—— Chamber Music by Amber Quartet




At 15:00 on May 27, 2017/ Saturday

CCOM Recital Hall

 Anton Webern                    Langsamer Satz   


      Alfred Schnittke                  String Quartets No.3


 Zhang Zhao                        Totem                   


Fangliang Ning (First Violin)


Ma Weijia (Second Violin)


Wang Qi (Viola)


Yichen Yang (Cello)


Amber Quartet


Over the years of its performing career, the Amber Quartet, who represents the highest standard of China Chamber Music, has had concert appearances internationally, leaving footsteps in concert halls throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, and China. They were interviewed by numerous medias worldwide, such as the flagship music magazine "The Strad", Xinhua News Agency, China National Radio, Australia ABC Radio, Australia SBS Radio, Spain National Radio, Spain Euro-Chinese Times, Beijing News, Guangzhou Daily, and Music Times.


In 2013, The Amber Quartet received three major awards in the quadrennial ASIA-PACIFIC Chamber Music Competition held in Melbourne, Australia, including Grand prize, first prize string quartets, and best interpretation and performance of post 1993 work. Those awards made them the first ever Chinese chamber group who have crowned a professional chamber music competition. They were also the silver medalist in Chinese Golden Bell Music Competition (2012) and winner of the Central Conservatory Chamber Music Competition (2011). In 2013, The Amber Quartet became the first chamber group to be government-sponsored to study abroad, under the guidance of Professor Günter Pichler, the first violinist from Alban Berg Quartet, in the Instituto Internacional de Música de Cámara at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia de Madrid, Spain.The Quartet graduated successfully with honor and distinguished achievements in 2015.


In the summer of 2015, the Amber Quartet received an invitation from Andre Roy, the artistic director at McGill International String Quartet Academy. The quartet became the first chamber group from China in the history of this prestigious music academy, which only invites up to four chamber ensembles with great musicality and reputation in the music world each year. The quartet presented a successful performanceand was highly acclaimed by the audience and critics.

The Amber Quartet was founded in China Central Conservatory of Music in 2005, and all members of the quartet are currently teaching at the conservatory. The quartet studied under Professor Yun Chen and Professor Bing Yu from Central Conservatory of Music, and Professor Günter Pichler from Alban Berg Quartet in Spain. The Amber Quartet was also coached by a number of world renowned chamber artists including Gerhard Schulz, Valentin Erben, Michael Tree, Harald Schoneweg, Wolfgang Jahn, Hanxiang Gong, etc.



"Amber Quartet....a remarkable assemble" ------Lorin Maazel

"They are able to becoming one of the leading quartet’s in the world”——Alban Berg Quartet -- Günter Pichler

"A dazzling ensemble"------Agence France-Presse.

"Their music makes color audible"------Australia ABC Radio.






Ning Fangliang


Amber Quartet · First Violin

Young Faculty from the Central Conservatory of Music

A gold award winner of 2010 CCTV Piano & Violin Competition, guest concertmaster of Seiji Ozawa Music Academy and former concertmaster of China Youth Symphony Orchestra, Ning Fangliang studied with Professor Lin Yaoji and Professor Xue Wei from Central Conservatory of Music and Professor Günter Pichler from Austria. Ning was a winner of National Scholarship, Wu Fengzhou Scholarship and Spanish Albeniz scholarship. She was a founder member of Amber Quartet.



Qi Wang


Amber Quartet · Viola

Young Faculty from the Central Conservatory of Music

Qi Wang teaches viola at the Central Conservatory of Music. A recipient of National scholarship and German DAAD scholarship, he obtained a doctorate from Berlin University of the Arts, and was once a member of the Berlin Philharmonic internship and an external member of Kuala Lumpur Philharmonic Orchestra. He studied under the guidance of Professor Wang Shaowu, Cao Fei, Wang Changhai and viola concertmaster Ulrich Knoerzer from Berlin Philharmonic. He joined Amber Quartet in 2012.



Yang Yichen


Amber Quartet · Cello

Young Faculty from the Central Conservatory of Music

Yang was a prize winner of the 6th National Cello Competition and CCOM concerto competition, as well as the winner of National Scholarship, CCOM Excellent Musician Scholarship, Edifier Musician Scholarship, Wu Fengzhou Scholarship, Gucci scholarship and Albeniz scholarship. He studied with Professor Zhu Yibing and Professor Song Tao, and was the former cello concertmaster of China Youth Symphony Orchestra. Yang was also a founder member of Amber Quartet.



Ma Weijia (guest)


Amber Quartet · Second Violin

Musician from NCPA Orchestra

Ma Weijia graduated from CCOM under Professor Liang Danan, and was the former concertmaster of China Youth Symphony Orchestra. In 2003, he was admitted by the graduate college of the University of Music Carl Maria von Weber Dresden, and studied with Professor Igor Malinovsky.

Ma was a founder member and second violin of Amber Quartet in 2005, during which Berlin Philharmonic concertmaster, Professor Kussmaul praised him as “the best second violin”. He was invited to “Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival” in 2009 and “Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival” European tour by conductor Christoph Eschenbach in 2011. Ma Weijia is currently the first violin of China NCPA Orchestra.



Program & Notes


Anton WebernLangsamer Satz" time:10minutes)


Austrian composer Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern(3.12.1883-15.9.1945)was one of the representatives of the Second Viennese School. Webern was born on 3 December 1883 in Vienna. He studied musicology in the University of Vienna in 1902, and studied with Schoenberg since 1904. Webern, together with Schoenberg and Alban Berg, formed the New Viennese School (also known as the Second Viennese School). During the Nazi occupation of Austria, they suffered from Nazi persecution (Hitler banned all music from the Second Viennese School) and had to live in seclusion. In 1945, Webern visited his daughter and son-in-law in Salzburg, and was accidentally shot and killed by an American soldier because he was smoking outside during a curfew and blackout.



Zhang Zhao:《Totem》(time:20minutes)


Zhang Zhao, born in Yunnan province in 1964, is a famous Chinese composer, professor and postgraduate tutor of Minzu University of China College of Music. He is a member of Musician’s Association of North America, Beijng Musician’s Association and also the first Chinese composer ever been selected in ABRSM. Zhang’s works are highly acclaimed in Europe, America and Southeast Asian countries, with scores and CDs published in Germany, Britain and Switzerland. His main works include: Piano Concerto Ailao Rhapsody, string quartet Totem, piano music Pi Huang, Jingpo Mountain Song, Erhu Concerto Sun Sacrifice, dance drama Prairie Memory, Three folk songs of south Yunnan, chorus Spring is coming and piano works Chinese Melody. He is also the composer and music director for Li Yundi’s album Red Piano, musical Gan Mo A Niu, Magic Wonderland, dance poetry Bronze Drum, Cloud Top Flying Songs, TV drama The Male Phoenix Pursue, Dongfang Shuo and The Magic Lotus Lantern.

Zhang Zhao's string quartet No. 1 "Totem", Op.31, was written in 1998, the total four movements last about 20 minutes. This piece has been awarded the second prize of the 11th Wenhua Award  (chamber music catagory).

1st Movement: The Singer

Little binary form In the background of the overtone, Viola plays a theme of free folk song, while violin responses in a high range, makes people feel enlightened by hearing folk songs all over the Mountain.

2nd Movement: The Musician Quaternary

A viola, two violins and left hand pizzicato cello successively enter into the end of the overtone, and then a right hand pizzicato violin plays a string of witty sanxian tone after 10 bars.

3rd Movement: The Wizard Fugue

Wizards are the inheritors and transmitters of the nation’s ancient culture. They are animist and pantheist. They often preside over folk ritual activities, and are highly respected by other people.

4th Movement: The Drummer Sonata

Druming and sedding are ancient customs of Hua Yi people in South Yunnan. They adopt the customs that continues today. Drumbeats in every spring ploughing inspire people to work harder.



Schnittke:  String Quartets No.3(time:22minutes)


A renowned Russian composer, Alfred Schnittke was one of the most remarkable musicians of the second part of the 20th century and the main representative of the “Soviet musical avant-garde” along with Edison Denisov and Sofia Gubaydulina. He spent most of his life in the former Soviet Union, experiencing the post-World War II Stalin era, until the dissolution of the former Soviet Union in 1991. Like most of the outstanding composers in that period, Schnittke suffered from persecution, intimidation and restriction of freedom, yet managed to fight for himself and gained world reputation. He experienced life wholeheartedly, created music with unyielding will and explored the relations between society and life, and art and destiny. As the "Schnitke entry" in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians writes: "It is unbelievable that he can reveal the struggle between morality and spirit of contemporary people through music in such a depth and breadth".


The 3rd String Quartet, composed in the summer of 1983, was commissioned by the Mannheim Gesellschaft fur Neue Musik. Its first performance was given by the Eder Quartet, Budapest, in the Kunsthalle in Mannheim in May 1984. The work is tangible evidence of Schnittke's current stylistic and compositional preoccupations. He has always demonstrated an awareness of tradition; and although he has charted his own path to a variety of modem compositional techniques, he never pursued innovation for its own sake. What is new in Schnittke’s work is his personal perception of the "old" and his forceful creative urge to incorporate it as an enrichment of his own musical language. This is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in his 3rd String Quartet. At the very beginning of the work Schnittke introduces, in an unequivocal and unmistakable succession of quotation-like statements, a cadential phrase from a "Stabat Mater" by Orlando di Lasso, then the memorable principal subject of Beethoven's Great Fugue opus 133 and finally the note sequence D-eflat-C-B (whose equivalent German designations constitute the initials of Dmitri Shostakovitch). To an equal degree it is the material itself and the structural principles at work in the music of di Lasso, Beethoven and Shostakovitch which fascinate Schnittke. He sets out to explore the inherent possibilities of this material, to discover its potential in a new context, to experiment with the correlations created by transplanting these vestiges of a bygone musical world and which can-possible-imbue them with a new significance. Schnittke composes according to a fixed scheme, assembling the structural components deliberately and with great craftsmanship. Yet the work gives the impression of a coherent, organic entity. The prevailing characteristics of its organization are moderation, order and economy. Schnittke works within the framework of the structural principle.