Peony Pavillion

A Conversation on 'The Peony Pavilion'

A roundtable discussion

Monday, September 25, 2006
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
314 Royce Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

A roundtable discussion with Susan Pertel Jain (UCLA), Helen Rees (Ethnomusicology, UCLA), Richard Strassberg (Asian Languages & Cultures, UCLA), Mark Swed (Music critic, Los Angeles Times), and  Haiping Yan (Theater, UCLA).

The roundtable discussion is designed to encourage reflection on the history of kunqu, the significance of Kenneth Pai’s production of The Peony Pavilion, the role of the performing arts in China's growing international influence, and any other questions audience members might raise. Each panelist will speak for approximately ten minutes on the subject of his/her own interest and expertise before entertaining questions from the audience and fellow panelists.

Susan Pertel Jain (Ph.D. in Theater, Univ. of Hawai’i) is a specialist in Chinese opera performance. She has taught Asian theater at UC Berkeley, Barnard, Yale and Connecticut College, and worked on the curatorial staffs of several international arts festivals including the 1990 Los Angeles Festival and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas (New Haven).  For over ten years, she worked as a freelance arts producer; helping immigrant artists from Asia establish creative lives in the United States, and as a company manager for theater director, Peter Sellars. She has served as the Director of the Association for Asian Performance and as the Associate Editor of the Asian Theatre Journal.  In 1997, Dr. Jain worked with Madam Hua Wenyi and director Peter Sellers in a postmodern production of The Peony Pavilion.

Helen Rees (Assoc. Professor of Ethnomusicology at UCLA) is an expert in Chinese music. In addition, she has performed in several Chinese music ensembles, including the London Chinese Orchestra, Ray Man Chinese Orchestra, and local ensembles in Shanghai and Lijiang, China. Professor Rees has conducted extensive fieldwork in ritual and tourist music of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in the southwest region of China, focusing on the Naxi ethnic minority and the Han ethnic majority. Professor Rees’s publications include Echoes of History: Naxi Music in Modern China (Oxford Univ. Press, 2000).

Richard Strassberg (Professor of Asian Languages & Cultures at UCLA) is an expert in Chinese literature and in Chinese theater and performing arts of the imperial period as well as Chinese gardens. He has lectured and taught on the origins and development of the Chinese theater. His most recent book is A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas (University of California Press, 2003).

Mark Swed is the chief music critic for the Los Angeles Times. He has been the 20th-century music editor for The Musical Quarterly and has written criticism for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the New Yorker, The Economist, Musical America, Opera News, BBC Music, Gramophone, Stagebill, Schwann-Opus, and many other national and international publications. 

Haiping Yan (Professor of Theater at UCLA) is a specialist in Chinese theater. Among her publications is an edited volume, Theater and Society: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Drama (1998, 2000). Her accolades include China's 1980-81 First Prize for Excellence in Drama (the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize in the U.S.) for her ten-act historical play Li Shimin, Prince of Qin, and CNN's 1999 selection as one of "six most influential Chinese cultural figures" for her scholarly and creative works both in English and Chinese.


Cost: Free

Special instructions: Seating is limited. Reservations are essential:

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Tel: 310-825-8683

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies, Ethnomusicology