B.C. Chinese Ensemble (BCCME) is the professional subsidiary of the B.C. Chinese Music Association (BCCMA), the largest and most active Chinese music organization in North America. The BCCME is unique in Canada as a large traditional music ensemble capable of playing demanding contemporary work alongside the classics of Chinese traditional music.
Formed in 2002, the BCCME’s mission is to present performances of the very best music by the finest Chinese professional composers and musicians. The BCCME performers are graduates from renowned music academies and experienced soloists and leaders of the top national and provincial orchestras and troupes in China and North America. The ensemble is led by Maestro Rui-Shi Zhuo, former resident conductor of the Shanghai National Orchestra, and presently conductor of the B.C. Chinese Orchestra. The BCCME concertmaster is Mei Han, internationally known virtuoso zheng performer, scholar and leader of the outstanding Red Chamber Ensemble. One of the many featured soloists is Gui-Lian Liu pipa master and former associate professor in the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing. Composer Mark Armanini is the BCCME program co-ordinator. Many members of the BCCME have also performed many Canadian compositions in small ensembles such as Silk Road Music, Orchid Ensemble, Red Chamber Ensemble and the larger Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio Orchestra and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Major appearances include at the Vancouver Jazz Festival, Vancouver Folk Music Festival and many others across North America, Europe and Asia. Their performances and recordings have been broadcasted on CBC Radio and on National Public Radio (NPR) in the US.
With imaginative new combinations of instrumental forces from the wide range of Chinese traditional instruments available through the many multi-instrumentalists in the ranks, BCCME aims to create new interpretations of traditional masterpieces and contemporary Chinese and Canadian compositions. The ensemble has commissioned and presented many new compositions from Canadian composers: Rui-Shi Zhuo, Randy Raine-Reusch/ Mei Han, John Oliver, George Gao, Jin Zhang, Mark Armanini, Owen Underhill, Dorothy Chang and Zhi-Min Yu, alongside top Chinese composers Cheng-Long Zhou, Jing-Xin Xu , Jian-Ping Tang, Ning Wang and Wei-Jia Guo. The coupling of contemporary and traditional works gives the ensemble a large and dynamic scope to it repertoire. This creative contemporary repertoire is unique in the Chinese musical world, both here and internationally.
In February 2011 the BCCME presented” Future Heritage: Intercultural Innovations ” in partnership with the Nu:BC Collective and the UBC School of Music. The events included 6 ensemble workshop events, workshops for composers and soloists, individual interviews with all six composers as well as a group forum moderated by Mei Han. The composers were Dorothy Chang (UBC School of Music), Owen Underhill (SFU School for the Contemporary Arts), John Oliver (freelance composer), Ning Wang (China Conservatory of Music), Jian-Ping Tang (Central Conservatory of Music) and Cheng-Long Zhou (Shanghai Musicians Association). The resulting concert, conducted by Rui-Shi Zhuo of the six newly composed works and all the interviews were documented in audio/visual formats. The documentation of the interviews and concert footage is currently being edited for inclusion into a bilingual DVD titled Intercultural Innovations. Accompanying the DVD footage will be a 60 page book based on the bilingual concert program giving notes and background information. The DVD and accompanying book will be distributed to 150 music schools across Canada, China and Taiwan.
The BCCME is also featured as musicians in the production of the book “Yueqi – Chinese Musical instruments in performance” authored by Dr. Alan Thrasher and Dr. Gloria Wong of the UBC School of Music.
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the BCCME recorded its first CD “Bamboo Shoots in Spring”, which is available through the BCCMA.
The BCCME is strongly positioned as the only large professional Chinese chamber ensemble in Canada and its mission will be to explore and lead in the development of Chinese instruments music in Canada, eventually becoming a 30 piece Chinese chamber orchestra. Its mission is to explore and lead in the development of Chinese instrumental music in Canada. The BCCMA is a large umbrella organization and its activities encompass much more than musical performance. It is a leader in the development of Canadian culture. The BCCME is its flagship ensemble.