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Ancient Sound Made New: Experience the Brilliance of China’s Chime-Bells

December 16, 2022 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

On December 16, China Institute invites audience to a unique music experience with the New Dasheng Chime-Bells (大晟新钟), ceremonial carillon reconstructed based on historical models of Dasheng Bells (the Great Brilliance) of the 12th Century, connecting the sound of China’s dynastic rituals to the music world today.

This set of 20 new Dasheng Chime-bells, beautifully designed by Dr. Youping Li (李幼平) from Wuhan Conservatory of Music, are identical to their historical models except for pitches adjusted to match current and universal standards. New music for these bells with symphony orchestra, including Grand Prize winning compositions, will be performed at Carnegie Hall on December 29, when Valparaiso University will formally present the bells as a gift to China Institute, their new home in New York.

With the presence of these magnificent chime-bells, audience will learn from three distinguished speakers, Joseph Lam, Youping Li, and Dennis Friesen-Carper, the extraordinary story of the new Dasheng Chime-bells, their journey not only a tale of cultural exchange through music, but representing U.S.-China relation in our time today. Audience will also have the opportunity to hear and interact with the bells during and after the program.

A brief reception will follow the discussion.

All visitors must bring a photo ID when entering the building and present proof of COVID vaccination. Masks are highly recommended when on site at China Institute.

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Joseph S. C. Lam is Professor of Musicology at the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at the University of Michigan. A musicologist and sinologist, Lam specializes in the musics and cultures of Southern Song (1127-1279), Ming (1368-1644), and modern China (1900 to present). Lam’s recent publications include: “Eavesdropping on Zhang Xiaoxiang’s Musical World in Early Southern Song China,” in Senses of the City (Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 2017); “Huaigu yinyue lilun yu shijian di yige chubu tian/ A Proposal on Music of Reminiscence: Theory and Practice,” Yinyue yishu/Musical Art (2019/2); “Zhang Dai’s (1597-1680) Musical Life in Late Ming China, in Ming China (Routledge, 2019); “Kunqu Cross-Dressing as Artistic and/or Queer Performance,” in Oxford Handbook of Music and Queerness (Oxford, 2022); and “The Southern Story of the Western Wing: Traditional Kunqu Composition, Interpretation, and Performance,” in How to Read Chinese Drama (Columbia, 2022). Lam’s latest monograph is his Kunqu, A Classical Opera of Contemporary China (Hong Kong University Press, 2022).
Youping Li (李幼平) is Professor of Musicology and Vice President of Wuhan Conservatory of Music. An expert of China’s bronze bell-chimes and leading music archaeologist, Li is the designer of the new Dasheng Chime-Bells based on extensive historical researches around the world. A prolific writer on chime-bells, music and ritual in China, Li’s most recent publications include “Harmony Sound from Bell-chimes in Ancient China” for the CCTV documentary channel in China and “The Archaeological Study of the Preserved Dasheng Bells” for the National Gugak Center in Korean.
Dennis Friesen-Carper has performed and had his music performed across Europe, North America, and Asia. Former Music Director of the Pasadena Philharmonic Orchestra and Indiana Opera North, his recent conducting appearances include the Jiangsu Symphony Orchestra, the St. Olaf College Philharmonia, Shanghai University Symphony, and the Wayzata Symphony Orchestra in November. A recording of violin showpieces with Katharina Uhde and the Polish Radio Symphony of Warsaw was released on Soundset in 2021. While serving as Reddel Professor of Music at Valparaiso University, his oratorio Innocents received the Meyer prize for creative work. His many collaborations with Chinese musicians include international and domestic tours as Co-Artistic Director of the Sino-American fusion band, Silk Cedar. His April 2022 performances with pipa virtuoso/composer Gao Hong and the Kenwood Orchestra have been featured by National Public Radio’s Performance Today.

Contact: Yongqiang Lin [email protected]

This program is made possible through the generous support of Chinese International Education Foundation, as well as other public and private donors of China Institute.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


December 16, 2022
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


China Institute
40 Rector Street, 2 Floor
New York, NY 10006 United States
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