Multicultural Wind Ensemble Project has been stablished by receiving the grant of Explore and Create – Research and Creation from Canada Council for the Arts in 2023 by Amir Eslami as a composer and Ney (Persian traditional flute) player.
Amir Eslami: Ney
My inspiration from this project comes from my work with Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra as both a performer of a traditional instrument and as a composer for orchestras and small ensembles. I started my musical studies playing the Ney which is a traditional flute from Persia, and the Middle East. However, my formal music training and education was completed with a Western Classical focus (composition and arrangement).
When I arrived in Canada, I started collaborating with the Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra (VICO). There I given a unique opportunity to compose for the ensemble and perform the Ney without any prejudice or stylistic conflict. In addition to this, I have met many great musicians who share similar musical upbringings despite having grown up in a different part of the world. These interactions have been one of the most welcoming and beautiful experiences I’ve had in Canada. As a result, I think it is relevant for me to build on the experience and compose more music so that my experience may be shared with a broader audience.
While I understand that intercultural has become somewhat normalized in recent years. There has seldom been any exploration of instruments of the same family from different regions of the world. (With the exception of percussion instruments) I’ve composed for each of these instruments on an individual basis but have never had the opportunity to bring them all together for one piece.
For this project I would like to have a world percussionist to ground the composition in expressive rhythmic forms. I’d like to work with Hamin Honari, a percussionist from Vancouver / Montreal. He has been active in many projects from different parts of the world and he can add a lot to the composition with the use of frame drums and other traditional percussion instruments. Flutes and hand drums are some of the oldest traditions which developed in parallel throughout the world. It is important for me to bring these instruments together and demonstrate the uniqueness of each style and also the similarities we all share culturally.
Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos: Shakuhachi
I am dedicated to living life in an authentic way through the playing of the shakuhachi, Japan’s profoundly beautiful vertical bamboo flute. I am passionate about sharing with the public my way of living shakuhachi through offering private lessons, organizing special events for shakuhachi, and pilgrimages to Japan to experience shakuhachi culture at its root: to harvest bamboo, visit sacred sites, meditate, take lessons with the masters, attend concerts, and partake in the many pleasures that Japan has to offer.
“…to be a better (traditional) musician, be a better human being first.” —— Professor Dong Won Kim (Korean traditional percussionist and improvisor).
Zhongxi Wu: Sheng & Suona
Zhongxi Wu was born in Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China and is from a family of traditional musicians. After immigrating to Canada, Zhongxi enjoys collaborating on innovative and musically authentic projects, such as the Multicultural Wind Ensemble and VICO, among others. Most recently, he premiered a new double concerto by Rita Ueda, with the Orchestra Métropolitain in Montréal, for the Azrieli Foundation Gala Concert in 2022. He also teaches suona at the VSO School Music in Vancouver. Zhongxi extends his interest in double reed instruments to the Scottish Highland bagpipes, and is currently Pipe Sergeant with the Delta Police Pipe Band. He enjoys music of many cultures, and has arranged for East-Meets-West collaborations between suona and bagpipes.
Charlie Lui: Dizi & Xiao
A multiple award winner, Charlie masters a wide range of Chinese wind instruments. Charlie is a board director of the BC Chinese Music Association, a member of the Sound of Dragon Ensemble, Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, BC Chinese Music Ensemble, and the co-founder of Pentatonics. As a soloist, Charlie has performed numerous dizi concerti and has performed on several CDs. In 2011, he premiered concerto grosso Tsu-ur Song by Dr. Ning Wang with the Nu: BC and the BC Chinese Music Ensemble in a Canada-China collaboration. In the same year, Charlie also performed Steve Chatman’s Earth Songs with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Charlie studied the dizi with Jian Min Pan in Vancouver and Wei-Yu Tan in China.
Hamin Honari is an Iranian-Canadian percussionist specializing in tombak and daf, two percussion instruments of Iranian origin. Hamin has adapted his style and technique of percussion playing to enable him to extend it across several different genres. He has over ten years of experience in more than just teaching, notably at the Vancouver Symphony School of Music. The Nava Arts Centre in North Vancouver, and the Persian Cultural and Art institute of British Columbia.
Throughout the years he has developed his own set of teaching tools, based on his observations and style of playing. Hamin has performed with numerous musical ensembles, especially the Dastan Ensemble – one of the best known classical Persian music ensembles in Iran, and has also accompanied numerous exceptional musicians and singers such as Salar Aghili, Parissa, Hossein Omoumi, Hossein Behroozinia, Saeed Farajpouri and Itamar Er.