Mongolian music comes to campus

The haunting sounds of traditional Mongolian music come to campus in a month-long celebration hosted by the Department of Music in the College of Arts & Sciences and The Endless Steppe Project. Two more concerts of Mongolian music are coming up, highlighting the musical legacy of composer Byambasurengiin Sharav, Oct. 20 and 22 at Barnes Hall.

“Sharav is a household name in Mongolia, but his works are seldom heard outside Mongolia’s borders. My goal in studying and performing Mongolian music has been to highlight the diverse, rich context and history of this country, people, and music,” said Joe Lerangis, assistant professor of music and Priscilla E. Browning Director of Choral Music (A&S).

The first concert on Fri., Oct. 20 at 7:30 pm features piano soloist Dr. Shuree Enkhbold and will trace the evolution in Sharav's music for piano, following his life from an upbringing in a nomadic herding family in Mongolia's eastern Khentii Province, to his experience studying in Sverdlovsk at the State Conservatory of the Urals, to his critical hand in shaping Mongolian music in the post-socialist era.

The second performance on Sun., Oct. 22 at 3:00 pm explores the sounds of the Mongolian steppe. A country of just over 3 million people with a vast expanse of land, Mongolia has produced a kaleidoscope of music over the past century. Sharav's soundscape has shaped a generation of Mongolian composers, and is linked inextricably to Mongolia's natural landscape, its mountains and rivers, and the nomadic pastoral lifestyle, said Lerangis.

The afternoon will feature Sharav's works for large ensemble and soloists, including Sharav’s monumental Concerto for Horse-Head Fiddle, composed in 1991 amid the collapse of the Socialist regime in Mongolia.

Both concerts feature guests Urtnasan Gantulga on Horse-Head Fiddle and long-song vocalist Ganchimeg Badamsuren and are led by Lerangis.

The month-long celebration began with a performance Oct. 1 by world-renowned throat singer and multi-instrumentalist Tamir Hargana. A native of Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, he performed  songs from Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Tuva, highlighting diasporic crossover of Mongolian singing, sounding, and playing styles. His band, Tuvergen, aims to create a "modern nomadic music," blending Mongolian sounds with American folk idioms, according to Lerangis.

The concerts are sponsored by the Society for the Humanities and are part of the Endless Steppe Project, an initiative founded by Lerangis and Enkhbold to foster musical exchange between Mongolia and the United States.

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		Person singing in a brightly colored traditional costume of Mongolia