The Jiangsu Guqin Second Academic Symposium Commemorating the 120th Year of Mr. Wu Lansun's Birth was held on Sep 14 and 15, 2002, in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China. There were more than 130 people meeting at the Suzhou Garden Hotel from every part of China and even from outside of China, who came to join the conference. As part of the delegation from the New York Qin Society, I had the honor of being one of them along with four Society members;
Yuan Jung Ping, John Thompson, Stephen Dydo and Marilyn Wong Gleysteen. It was a great experience for me to see and hear the variety of qin styles of playing and the vigorous development of guqin music in China.
During the two days of the conference, more than 60 people performed on the guqin, from the age of 7 or 8 to 88 or 89. Each player's performance was unique and special. One who impressed me the most is Zhang He-zhi who is only 14 years old and played the Chang Men Yuan. Her playing was clean, clear, and with a great deal of emotion, I felt. Among others, Mr. Xu Jun-yao, who is the grandson of former qin master Xu Yuan-bai, played the Shen Ren Chang; Miss Xie Kunfang who played Yi Lan; and one of the Wumen masters Ms. Yeh Mingpei who played Long Xiang Cao; all made a deep impression on me.
A special event happened on the first night of the conference; everyone went to the Yi Garden for a less formal qin gathering. Yi Garden is a classic scholar's garden in the Jiangnan ("river south") area. There are several pavilions where qin friends could linger to listen or exchange their playing and thinking. It was a rainy evening. I stayed at the "Stone Listening Qin Room" to listen to others playing and I also played one piece. I guess the stone outside must have felt as relaxed and comfortable as we qin players inside the room.
Because of my limited vacation days, I had to fly to Taipei the next day on the 16th. I spent ten days in Taipei, most of the time I was with my family. On Sep. 17, I visited Chen Qing-can who organized the Yin Zho Qin Society (Zen Art Gallery), and his wife at Tai Yuan Road, Taipei. This was my first contact with qin players in Taiwan. On the 22nd, I joined the 45th qin gathering of the Yin Zho Qin Society, which was held at Mr. Chen Qing-can's home.
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