Chen Leiji: Master of the Guqin
On Saturday, Chen Leiji performed a rare concert at Asia Society in which he demonstrated his mastery of the guqin, a seven-stringed plucked zither that is considered China's oldest instrument. The guqin has been played for over three thousand years and was once considered one of the four arts an educated scholar was be expected to learn, along with hua (painting), shu (calligraphy), and qi (an ancient form of chess).
The guqin is not easy to play. Proficiency requires mastery of over 1,000 finger techniques, a process that can take up to 20 years of practice. Chen, who took up the instrument at the age of nine, was the first graduate in the instrument at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
Following a solo performance, Chen was joined on stage by special guests Sarah Hao Te on erhu and Guo Yazhi on suona. Watch highlights of Chen's performance above.