PEP – Piano and Erhu Project – Vol. 3

WINNER of Classical Ensemble of the Year at the 2021 Western Canadian Music Awards!

PEP (Piano and Erhu Project) VOLUME THREE 
Nicole Ge Li, erhu
Corey Hamm, piano

1-6.  Gao Ping  – Hu Yan 胡言 (2017) (written for PEP)
7. Marc MellitsMara’s Lullaby (2005)
8. Marc MellitsMechanically Separated Chicken Parts (2005)
9. Somei SatohBirds in Warped Time II (1986)
10. Lucas OickleFirewall (2015) (written for PEP)
11. Michael FinnissySorrow and its Beauty (2017) (written for PEP)
12. Stephen ChatmanRemember Me, Forever (2015) (written for PEP)
13-15. Gabriel ProkofievThree Pieces for Erhu and Piano
16. Sergei ProkofievScherzo (1943) (from Flute Sonata Op. 94)

“The album concludes with an arrangement of Sergei Prokofiev’s Scherzo from his Flute Sonata (1943), later arranged for violin and piano by the composer. Hamm energetically nails down the two-fisted piano accompaniment while Li handles her difficult erhu part with panache. She makes it sounds like the 77-year old work was written for her. It’s an espresso nightcap to PEP’s exhilarating program.”Andrew Timar, WholeNote July/Aug 2020

PEP Volume 3 is available from:
 more coming soon…

PEP (Piano and Erhu Project) gives thanks to all those who have made this CD possible: the wonderful composers (Gao Ping, Marc Mellits, Somei Satoh, Lucas Oickle, Michael Finnissy, Stephen Chatman, Gabriel Prokofiev, Sergei Prokofiev), Don Harder, 1022, Ivan Su, Scott Harker, UBC School of Music, The Chan Centre, UBC SSHRC Explore Grants, Redshift Records, The Canada Council for the Arts, Debut Atlantic, Wang Yongde, Dou Zi, Raymond Chow, Fairchild TV, Sound of Dragon Society.

Recorded at Roy Barnett Hall, UBC School of Music
Photography: 1022 (CD Cover, page 12), Ivan Su (CD Inside Front, CD Back Cover, CD, Booklet Front and Back Covers, Pages 3, 18), Raymond Chow (page 31), Corey Hamm (page 15)
Producers: Don Harder, Nicole Ge Li, Corey Hamm
Recording Engineer: Don Harder
Manufacturing & Graphic Design: DMA DISCS

TK474 © June 5, 2020 Redshift Music

Erhu and piano virtuosos Nicole Ge Li and Corey Hamm began PEP (Piano and Erhu Project) in 2011 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, and PEP is delighted to see composers deal with these elements in such different ways

PEP has had over seventy composers write it works since it began. These include such composers as Michael Finnissy, Gao Ping, Si Ang Chen, Terri Hron, Serra Hwang, Roydon Tse, Brian Cherney, Keith Hamel, Dorothy Chang, Stephen Chatman, 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. The result is a new and flourishing catalogue of works for piano and 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 Nicole Ge Li and Corey Hamm to draw from for audiences of the 21st century. PEP CDs Volumes 1, 2, and 3 have been released with critical acclaim on Redshift Records, and

Volumes 4 and 5 will soon be on the way. PEP CD Vol. 2 was nominated for Best Classical Recording at the 2016 WCMA. Dorothy Chang wrote Gateways for PEP, the world’s first double concerto for erhu and piano soloists and orchestra, which PEP premiered with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia Northwest in Seattle. PEP has toured China, Canada, and the USA and has been featured at SICPP, ISCM, Classical:NEXT, New Music Concerts, Modulus Festival, Sonic Boom Festival, Sound of Dragon Festival, Odyssey Chamber Music Series, and Music on Main Series. PEP is an Ensemble-In-Residence at the University of British Columbia School of Music.

Nicole Ge Li is currently an erhu Instructor at both the VSO School of Music and UBC Chinese Ensemble, and is Ensemble-in-Residence with PEP at the University of British Columbia.
Nicole Li began learning erhu at the age of 6, and started training professionally at age 11 in the Wuhan 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 a soloist and ensemble member, 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. In 2015, Li was a recipient of the prestigious Outstanding Young Leaders Medal of Merit Award. Since 2012, Li has collaborated with virtuoso pianist Corey Hamm in bringing many world premieres of new works for erhu and piano by Chinese, Canadian and international composers. These performances have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. For the 2018 Chinese New Year, she was invited to perform Canada’s national anthem at a Vancouver Canucks Game as the first Chinese Instrumental soloist.
As a performing artist, Li is known for her interpretive expressiveness, stylistic versatility and ability to traverse a wide range of musical genres from the East to the West, from the traditional to the avant-garde. Li works out of her own establishment, JW Musical Studio in Richmond BC, where she teaches, rehearses and records her growing erhu repertoire.

Pianist Corey Hamm  has established a unique musical profile performing widely in North America and in Asia as both soloist and chamber musician. His CD of Frederic Rzewski’s hour-long solo piano epic The People United Will Never Be Defeated! (Redshift Records)  won Spotify’s Best Classical Recording 2014, and Best Classical Recording at the 2014 WCMA. He has performed the work over 80 times all over the world. Corey Hamm’s extensive work in the 1990s with  the great French composer Henri Dutilleux will  come to fruition in his plan to record Dutilleux’s complete works for solo piano and chamber with piano. Among his other recording plans is a soon-to-be-released CD of solo works written for him by Keith Hamel, Jocelyn Morlock, Jordan Nobles, Dorothy Chang, Ronn Yedidia, and Duncan Maunders, a CD with Nu:BC, and at least three more CDs with PEP (Piano and Erhu Project). He recently performed two works on Jocelyn Morlock’s CD, Halcyon.

Corey Hamm has commissioned, premiered and recorded over three hundred works by composers  from all over the world.  These commissions have been for solo piano, various chamber music formations, as well as concerti.

In addition to his 70+ PEP works, he has also commissioned  over 50 works for The Nu:BC  Collective and for  Hammerhead Consort  (two piano and two percussion).  As pianist for The Nu:BC Collective  he has released the critically acclaimed CD Beyond Shadows (Redshift TK432). As a founding member of Hammerhead Consort, he received the 1993 Sir Ernest Macmillan Memorial Foundation Chamber Music Award, and was winner of the 1992 National Chamber Music Competition.

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 a theme and 36 variations, has been recorded by a small number of pianists including Marc-André Hamelin, Ursula Oppens,  and Stephen Drury. Frederic Rzewski received Corey Hamm’s interpretation as one of the finest to date. “Excellent! Bravo! This may be the best recording.”

Corey Hamm premiered Dorothy Chang’s new PEP Double Concerto for erhu and piano soloists, Gateways, with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) in Apr. 2018, and was soloist in the World Premiere of Jordan Nobles’ Piano Concerto with Bramwell Tovey and the VSO. He gave the World Premiere of Howard Bashaw’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion with conductor Grzegorz Nowak and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and  has recent and upcoming performances of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto 3, Prokofiev Piano Concerto 2, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto 3, Bartok’s Piano Concerto 2, Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto, Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, Faure’s Fantasie Op. 111, and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Corey has collaborated as concerto soloist with conductors Bramwell Tovey, Grzegorz Nowak, Claude Lapalme, Pierre Simard, Craig Kirchhoff, Yuri Ivan, Julia Tai, Gaddiel Dombrowner, William Rowsom, Robert Taylor.

Dr. Hamm is Professor of Piano at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he was awarded the prestigious Killam Teaching Award and the Dorothy Somerset Award for Excellence in Performance. He is on the Piano Faculty of both the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP) at NEC in Boston, and MusicFest Perugia, in Italy. His beloved teachers include Lydia Artymiw, Marek Jablonski, Stéphane Lemelin, Ernesto Lejano, and Thelma Johannes O’Neill.

Other CDs with Corey Hamm, piano
TK431 Cover 1400-1400Beyond Shadows cover High ResCD Cover TK425