THREAD: Silk Road Music & the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, December 2 at the Orpheum Annex



Silk Road Music, Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra & Friends in concert

Saturday December 2, 8pm

Orpheum Annex

823 Seymour St. (2nd Level), Vancouver

Tickets ( $20 | $30 | $50* ):

Information: | 604-786-1738 |

*$50 ticket includes reserved premium seating

& complimentary copy of VICO “Imagined Worlds” CD

Threading together the cultures of Asia and the world – from classical Chinese solos and intimate duets to multicultural ensembles that rock the house!

Two of Vancouver’s pioneering ensembles in world and intercultural music, the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO) and Silk Road Music, weave their remarkable talents together to present THREAD on December 2 at the Orpheum Annex. THREAD is a a joyful celebration of artistic innovation and musical friendship that spans cultures, genres and decades. The concert is timed to mark Silk Road Music’s 26th year of creating and presenting Canadian music that fuses Asian sounds with Western/European and other world traditions.

“Both Silk Road and VICO have been on the front lines of multiculturalism in BC and across Canada, fostering cross-cultural collaboration and communication through music,” says VICO Artistic Director Mark Armanini. “We see ourselves as showcasing a new kind of Canadian identity, one that is diverse and inclusive, yes, but organically so. It grows out of the concrete, painstaking, day-to-day work of building relationships between people and communities, and finding creative ways to talk to each other and work together.”

THREAD promises to be an intercultural and multidisciplinary tour de force, featuring traditional and modern Chinese and intercultural repertoire, operatic song, and ecstatic contemporary dance, all in the intimate atmosphere of the Orpheum Annex.

THREAD showcases a virtuosic who’s who of Vancouver-based performers, under the baton of conductor Janna Sailor. The 25 performers include: Qiu Xia He (pipa), André Thibault (guitar and oud), Yun Song (erhu), Zhimin Yu (ruan), Jill Russell (flute), Laurence Mollerup, (bass), Liam MacDonald (percussion), and members of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra on violin, viola, cello, oboe, clarinet, French horn, and harp. Vocals will be provided by Feng Jun Wang and Willy Miles with UBC a cappella group The Undeclared Majors. Also featured will be renowned dancer Wen Wei Wang.

All the music is composed and arranged by remarkable Canadian artists and composers living in BC, including Qiu Xia He, Mark Amanini, Andre Thibault, Zhimin Yu, Jill Russell and Celso Machado – with new arrangements created especially for Thread by Alain Mayrand, Ron Hadley, Farshid Samandari, Jin Zhang, and Mark Armanini.

This special event marks Silk Road Music’s 26 years of threading the Chinese Pipa around world music roots, artistic visions and the pure joy of music-making to create a unique and extraordinary sound.



VICO’s YouTube channel:

Silk Road Music YouTube channel:

Special THREAD promo video on YouTube:

VICO on Facebook:

Silk Road Music on Facebook:

VICO on Twitter: @VICOrchestra



The concert will include compositions featuring a pipa solo concerto, two opera singers with chorus and orchestra, a Chinese trio with orchestra, contemporary dance, and a seven-piece chamber ensemble interpreting Brazilian, Spanish and Jazz music.

Thread 线 Concert Program


Janna Sailor: Conductor 指挥

Qiu Xia He 何秋霞: Pipa 琵琶

André Thibault: Guitar and Oud 吉他和路特

Zhimin Yu 于志敏: Ruan 阮

Yun Song 宋云: Erhu 二胡

Jill Russell: Flute 长笛

Willy Miles: Vocal 歌唱

Feng Jun Wang 王凤君: Vocal 歌唱

Liam MacDonald: Percussion 打击乐

Laurence Mollerup: Bass 贝司

Wen Wei Wang 王文蔚: Dance 舞蹈

The Undeclared Majors: UBC singers 歌唱

Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra: 温哥华多元文化交响乐团:

Violin 小提琴, Viola 中提琴, Cello 大提琴, Oboe 双簧管, Clarinet 单簧管, French horn 法国号, Harp 竖琴.


Program Description (subject to change)

Orchestra pieces


By Qiu Xia He, Arr. Alain Mayrand

– An Irish style suite opening with a ballad followed by a Jig and a Reel.

Country Market

By Jin Zhang

– A contemporary work for three Chinese soloists: featuring Pipa, Erhu, Ruan.

Of Wind and Water

By Mark Armanini

– A Pipa concerto bringing out the imagery and sounds of nature.

Nomads Rustic Song

Traditional song, Arr. Mark Armanini

– A Mongolian folk melody bridging the operatic styles of China and Europe.

Gao Shan Qin

Traditional song, Arr. Farshid Samandari.

– A Taiwanese folk melody cherishing the beauty of woman and man.

Silk Road Music Ensemble

Biwa Blues

By Ron Hadley

– The Mississippi merges with the Yangtze for some Jazz exploration.


By André Thibault, Arr. Alain Mayrand

– Latin Jazz Flamenco Rumba. OLE!

Check the Beans

By Jill Russell

– Northern Brazilian music in the style of Baiao.


By Celso Machado

– Brazilian guitar composition re-arranged for Pipa, Guitar, and Tambourine .

Sparkling Dew

By Jin Zhang

– A classical trio piece for Pipa, Erhu and Ruan.

Chinese Traditional

Han Ya Xi Shui

– Contemporary dance by Wen Wei Wang improvised around a Pipa classical solo.

Moonlight on Ping Lake

Traditional, Arr. Zhimin Yu

– Showcasing the beautiful and lyrical side of Chinese plucked and bowed strings.

Sleep My Little Baby

Traditional, Arr. Laurence Mollerup

– A dreamy Chinese lullaby. Fly little Bird!

Horse Race

Traditional, Arr. Qiu Xia He

– A famous Erhu solo based on Mongolian horse riding.

3 + 6

Traditional, Arr. Qiu Xia He

– Silk and Bamboo music from the tea houses of south China.



As recently as the mid-1990s, stereotypes of Chinese music as atonal and inaccessible dominated “mainstream” North Americans’ perceptions of this country’s sound. The idea of blending Chinese music with popular Western styles was seen as absurd, if not impossible. Silk Road Music changed all that. The ensemble pioneered the kind of Chinese-Western musical fusions that one now hears in acts ranging from The Sparrow Quartet to Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road project.

At the heart of Silk Road Music is the unstoppable artistic vision of its founder, Qiu Xia He, a one-time music teacher at China’s Xian Academy of Music and professional pipa player with the Shaanxi Music and Dance troupe. While performing with the ensemble at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, she made the dramatic decision to stay in Canada, and was welcomed in by a household of Irish musicians on Hornby Island. It was there that the seeds of her extraordinary cross-cultural musical experimentations were planted.

Qiu Xia founded Silk Road Music in 1991 with two other B.C.-based Chinese musicians: erhu player Shirley Yuan and zheng player Li Zhou, later replaced by ruan player Zhimin Yu. From the very beginning, the goal was to create a new musical hybrid born of its members’ dual experiences in China and Canada. The ensemble blended Chinese folk and classical music with Celtic, Latin, Arabic, Aboriginal, jazz, and blues music. It developed two exciting educational programs to bring world music to school children, and in 2001, it created a groundbreaking recording and performance project that paired Chinese and European-Canadian vocalists for bilingual duets of Chinese folk songs. Along the way, the group earned a Juno nomination, two West Coast Music Awards, two Canadian Folk Music Award nominations, and countless enthusiastic reviews.



The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO), founded in 2001, was one of the first concert orchestras devoted specifically to performing new intercultural music on a grand scale. It is currently one of only a handful of such professional ensembles that exist in the world. The VICO brings together musicians and composers from many cultural and artistic communities in the Greater Vancouver area, including Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Indian, Persian (Iranian), Latin and South American, Vietnamese, African, North American and European to create what has been described as “the United Nations of Music” (CBC Radio), and “music that sounds like Vancouver looks” (The Georgia Straight). The Vancouver Sun has called VICO “a world music super-group.”

VICO strives to be a fresh and relevant voice in the contemporary music of our city, our province and our country. The ensemble builds bridges of imagination, approaching diversity as a fascinating challenge and a creative call to action. Its work is to make connections, between performers and audiences of all ages and backgrounds, across the Lower Mainland, throughout Canada and the world; to create and perform orchestral music that transcends boundaries: cultural, social, political, geographical. Since its inaugural performance in 2001, VICO has developed and performed over 50 new intercultural pieces by ground-breaking Canadian composers.