and nature. River is the Music Director of the Odyssey Community School and Artistic Director of Asheville Rhythm, which produces the Asheville Percussion Festival.