Thursday, 18 June 2015

Another artist-in-residence

I was particularly pleased to be able to arrange a visit to our school last week by the extremely talented French musician and composer Jean-Sebastien Héry, as he has been a close friend of mine since we first met in Jianghu, a quaint little hutong music bar in Beijing, about 8 or 9 years ago. Jean-Sebastien stayed with us on campus for four days, led a series of workshops on electronic composition with our two classes of music students, sat in on one of the final choir rehearsals for the upcoming Closing Ceremony, and...  played this mesmerising concert for us in the theatre on Thursday evening.

In his time, Jean-Sebastien - now mostly promoting himself under the stage name Djang San (or Zhang Si'an, in Chinese) - has played almost every musical style imaginable, but in recent years he has become especially interested in using technology to build up multi-layered, largely improvised compositions that fuse electronic and acoustic music and have a strong influence from Chinese folk music. In addition to the guitar (and numerous effects pedals!), he also played his favourite zhongruan and, in the encore, a pipa which he has electrified with a guitar pick-up. [I'm afraid I missed that final part of the performance because my camera battery ran out - sorry!]

Filmed by Mr Murphy

Jean-Sebastien's visit was generously supported by the school's Annual Fund.