Yuchen Zhang

Yuchen Zhang

Classical Guitarist Yuchen Zhang was born in China in 1998.

She had performed in several art festivals, and staged both solo and chamber concerts throughout China and Europe.

At the age of 22, she got accepted in London Royal Academy of Music for the degree of Advanced Performance Diploma which is the highest degree in Music Performance.

Zhang was invited by Cantus in 2018 to take part in the CD recording. She received an interview from Xinhua News Agency, China’s state news agency.

She has won the 1st prize at the Jinghu Guitar Festival & China National Guitar Competition held in Wuhu, Anhui in 2018, the 4th prize at the Hong Kong Altamira International Guitar Competition in 2019 and the 3rd Prize of Advanced Group for Classical Guitar in Leceister Music Fest in 2022.

Transformation: The adaptation of techniques from Chinese plucked string instruments to the classical guitar

My practice-led research project aims to explore the possibilities of transforming the performance techniques and sonorities of Chinese plucked-string instruments so they can enrich the timbral and technical resources of the western classical guitar. Techniques and sonorities from the Chinese instruments ruan, pipa, yangqin, liuqin, guzheng, sanxian, and konghou will be analysed, synthesised, and catalogued. These will then be adapted and transformed for use on the guitar. I will assess examples of already composed Chinese classical guitar repertoire featuring traditional Chinese instrumental music. I will define and catalogue each technique and its timbre through spectral analysis. Having catalogued pre-existing techniques, my research will then focus on developing, utilising, and defining, new techniques. My methodology will use a formalistic method to analyse performance techniques through comparing objective data and sounding realizations. The practical outcomes will comprise arrangements and newly commissioned compositions. The written outcomes will chart the history and development of Chinese plucked instruments and the adaptation of the instruments’ techniques to the classical guitar. The thesis will articulate the consequent contribution made to the timbral and technical palette of the guitar. The research builds on the work of Yang & Goss (2004, 2008, 2010, 2014), Su (2014, 2019), and Zhang (2020). It will provide a resource for future research into cross-cultural music.