I have a long background in vocal music and am proficient on a number of wind instruments, including the clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone, and soprano recorder. I was very serious about marching and concert bands as a high schooler, was trained formally in operatic aria and art song as an undergraduate, and also spent two years singing and playing bari sax in a big band.
As a Ph.D. student in the field, I took up the dutar (a two-stringed Central Asian lute, and the first stringed instrument I ever took the plunge to attempt to play), learning bits of the folksong and muqam repertoires as they exist among the Uyghurs. I also became a minor entertainment personality on Uyghur-language stages and screens after participating in the first season of Xinjiang Television’s The Voice of the Silk Road (Uy. يىپەك يولى ساداسى, Ch. 丝绸之路好声音); my appearance on the show catapulted me into a regional fame.
Most of the music-making I do these days is for my own personal enjoyment and edification, with occasional public performances connected to my research.
Below is a video of one of my better public performances of Uyghur music. The performance, which took place at a reception hosted by the Oriental Studies Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences during the 3rd International Uyghur Studies Conference in Zvenigorod, Moscow, Russia, in late October 2016, was entirely impromptu. It was my first meeting with the tembur player accompanying me. I picked up a stranger’s dutar, talked about the “set” for all of ten seconds, and started playing. The stars aligned for a good, fun performance of two folksongs:
This page is in-progress. Check back in the future for updates with more audio and video files