March 15th-31st, 2019
Nicole Ge Li, erhu
Corey Hamm, piano
Erhu and piano virtuosos Nicole Ge Li and Corey Hamm began PEP to explore the fascinating blend of these two iconic Eastern and Western instruments. The blend is not only a tonal and musical one, but also cultural. PEP is delighted to see composers deal with these elements in such different ways.
PEP (Piano and Erhu Project) has commissioned over fifty composers to write works since it began just three years ago. These include such composers as Dai Fujikura, Si Ang Chen, Roydon Tse, Brian Cherney, Keith Hamel, Dorothy Chang, Chan Ka Nin, Alice Ping Yee Ho, Hope Lee, Jordan Nobles, Jocelyn Morlock, Scott Godin, Remy Siu, Edward Top, Aaron Gervais, Jared Miller (and dozens more).
Nicole Ge Li, erhu
Currently Concert Master of the B.C. Chinese Orchestra and gaohu soloist with the BC Chinese Music Ensemble.
Nicole Ge Li began learning the erhu at the early age of six and started training professionally at the age of 11 at the Wu Conservatory of Music Affiliated Secondary School, where she received a full scholarship for four consecutive years. Li was later admitted to the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree in erhu performance in 2008.
An active erhu performer, both as a solo artist and as a member of an ensemble, since 2000, Li is a much sought after performing artist in Vancouver. In 2011, she organized and performed in her own erhu recital in Vancouver, which was also the first full-scale erhu performance event of its kind held in Canada. In 2013, she was invited to perform for Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the only Chinese instrumental soloist at the Chinese New Year Gala in Vancouver. Later that year, Li performed the celebrated erhu concerto “Butterfly Lovers” with the BC Chinese Orchestra. During the 2013/14 season, Li collaborated with virtuoso pianist Corey Hamm in bringing the first of many world premieres of new works for erhu and piano by Chinese and Canadian composers. These performances are being supported by a Canadian Art Council grant as part of a cross-cultural music exchange project.
As a performing artist, Li is known for her interpretive expressiveness, stylistic versatility and ability to transverse a wide range of musical genres from the East to the West, from the traditional to the avant garde. As a teacher, Li is known for her ability to inspire students to excel, as evidenced by all her students’ successful exam results. Li works out of her JW Musical Studio, in Richmond, BC where she teaches, rehearses and records her growing erhu repertoire.
Corey Hamm, piano
Corey performs widely as both a soloist and as a chamber musician. He has commissioned, premiered and recorded over two hundred works from composers all over the world. Many of these commissions have been for various chamber music formations.
His most extensive collection of commissioned works includes over 45 pieces for Piano and Erhu. This Piano Erhu Project is familiarly known as PEP. The composers for the project come from China, Japan, Canada and the United States. The result is a new and flourishing catalogue of works for the piano and the erhu composed in the musical languages of the 21st century. This combination of instruments bringing together two of the world’s great musical traditions, now has a unique collection of works for Ms. Nicole Ge Li and Mr. Corey Hamm as well as other musicians, to draw from for audiences of the 21st century. They have released some of these works on their PEP CDs, Vols. 1 and 2 (Redshift TK437 and 440).
He has also commissioned works for the Nu:BC piano trio and for the Hammerhead Consort (two piano and two percussion). As pianist for The Nu:BC Collective he has released the CD, Beyond Shadows (Redshift TK432), which has also met with critical acclaim.
In recent years, Corey Hamm has studied, recorded and toured one of the great piano works of the last decades, Frederic Rzewski’s monumental, hour-long solo piano epic, The People ‘United Will Never Be Defeated!’ (Redshift TK431). This work, made up of of theme and 36 variations, was composed for the great pianist Ursula Oppens. It has been recorded by a small number of pianists including Marc-André Hamelin. Frederick Rzewski has received Corey Hamm’s interpretation as one of the finest to date. This release on Red Shift records won Spotify’s, Best Classical Recording 2014, Best Classical Recording at the Western Canadian Music Awards, and high praise from Rzewski himself – “Excellent! Bravo! This may be the best recording.”
Corey Hamm has toured extensively, particularly in North America and in Asia.
Mr. Hamm is Associate Prof. of Piano at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he was awarded the prestigious Killam Teaching Award. He is on the Piano Faculty of the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP) at NEC in Boston. His beloved teachers include Lydia Artymiw, Marek Jablonski, Stéphane Lemelin, Ernesto Lejano, and Thelma Johannes O’Neill.