Gather Our Dispersed From The Ends of The Earth celebrates the Orchid Ensemble’s most fruitful collaborative relationship with Canadian composer Moshe Denburg. Turned to 70 in spring 2019, Mr. Denburg has been working with the members of the ensemble since the 90s. To date, the ensemble has released five works by Mr. Denburg on two CDs, winning multiple nominations of JUNO, Western Canadian Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and US’s International Independent Music Awards. Mr. Denburg is one of the pioneers of inter-cultural music in Canada. He has written music for various combinations of instruments from different countries and founded the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra in 2001. He is passionate about bringing people together with music and plays an important role in Vancouver’s world music community.
Established in 1997, Orchid Ensemble has a unique instrumentation: Lan Tung on the erhu/Chinese violin & vocals, Dailin Hsieh on the zheng/Chinese zither, and Jonathan Bernard on the marimba and percussion. Born from the multicultural environment in Vancouver, the Orchid Ensemble transforms its Asian root with various influences that have become parts of its expression. These come from many years of collaborating with musicians and composers from different cultures and genres, as well as the musicians’ travels and studies of traditional music in India, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia. The ensemble has thus created a unique voice that breaks down genre boundaries.
The ensemble has commissioned numerous works from Mr. Denburg: “Road to Kashgar”, “Winged Horses of Heaven”, and “Endless Sands of Taklimakan” (2001) marked the beginning of the ensemble’s exploration of silk road influences. These works continue to be the ensemble’s most popular touring repertoire. “El Adon” (2009) is a 4-movement work based on sacred Jewish text. It was written for the ensemble’s special project bridging between Chinese and Jewish traditions. One of the movements will be a world premiere, and it will be the first time all four movements are performed consecutively as a suite. Dailin Hsieh will give the North American premiere of “In Midstream” (2010) for solo zheng/Chinese zither. This is a rare opportunity to hear the 26-string diatonic zheng, an instrument usually with 21 strings in pentatonic tunings. “Petals of the Flame” (2012) is a major work written in 12-beat cycle, to be performed with flamenco dancer Michelle Harding. These works are parallel to the ensemble’s development and shifts of directions over the past two decades. They grew in complexity as the ensemble matures.
Moreover, the ensemble will premiere “And gather our dispersed from the ends of the earth” (2019), a new work by Moshe’s nephew Canadian composer Elisha Denburg, the ensemble’s first commission from the next generation of the Denburg family. Dedicated to Moshe Denburg, this piece explores a melody composed by Moshe to the text of Jewish festival liturgy for an album released in 1978: “Bring our scattered ones together from among the nations, And gather our dispersed from the ends of the earth”.