Arts & Culture

UK World Music Concert: Performance, Virtuosity and Creativity

Watch Tanyaradzwa A. Tawengwa perform "Rebel Woman" at Drom in New York City, in tribute to the late Chiwoniso Maraire. Tawengwa is currently a graduate student at UK School of Music.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 5, 2017) The University of Kentucky School of Music will celebrate a dozen years of world music performances on campus at this spring's world music concert featuring music from Korea, China, the Middle East, Africa and the Bluegrass. The 12th annual UK World Music and Dance Concert will begin 3 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in the Singletary Center for the Arts Recital Hall. The concert is free and open to the public.

This year the program will feature a wide spectrum of expression in world music, from participatory performance to virtuosity and creative artistry. Representing participatory performance will be the university's very own student ensembles: the UK Korean Percussion Ensemble, directed by Donna Kwon, and the UK Bluegrass Ensemble, directed by Ellyn Washburne.

The School of Music will also welcome to the stage several guest artists for this program, all of whom are highly skilled virtuoso artists on their respective instruments.

Coming to UK from Northern Illinois University, Jaiqi Li will demonstrate the Chinese xun (ocarina), sheng (mouth organ), xiao (vertical flute) and Japanese shakuhachi (vertical flute). He will also perform a solo piece, "A New Song of the Herdsmen" by Guanyi Jian, on Chinese dizi (transverse flute) accompanied by yangqin (hammered dulcimer) played by Siyu Li, of the UK Confucius Institute. Li will also play a Chinese solo composition on the yangqin hammered dulcimer titled the "General's Command," a traditional piece arranged by Zuhua Xiang. Also performing from the UK Confucius Institute is Chao Wang on the ancient Chinese 21-stringed zither called the guzheng. Wang will play a dramatic solo composition called “Fighting the Typhoon” composed by Changyuan Wang.

Representing the Middle East, local musician and instrument maker George Wakim (originally from South Lebanon) will perform Arabic music on the oud (lute) and vocally.

Finally, UK School of Music is thrilled to showcase the creativity and artistic expression of its own graduate student in voice, Tanyaradzwa A. Tawengwa, originally from Zimbabwe. She will be presenting a shorter concert performance of “The Dawn of the Rooster.”

Conceived as a Shona opera, “The Dawn of the Rooster” was composed by Tawengwa. Based on the experiences of the composer’s family during the Zimbabwean liberation struggle of 1965 to 1980, the opera celebrates the lives of ordinary people who acted in extraordinary ways to win Zimbabwe’s liberation. The opera shares the tales of a brave, revolutionary generation through the contemporary lens of the “born-free” generation. “The Dawn of the Rooster” will feature Tawengwa on mbira and hosho, Foluso Mimy on percussion, and vocal performers including graduate student Makeda Hampton, music performance junior Clark Davis, sophomore Jasmine Webb, arts administration senior Key'mon W. Murrah, music performance senior Kay'mon W. Murrah, music performance senior Thabang Masango and music performance senior Bongani Ndhlalane.

The World Music and Dance Concert is sponsored by UK's World Music Program, School of Music and Confucius Institute with support from Han Kuo-Huang, professor emeritus of ethnomusicology, and Everett McCorvey, director of UK Opera Theatre.

For more information about this concert or the World Music Program, contact Donna Kwon, associate professor of ethnomusicology, at or 859-257-4912.

The UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered national recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, theory and music history.

photo of poster for 2017 UK World Music Concert
UK School of Music celebrates 12 years of world music performances at this spring's World Music Concert featuring music from Korea, China, the Middle East, Africa and the Bluegrass. The free public concert begins 3 p.m. Saturday, at Singletary Center.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue