Taiwanese musician Chung Yufeng has been both a nominee and recipient of the Golden Melody and Golden Indie Awards, her home country's major music accolades. She has performed at major festivals all over the world, including the Migration Music Festival (Taiwan), TTF Rudolstadt (Germany), West Java Music Festival (Indonesia) and the OZ Asia Festival (Australia). She has also participated in special projects at the Colours of Ostrava (Czech Republic), Riddu Riddu Music Festival (Norway), Borneo Jazz Festival (Malaysia). Her film projects include live performances for the Women Make Waves Music Festival and the New Narratives Film Festival, and composing credits for the documentary film "From Border to Border."
 (攝影 Photo | 楊文卿YangWenching)

Searching for the new and unexpected could be considered an artistic mantra for musician Chung Yufeng. After decades of conservatory training in Chinese classical music in Taiwan, Yufeng (her given name is pronounced "you-fung") devotes much of her time to performing in situations where one might be surprised to hear her main instrument, the pipa (pronounced "pea-pah"), a four-string lute that dates back to China in the 2nd Century.

Whether studying indigenous folk music in Egypt, working with Indian percussionists in Germany or jamming with a 15-piece Indonesian gamelan ensemble, Yufeng thrives on exploring new sounds and musics.She connects with newfound musical collaborators by using a language they all can understand: improvisation.

Yufeng's formal training, combined with her skills as an accomplished composer and arranger, have also helped her forge artistic bonds with a long list of musicians from around the world, which include Indian percussionist Ramesh Shotham, Hungarian violinist Zoltán Lantos and the Indonesian folk-jazz fusion supergroup Sambasunda.

Yufeng makes such unusual interactions sound natural and effortless, thanks to a deep understanding of the pipa's versatility in both solo and ensemble performances. Its percussive tone ranges from delicate to strident; a combination of silk and steel strings, which have a signature "pluck," give the instrument a wide palette for melodic expression; its history as both a folk instrument with origins in the Middle East and Central Asia and an instrument of the court in ancient China adds to the pipa's mystique.

But there is little mystery to what motivates Yufeng, who is simply driven by a passion for her instrument and a curiosity of musical worlds outside of her own. Her performances impress listeners with her ability to balance the elegance of Chinese music and a zest for exploring more modern sounds. Such a thirst for the new makes Yufeng's music all the more enjoyable and thrilling to see and hear.