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Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94102

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Thursday      10AM–9PM 
Fri-Sun         10AM–5PM
Monday        Closed

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  • Music for the Afterlife

    Workshops & Activities, Performances, and part of Family Fun Day, Tomb Treasures

    Apr 16

    Free with museum admission

    12—1 PM

    North Court

    Performances at 12 and 2 pm. Seating is limited to 30 per performance; standing room only beyond that. First come, first served. 

    During the special exhibition Tomb Treasures, local instrument inventor group Pet the Tiger will team up with Gamelan Encinal, a musical ensemble, for a presentation featuring three centuries of instrument building. Custom-built instruments by musician Bart Hopkin, designed with the same tuning as the Han dynasty Bianzhong bronze bells, create a contemporary “orchestra” (or “gamelan”).   

    Each performance features percussion and wind instruments in rearrangements of traditional gamelan melodies, the graphic score of “Yantra Meditation” by local composer David Samas, and new compositions for special guest artists. 

    For this performance, Pet the Tiger and Gamelan Encinal perform new works for pipa (Chinese lute) and the Han bronze bells by Sophia Shen and Stephen Parris, with Ms. Shen as pipa soloist.   

    Composed by Sophia Shen, Rhyme of the Chimes (Yayun
    雅韵) is a new work for pipa and bianzhong, with water sleeves (shuixiu 水袖) dance choreographed by Yang Yang. Yayun is inspired by Chinese classical court music and dance (yayue 雅乐) and its tuning system, but it's a modern interpretation of an ancient art form that incorporates untraditional pipa playing techniques and contemporary water sleeves. The Chinese water sleeves dance is a popular dance of the Han dynasty, which is depicted in many images and sculptures of the period.

    In addition to the water sleeves dance, Edward Schocker will join the performance with a composition that includes Butoh dance by Christina Braun. A lifelong dancer, Christina Braun has choreographed works with the collaborating composers regularly since 2002.  

    Guests of all ages are invited to join the orchestra by building their own instruments from everyday objects in the Education Studios: You can construct a soda straw oboe or boba straw pan pipes that can be tuned to the ancient scales of the bronze bells. 


Major support for Family Fun Days is provided by the Estate of Dorothy J. Bakewell. Additional support is provided by The Charles D. and Frances K. Field Fund, Douglas A. Tilden, William Randolph Hearst Foundation, The Joseph & Mercedes McMicking Foundation, Dodge & Cox, and The Morrison & Foerster Foundation.

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