Monday 1 August 2016, 8pm
Genre-defying Chinese percussionist, Beibei Wang, returns to OTO alongside special guest Jon Clark (drums), Belle Chen (piano) and Cleveland Watkiss (voice).
“The Young Chinese virtuoso Wang Beibei is nothing if not flamboyant.” – The Times
Genre-defying percussionist Beibei Wang is an acclaimed international virtuoso percussionist with both Chinese and British musical education background. Beibei has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the classical music world, receiving international praise for her performances. She received double Master Degrees from the Central Conservatory of Music (China) and the Royal Academy of Music (UK). In 2014, she was listed in the top 50 Chinese musicians in the “Sound of East” project by the Chinese Ministry of Culture. In 2015, she was endorsed by the Arts Council ,England receiving an Exceptional Talent visa from British Government. Following a successful recital at SOAS ,University of London, Beibei now leads a traditional Chinese percussion workshops to promote and preserve traditional Chinese percussion at SOAS. Most recently, she was featured on the front cover of China Music Life magazine and in iD China Magzinge in 2017.
Since 2008, as a soloist, Beibei has embarked upon a number of hugely successful international tours at many international music festivals including the Edinburgh International Festival, the Lucerne Festival, the Bach Academy Musikfest Stuttgart, Colour Scape Music Festival. She has collaborated with numerous leading Orchestras worldwide, including: the BBC Symphony Orchestra (UK),the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (Germany),Orchestra dell’ Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Italy) the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Canada), as well as conductors, including: Kent Nagano, Tan Dun, Kristjan Järvi, Muhai Tang, etc.
By exploring new possibilities and challenging assumptions from all fields, she and her collaborators have developed genre-defying projects, pushing boundaries and delighting audiences the world over.
“Original and provocative” – Brian Eno
“At the forefront of UK’s new wave of experimental classical musicians” – China Sohu News
Handpicked by Brian Eno as the one to watch, Australian-Taiwanese pianist Belle Chen has distinguished herself with her unique recorded works that are unbound by tradition- often mixing classical music repertoire with recorded soundscapes. Her creativity was celebrated through winning the classical music category of 2015 London Music Awards, as voted by a luminous panel from the UK music industry.
Belle’s unique and versatile creativity as a performer has seen her grace the stages of several major UK festivals and key venues ranging from BBC Radio 3 70th Anniversary at Royal Festival Hall, 2016 Latitude Festival, The Roundhouse to Café Oto. Her work was selected by BBC Radio 3 as one of top 4 best new music by BBC Introducing Classical Artist in the year of 2016.
Forever in pursuit of capturing and recreating special moments and observations through classical music and immersive performances, Belle has collaborated across various creative mediums - from perfume, multimedia, dance, to drama. She believes classical music to be a living language, and often incorporates improvisation as part of her performance.
Since 2016, Belle has been endorsed under the Exceptional Talent scheme by Arts Council England.
Jazz Vocalist of the Year & Mobo Nominated: Cleveland Watkiss 2017
Internationally renowned vocalist won the London Jazz Award for Best Vocalist in 2010, and was voted Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards best vocalist for three consecutive years.
Watkiss was born in Hackney, East London, to Jamaican parents. Watkiss was one of the co-founders of the vastly influential Jazz Warriors big band. His vocals can be heard on their debut album, Out of Many People.
Watkiss has performed with a diverse range of artists from around the world, including: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Carlinos Brown, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Dylan, Thurston Moore, Art Blakey, Abdullah Ibrahim, Stevie Wonder, Keith Richards, Bheki Mseleku, Fabio & Grooverider, William Parker, the James Taylor Quartet, Sly & Robbie, Nigel Kennedy, Robbie Williams, Joe Cocker, The Who, George Martin, Julian Joseph, Black Top, the London Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Orchestra, Cassandra Wilson, Louis Moholo, and the London Community Gospel Choir, Hamid Drake, & Project 23, Goldie. More recently, demonstrating great versatility, Cleveland was cast as the starring role in Julian Joseph’s, two groundbreaking jazz operas, Bridgetower and Shadowball, to considerable acclaim.
In June last year he performed with vibraphonist Orphy Robinson at Freedom: The Art of Improvisation Festival at The Vortex, performing their project Duke Joint. Also with a project London-Chicago Vibration in Nov’ at the London Jazz Festival, a 50th anniversary tribute to the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) led by multi-percussionist Orphy Robinson and an all-star band of UK-based improvisers including legendary drummer Louis Moholo vibist Corey Mwamba and saxophonist Jason Yarde.
British Drummer and percussionist Jon Clark is from darkest depths of Somerset. Immersed from the start in a huge variety of musical styles, Jon has spent time studying and touring in India and Cuba. Since 2007, he took his involvement with improvised music to a deeper level under the tutorage of Gwilly Edmondez and Blue Rince. He currently is to be found working with like-minded individuals in a wide range of idioms from latin soul to improvised hip-hop.