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A good hair-day for the guzheng

By Mu Qian (China Daily)

15:48, May 28, 2013

Chang Jing used to keep her hair long, but says she wants to bring the art of guzheng up to date with a change of image. (China Daily)

Guzheng soloist Chang Jing has had a radical haircut before her concert on June 9 at the Poly Theater of Beijing. With short hair, she looks different from the usual image of a longhaired beauty, commonly associated with a guzheng (Chinese zither) musician. Her haircut, however, angered the concert's producer, who is afraid that people might want to return their tickets when they see a different Chang from the poster.

"I want to show that the guzheng can be very modern," she says. "I'm trying to present another side of guzheng."

Though Chang is best known for her performance of the classic Chinese work Spring River on a Moonlit Night at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, she is more often seen playing guzheng in unconventional ways.

At the CCTV Spring Festival Gala in February, Chang collaborated with Greek New Age musician Yanni. She also played a guzheng concerto under the baton of Lorin Maazel, and performed with world music artist Zhu Zheqin and French pianist Richard Clayderman.

"I want to express contemporary people's feelings through the guzheng," she says.

Originating during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), the guzheng is a Chinese plucked zither of 18-23 or more strings and movable bridges. It is the ancestor of several Asian zither instruments, such as the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, and the Korean gayageum.

Born in Chengdu, capital of Sichun province, Chang began to study the guzheng at the age of 8. She later graduated from China Conservatory of Music and became a performer with the China National Song and Dance Ensemble.

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