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January 31, 2011

Stanford's Feb. 2-13 Pan-Asian Music Festival focuses on Mongolia and 'the steppes'

The festival, now in its seventh year, will explore the intersection of Eastern and Western influences in the musical cultures of Mongolia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran and Afghanistan.

This year's Stanford Pan-Asian Music Festival, one of the most important Asian music festivals in the United States, will put a spotlight on Mongolia and "the steppes."

The festival, now in its seventh year, focuses on a different art form or region every year. This year, the series, which runs Feb. 2-13, will explore the intersection of Eastern and Western influences in the musical cultures of Mongolia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran and Afghanistan.

The festival also will hold two symposia on "A Celebration of Arts and Culture in Contemporary Mongolia," co-sponsored with the University of California–Berkeley. (The Feb. 2 symposium takes place in Berkeley; the Feb. 5 symposium at Stanford's Campbell Recital Hall.)

The celebration will premiere two orchestral works by Mongolian composer Byambasuren Sharav, performed by the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, and feature the return of Iranian musician Mohsen Namjoo.

Musicians from Mongolia, including Mongolian folk and khoomi (throat) singer Nanjid Sengedorj, horse-head fiddle master Urtaa Gantulga and acclaimed ethno-jazz ensemble Boerte, also will be on the program.

"When I visited Mongolia last year, I was amazed by the vibrancy of its arts and cultural development," said Jindong Cai, the festival's director and founder.

"Mongolia, as well as the entire Central Asia region, has been overshadowed for a long time by its more powerful neighbors. I want to bring the region's unique arts and cultural traditions to our community, and I hope this festival will serve as a looking glass through which people can experience the colorful musical traditions we are featuring," said conductor Cai, who is also director of orchestral studies at Stanford.

Tickets, which range from $5 to $20, can be purchased through the Stanford Ticket Office, (650) 725-ARTS. Several events are free. For details, a full schedule and online ticket orders, visit the festival website: http://panasianmusicfestival.stanford.edu

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Contact

Cynthia Haven, Stanford News Service: (650) 724-6184, cynthia.haven@stanford.edu

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