Zi Lan Liao is one of the leading exponents of Chinese music. Her busy career on the international concert circuit has resulted in her being the most widely heard and best appreciated performer on the gu zheng worldwide. Her work includes Oscar-winning scores and modern fusion music – but her real passion is passing on her musical heritage to the British Chinese children of the Pagoda Arts Centre in Liverpool.
In the late 1970s, Liao Zilan’s musician father took the life-changing decision to become a cultural officer in Liverpool. Liao and the family relocated from Guangzhou – but Liao continued to play the guzheng, or Chinese harp. A globe-leading musician experimenting with fusing Chinese and Western styles, she has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, toured internationally and recorded music for Hollywood film scores – but she still helps local children to get hands-on with Chinese musical instruments. “To actually see young people playing Chinese music live is something new to them – all they can imagine is seeing this instrument on the television but not be able to have hands on it,” she says. “And so they really think it's amazing that Liverpool children can, if they want, they can come and learn it.”
Presenter: Louise Greenwood
Producer: Elizabeth Mearns
Sound Editor: Terry Wilson
Series Producer: Elizabeth Mearns