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Montreal’s brilliant pipa soloist Liu Fang presents a riveting concert on Sunday, February 20

Toronto, February 2, 2005 – Memories of China at Harbourfront Centre, is a rich musical experience with Liu Fang, an extraordinary pipa and guzheng virtuoso. The performance also features narrator Jean-François Blanchard who leads the audience on a fascinating journey of adventure as he embodies Alain Grandbois, a French-Canadian poet who travels to China at the age of 34 for the first time in 1934. As part of the Music with Bite concert series, Memories of China, takes place on Sunday, February 20, at 1 p.m., at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. Tickets are $8 each or $25 for four tickets. For tickets and information, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com.

As director Jacques Lemieux explains, this dramatic concert “offers a refreshing take on music and words. A Chinese woman in Quebec, a Québécois in China is the project’s subtitle. An encounter between music of a millennial culture, with Liu Fang on the pipa and guzheng and the contemporary and original poetry of Alain Grandbois, performed by actor Jean-François Blanchard. We have endeavored to create reliance between the music and the poetry, between the composer and the poet, between the musician and the actor, between the audience and performers. We would be indeed very pleased if our presentation were to resonate within you.”

Celebrated in the press as being “the empress of the pipa” (L’actualité, 2001), Montreal resident Liu Fang has achieved an international reputation for her remarkable and deeply spirited pipa playing. Born in 1974 in China, Fang began studying the pipa at the age of six and gave her first public performance as a pipa soloist when she was nine. In 1985, she played for Queen Elizabeth II during Her Majesty’s visit to China. Honoured with several provincial and national prizes, Fang graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where she also studied the guzheng, a Chinese zither. Since moving to Canada in 1996, Fang has built a remarkable artistic profile by captivating audiences and critics alike with the richness and grace of her playing as well as her wide ranging repertoire.

On the big screen, Jean-François Blanchard has worked with such directors as Steven Spielberg in Catch Me if you Can, Denys Arcand in Les invasions barbares and can soon be seen in The Last Casino. He has performed in more than 20 stage productions including Robert Lepage’s La Géométriedes Miracles and Carbone 14's La Bibliothéque. On television, he currently plays the role of Lieutenant Zacharie Faubert in the series Temps Dur.

Music with Bite is an intimate, refreshing experience; children can sit up close to the artists and after the concert ask them questions, while enjoying a complimentary Natrel milk beverage and cookies. Music with Bite, a co-production with Jeunesses Musicales of Ontario, is designed to bring families to Harbourfront Centre to give them the opportunity to sample music of all styles in a friendly, accessible format. All of the artists selected to perform at the concerts bring an element of interactivity, education and entertainment to their programs. Jeunesses Musicales of Canada has, since 1949, dedicated its work to musical excellence and the promotion of music for young people. Jeunesses Musicales of Canada is a member of Jeunesses Musicales International.

Music with Bite is co-produced with Jeunesses Musicales of Ontario with the support of the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.

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Media Contact:
Linda Liontis
416-973-4381
lliontis@harbourfrontcentre.com
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