Khmer Arts Ensemble | A Bend in the River

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World: Asian- Southeast Classical: Ballet Moods: Instrumental
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A Bend in the River

by Khmer Arts Ensemble

Composer Him Sophy's richly percussive and polyphonic score for Sophiline Cheam Shapiro's dance drama of the same name brings reptiles to life and the Cambodian classical pin peat ensemble into the modern era.
Genre: World: Asian- Southeast
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Moha's Song
2:56 $0.99
2. Vichek Moni's Song
1:52 $0.99
3. Kaley's Family Traveling
6:54 $0.99
4. Vichek Moni's Sorrow
0:42 $0.99
5. Vichek Moni Finds the Egg
0:50 $0.99
6. Vichek Moni Raises Kaley the Crocodile
8:54 $0.99
7. Kaley and Moha Meet
2:40 $0.99
8. Kaley and Moha Fall in Love
5:18 $0.99
9. Kaley's Sorrow
4:12 $0.99
10. Kaley Swims Away
1:22 $0.99
11. Fiance and His Friends
5:08 $0.99
12. Kaley and Her Fiance Are Reunited
3:58 $0.99
13. Kaley Receives the Bewitched Garland
6:20 $0.99
14. Vichek Moni Is Ill
2:24 $0.99
15. Kaley Swallows Vichek Moni
4:22 $0.99
16. The Mob Attacks Kaley
1:56 $0.99
17. Cremation of Vichek Moni
2:48 $0.99
18. Kaley's and Vichek Moni's Spirits Arise
2:30 $0.99
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Album Notes
Composer Him Sophy's richly percussive, polyphonic score for choreographer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro's Cambodian classical ballet "A Bend in the River" brings to life a tale of love, heartbreak, magic, vengeance, consequence, redemption and two giant crocodiles. This is the first new music for the pin peat ensemble, a genre of music that is more than a thousand years old, in modern history. Through inventive playfulness, Him makes the ancient feel completely contemporary.

Him Sophy’s many compositions include: String quartet for violins, viola and cello (1987); A Memory from Darkness: Trio for violin, cello and piano (1990); Decline of Angkor - for soprano, flute, clarinet, cello, harp and percussion (1992); Symphony for large symphony orchestra (1993); The Mondolkiri Landscape — for cello and recorder (1998); I walk…and I cry on the island Poulouway – for recorder flute, alto flute, and bass flute (1998); and The Ono¬matopoeia of rhythm of ensemble Pin Peat – for recorder, flute, alto flute, and bass flute (1998). His music for dance includes Apsara — Dancing Stone: Music for contemporary Cambodian dance (1994). He has also written extensively for film, including such compositions as Blood and Life, No Home Too Far, and Cambodia Dreams. In 2008, his rock opera Where Elephants Weep premiered at Phnom Penh’s Chenla Theater. His The First Strike premiered in March 2011 at the Auckland Arts Festival, and he is currently working on Bangskol: a Cambodian Requiem commissioned by the Season of Cambodia festival.

Him has been a professor of music at the Royal University of Fine Arts and the Royal Academy of Cambodia, and an instructor at the Northbridge International School. Born into a musical family in Prey Veng province, Cambodia, Him began his studies in music in 1972 at the music school of the University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh and resumed his music studies in 1981. In 1985, he received a full scholarship from the Soviet Union to study in Moscow, where he lived for the next decade. He studied piano with Prof. Igor Lvovitch Bogomolov and Rima Anatolievna Khananina and composition with Prof. Konstantin Batashow and Prof. Roman Ledeniev. He also studied musicology with Dr. Yri Kholopov. He earned a MFA in music composition in 1993, his doctorate in composition in 1995 and his PhD in musicology in 1998. With support from an Asian Cultural Council fellowship, he traveled the USA as a visiting artist in 2001 and 2002.

Khmer Arts Ensemble
Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, Artistic Director
Roneat Phlua (Twin Xylophone): Nil Sinoeun
Roneat Thong (Low Pitch Xylophone): Bin Sophors
Gong Phlua (Twin Circle Gong): Phatt Sophat
Gong Vong (Circle Gong): Soun Phally
Sralay (Oboe): Kem Rithy
Sampho (Double-Headed Drum): Ros Sokun
Skor Thom (Standing Drums): Meas Kimham
Vocals: Cheam Chantopheas

Choreographer and Director Sophiline Cheam Shapiro’s Khmer Arts Ensemble is distinguished by its impeccable technique, its capacity to expand the Cambodian classical vocabulary and realize new works, and its collaborations across disciplines. Sophiline’s choreography has been commissioned by and toured to venues on four continents, including Vienna's New Crowned Hope Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Los Angeles' Disney Hall, Amsterdam’s Muziektheater, University Musical Society and Carolina Performing Arts. NYC’s Joyce Theater marked its third presentation of Cheam Shapiro’s work with A Bend in the River, having previously presented Seasons of Migration and Pamina Devi: A Cambodian Magic Flute.

Recent works include Stained for Fire! Fire! Fire! — a triple bill with choreographers Pichet Klunchun (Thailand) and Eko Supriyanto (Indonesia) that was performed throughout Southeast Asia in 2013, The Lives of Giants, which toured the USA in 2010 and 2011, and Shir Ha-Shirim/Monkul Lokey, Cheam Shapiro’s collaboration with composer John Zorn, which was commissioned and premiered at the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process series in 2008.

Cheam Shapiro is a 2013 McKnight International Fellow, a 2009 recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship—a lifetime honor awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts—and a USA Knight Fellow. She was awarded the Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture in 2006 and has received Creative Capital, Durfee, Guggenheim and Irvine Dance Fellowships, among other honors.

Born in Phnom Penh, Cheam Shapiro was a member of the first generation to graduate from the School of Fine Arts after the fall of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime. She immigrated to Southern California in 1991, where she studied dance ethnology at UCLA. She is artistic director and co-founder of Khmer Arts, a transnational organization dedicated to fostering the vitality of Cambodian dance across borders.

Bin Sophors (Roneat Thong/Low Pitch Xylophone) has performed internationally with Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2010. He is a graduate of Phnom Penh’s Royal University of Fine Arts and teaches music history at Chea Sim Chrouy Changvar High School.

Cheam Chantopheas (Vocalist) has performed internationally with the Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2007. Before joining the Ensemble, he was a pop singer.

Kem Rithy (Sralay/Oboe) has performed internationally with Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2010. He is a graduate and current faculty member of Phnom Penh’s Royal University of Fine Arts.

Meas Kimhan (Skor Thom/Standing Drums) is a folk dancer and musician with the Department of Performing Arts and is a graduate of the School of Fine Arts. In 2011, he spent a year teaching at the Angkor Dance Troupe in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Nil Sinoeun (Roneat Phlua/Twin Xylophone) learned to play roneat ek with his father, Nul Nil, who was a professor of music at Phnom Penh’s School of Fine Arts. Since joining the Khmer Arts Ensemble in 2006, he has performed throughout Cambodia and in Europe and North America. He also teaches pin peat music to students in the village of Preak L'vea, where he lives.

Phatt Sophat (Gong Phlua/Twin Gong) has performed internationally with Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2008. He is a graduate of Phnom Penh’s Secondary School of Fine Arts and National College of Pedagogy. In addition to his work with Khmer Arts Ensemble, he teaches music history at Chea Sim Chrouy Changvar High School.

Ros Sokun (Sampho/Double-Headed Drum) learned to play drums in Phnom Penh’s royal palace during the 1960s ad 1970s. After the 1979 fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, he joined the Department of Performing Arts, with whom he toured extensively. He joined the Khmer Arts Ensemble in 2006 with whom he has performed internationally, including a 2008 performance with the Los Angeles Master Chorale of composer Chinary Ung’s Spiral XII at Disney Concert Hall.

Soun Phally (Gong Touch/Circle Gong) has performed internationally with Khmer Arts Ensemble since 2008. He is a graduate of Phnom Penh’s Royal University of Fine Arts.

"A Bend in the River" premiered on 5 April 2013 at the State Theatre, presented by Northrop Concerts and Lectures, the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

The creation of "A Bend in the River" was made possible, in part, by Leveraging Investments in Creativity, Spunk Fund, Inc., the MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a 2013 McKnight International Fellowship, and with the support of the following generous individuals:
Michael Alexander, Anida Yoeu Ali, Neal Anderson, Artists 2 Artists, Eva Marie Ash, Zack Avshalomov, Stacey Baron-Blank, John Melville Bishop, Lon Chan, S. Chen, Heidi Blotner, Sandra Burch, Spencer Burt, Naree Chan, Ed Chhay, Kent Davis, Lynn & Dale Delsing, Katherine DeShaw, Kayte Deioma, Fred Dulin, Jeffery Steven Forman, Tina Franke, Fred Frumberg, Debra Gitterman, Kari G. Grossman, Tania Jo Hathaway, Beth Kantner, Anna Kelly, Shuriu Lo, Dwayne McAliley, Catherine MacNeal, Jane Martin, Rick Meghiddo, Janet Mitami, Navin Moul, Prumsodun Ok, the Ouklore Family, Anne Pok, June Ellen Pulcini, Vaddey & Blake Ratner, Michael Ritterbrown, Geoff Robinson, Linda Saphan, Cathy J Schlund-Vials, Alan Shapiro, Tim & Karen Shapiro, Kirstie Jean Simson, Jenny Slattery, Robert Stein, Mengly Taing, Roberta Uno, Curtis Webster, Jeff Williams, Megumi Williams, Joe Youcha, the Zuiderveen/Borst Family, and those who chose to remain anonymous.

Khmer Arts Ensemble would like to thank Cecily Cook, Rachel Cooper, Marianne Gerschel, Erin Gleeson, Ben Johnson, Khvay Samnang, Boreth Ly, Karen Molleson, Toni Shapiro-Phim, Linda Shelton, Martin Wechsler, Khatharya Um and the entire team at Season of Cambodia for their help and support.

Cover photo of Phatt Sophat by Dylan Maddux/Season of Cambodia.
Cover design by Chum Chanveasna.



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