Member's Choice: What Does Classical Art Tell Us: Guqin, Elegance Through Thousands of Years
with Lia Xiu
Guqin, a seven-stringed zither, is China's oldest stringed instrument. Possibly dating back as far as the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BCE--771 BCE), it has a reputation as the preferred instrument of the sages and literati. With more than 1,000 different finger techniques, the guqin is one of the most complicated instruments in the world to learn and requires great dedication to master. Historically, learning to play the guqin was considered an important component of education to enrich the heart, elevate the human spirit, and associate with the values and attitudes of past sages.
Join Lia Xu on a journey through 3,000 years of guqin history to illuminate the instrument's elegance and cultural significance, including a performance of the classical composition "Flowing Water" and an American patriotic song by George M. Cohan.
Lia Xu is a musician, author, and educator. After graduating from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a master's degree in history, Lia published her first academic book on guqin. She has been named an Honorary Advisor for the Arts Research of the World Cultural Heritage Association and Honorary Arts Instructor for the Intangible Cultural Heritage Innovation Centre for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. She has performed at Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Boston Arts and Music Soul Festival, and taught a class for Boston Children's Chorus in summer 2019.
Lia has played guqin for more than twenty years. Classical arts and high culture have played a formative role in her personal development. She knows the importance of youth having access to culture, art, religion, and history and sees their integration in education as a key to addressing international social issues such as racial conflicts, religious violence, and gender inequality.