DAHRC Research fellows Feifei Yang and Jiaju Shen performed at Carnegie Hall along with the talented Chinese music group THE CHARM.

Feifei Yang,  Jiaju Shen, and YunZhuo Gang

Pratt DAHRC Research Fellows Feifei Yang and Jiaju Shen, with YunZhuo Gan

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20160201_213909 - WebCharm at Carnegie Hall - 2016 02 01 - Web

The Charm Program - Carnegie Hall - Web

The event was produced by the cultural production company FJ International Culture Communications ran by the DAHRC Research Fellows Feifei Yang and  Jiaju Shen.

Feifei is a renowned performing musician of the Chinese Huquin music and the instruments.

Jiaju is an accomplished player of the Chinese instrument Pipa.

In addition to running their company and practicing and performing music, both Feifei and Jiaju had collaborated deeply with DAHRC researchers Cosmo Xue and Seal Zheng in creating modernized Chinese musical instruments Erhu and Pipa, respectively, during their graduate thesis work at Pratt.


DAHRC research fellow Cosmo Shoumian Xue had created the electronic erhu during his Master of Industrial Design degree at Pratt.

Erhu 03Erhu 01Erhu 02

In her recent piece Dance of the Strings, Feifei plays all of the instruments, including the electronic erhu created by Cosmo:


E-PA (Electronic Pipa)

E-pa was created during Seal Xi Zheng’s Master of Industrial Design thesis endeavor in the Industrial Design department of Pratt.  More details can be seen here.


No Experience in Music or Instrument Building?  No Problem!

Previous to this effort, the designers of the instruments, Seal Zheng and Cosmo Xue, had no experience in creating any musical instruments, and were never trained in music.  Despite this reality, they also did not want their effort to be stopped at a basic level.  They wanted the result to be excellent, not merely an exercise.

In order to fulfill this need and attain the desired goal, their thesis advisor and DAHRC director HyukJae Henry Yoo suggested working with the highest level experts available in the field of music and instrument building.   By closely collaborating with world-class musicians and master instrument makers world wide, they were able to acquire decades of knowledge and experience in a very short amount of time in concentrated manner in order to successfully create their instruments.

The instruments are of sufficient quality and playability to be used for performances and studio recording.

Feifei Yang - Dance of the Strings Album Cover

Cover art for Dance of the Strings, Feifei Yang’s recent album


Jiaju - Black Silk Album Cover - Web

Cover art for Black Silk, Jiaju Shen’s recent album


Master violin maker Sam Zygmuntowicz was available for critique of the E-pa in his Brooklyn studio:

Sam Zygmuntowicz and DAHRC Researchers - Web

Renowned violin maker Sam Zygmuntowicz and DAHRC researchers (from the left: Cosmo Shoumian Xue, Seal Xi Zheng, Michael Schafler, HyukJae Henry Yoo, and Samuel Zygmuntowicz)



Sam Zygmuntowicz and Seal Xi Zheng 02 - Web

Sam Zygmuntowicz takes a look at the E-pa created by Seal Zheng after the completion


More details on the background and preparation for the Carnegie Hall performance event is available on Beyond Chinatown.

CHARM - Carnegie Hall Program Cover Shot