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Interdisciplinary Humanities


Jie Ma, Chinese Pipa Recital

Event Start DateWednesday, October 16, 2013
Founders Hall French Parlor
Event Start Time7:30 pm

On October 16 (PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGE), Pipa virtuoso Jie Ma will present a concert of solo traditional Chinese compositions and contemporary improvised duos with USD Professor Christopher Adler. The pipa is a pear-shaped, 4-stringed Chinese lute played with flair and dynamism that features both lyrical and fast melodic lines and percussive attacks. The instrument has been a prominent part of Chinese music for nearly 2,000 years.

Ticket prices are $10 general admission; $8 seniors, USD faculty, staff and alumni; and $5 for students with valid I.D. Tickets are on sale at the door only.

Seating is limited on a first-come, first-served basis. Please plan accordingly for the best concert experience.


Music programs are subject to change. For the most current information, please call (619) 260-4171. For a complete listing of Department of Music concerts, please visit


From a long line of traditional Chinese musicians, Jie Ma began studying music and playing the pipa at age 5. She became a professional musician at age 14. Jie received her Bachelor of Music degree from one of China’s top music conservatories. Jie studied in China under celebrated pipa and ruan masters. She was also an adjunct professor in the music department at Liao Ning Normal University, and she has taught pipa to a wide range of students in China and the United States. After coming to the United States, in 2004, Jie began exploring the possibilities of blending traditional pipa technique with Western music and sounds from all over the world and culture. Jie enjoys playing traditional Chinese arrangements, creating her own works, and fusing Chinese and other styles to create a unique sound that is all hers. She is a consummate performer and improviser. In her continuing effort to push the boundaries of the pipa in many different contexts, Jie has played with a wide variety of musicians from a number of different genres, including jazz, country, blues, and rock. Jie's impressive technique, exotic sound, musical curiosity, and tremendous stage presence are not to be missed. In pursuit of her passion for music and the pipa, Jie has performed in China, Japan, and at a wide variety of venues throughout the United States (particularly in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York), as a soloist, in ensembles, and as a featured performer. In 2009, Jie was referred to in the U.K. newspaper, the Guardian, as one of the “notable” pipa players in the West.

Christopher Adler is a composer, performer and improviser living in San Diego, California. His compositions encompass cross-culturally hybrid forms drawn from contemporary concert music and traditional musics of Thailand and Laos, the application of mathematics to composition, and the integration of improvisation into structured composition. He is a foremost performer of traditional and new music for the khaen, a free-reed mouth organ from Laos and Northeast Thailand. He is a pianist for the nief-norf Project, NOISE, an Affiliated Artist with San Diego New Music, a co-founder of the soundON Festival of Modern Music, and Director of Composition for the nief-norf Summer Festival. His works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Center, Tanglewood, Merkin Hall, Sumida Triphony Hall in Tokyo, Bang on a Can, the MATA Festival, and at new music festivals and universities across the U.S. and Canada by ensembles including Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, red fish blue fish, Ensemble ACJW, Ensemble 64.8, the Da Capo Chamber Players, the nief-norf ensemble, the Van Buren String Quartet, the Pangaea Quartet, pulsoptional, NOISE and the Seattle Creative Orchestra. He studied with Scott Lindroth, Evan Ziporyn, Steven Jaffe and Sidney Corbett and is currently Professor of Music at the University of San Diego. He teaches courses in music theory, composition, contemporary music and sound art, and Asian music. His compositions, performances, and improvisations can be heard on Tzadik, Innova, pfMENTUM, Nine Winds Records, Artship Recordings, Vienna Modern Masters, Circumvention, Accretions, and WGBH's Art of the States.


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