Chung Shih’s current interest in the guqin concerns the subtly varied fingering instructions of older music score notation giving rise to a rich experience of rhythm, tempo, tone colour, articulations, breathing, and ultimately the very expression of this music, which he fears is being rapidly eroded away in our quest to popularise this music and to use the instrument merely as one to make melodies. His chief aim to share qin music through his lessons is to open up possibilities of experiencing music through sound and movement, and beyond, into fascinating glimpses of music-making the ancient Chinese have encoded into the practice in scores compiled through generations of qin masters.
After returning from his western music study at King’s College London where he encountered guqin music in a lecture by Li Xiangting at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Hoh Chung Shih started learning guqin in 1996 with Ji Zhiqun who teaches the lineage repertoire of Gongyi and Wu Wenguang. Chung Shih’s study of the ancient Chinese qin music led to his deep interest in the Chinese literati culture which includes brush painting, philosophy and garden design.
As a contemporary guqin musician, Chung Shih has been invited to perform at important venues internationally such as the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, USA and the Singapore Esplanade Concourse involving cutting edge interactive multimedia technologies. His own creative works as performer, sound artist, and composer, involving the guqin has also been featured in the Computer Music Journal for their annual DVD, and published by the MIT Press.
Chung Shih has been a music educator since 1995. With a PhD in music composition from University at Buffalo, USA, an institution which has “enjoyed a unique reputation for dedication to the highest level of contemporary musical creation”, Dr. Hoh’s approach to teaching guqin music emphasises its holistic nature, embodied in performance (and listening) within the larger cultural practice of the Chinese literati, allowing this ancient tradition to be meaningful and enriching to our contemporary lives, for all age groups and cultural backgrounds. His wide ranging approach in music education stems from his own practices as a contemporary music composer, sound artist, and as a teacher with over 20 years of experience in music pedagogy.