Interview with organist Cameron Carpenter, Virtually Versailles & in the studio: dizi & zheng music
The origins of the pipe organ, a keyboard instrument that requires its player to use both hands and feet, date back to the hydraulis of ancient Greece in the 3rd century BC. Today, it's mostly identified with churches, sometimes cinemas - where it accompanied silent movies - and large concert halls. Organist and composer Cameron Carpenter is a rare interpreter, innovator, and game-changer for this ancient instrument. He was in Hong Kong in March for three recitals at the Hong Kong Arts Festival. We went to talk to him.
The Palace of Versailles, about 19 kilometres west of Paris, was built at the command of the Sun King, Louis XIV. The Park and Palace of Versailles were placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979, featured as one of the greatest achievements in French 17th century art. Covering 63,154 square metres, the palace today consists of 2,300 rooms, gardens, as well as historic galleries and museums. Right now, without leaving Hong Kong, you can wander, virtually at least, through some of the famed rooms of the Palace such as the Hall of Mirrors, and Marie-Antoinette’s bedchamber, as well as the gardens, at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in the exhibition, “Virtually Versailles” as part of this year's Le French May.
The Tsun Lok Dizi Enzemble Group was set up in 2005 to feature and promote the Chinese bamboo flute. The group focuses on six types of flute: the xiaodi, bangdi, qudi, dadi, bass and contra bass dizi. Apart from playing music from the traditional repertoire, they also like to introduce new interpretations such as re-arrangements of Chinese and Western orchestral music. Next week, the group is collaborating with another ensemble in a concert that also features the zheng, a Chinese plucked zither.