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WMI Presents The World Premiere Of Techung Tibetan Ensemble At Kaufman Music Center

Techung is a Tibetan singer, songwriter and musician living in the USA.

WMI presents the world premiere of Techung Tibetan Ensemble at Kaufman Music Center, a rare presentation of Classical Music and Dance from Lhasa, Saturday, June 4, 2022.

Techung is a Tibetan singer, songwriter and musician living in the USA. He is best known for his skilled and moving performances of traditional Tibetan music, dance, and opera. Growing up in exile in Dharamshala, India, Techung was raised to become one of the rare keepers of traditional Tibetan musical traditions. After immigrating to the US, Techung co-founded the Chakasampa Tibetan Dance and Opera Company in 1989 and made his Carnegie Hall debut with Philip Glass, REM, Trey Anastasio, and Patti Smith as part of the Tibet House's annual Monlam Festival. After years of performing as a solo artist over the last decade, Techung's new mission is to promote the endangered genres of classical music from Lhasa, Tibet which are rarely staged or performed anywhere.

This worldwide premiere of Techung and his Music Ensemble will present a repertoire of classical music and dance from Tibet known as Nangma and Toeshey. Lhasa is the most sacred city in Tibet, the seat of the Dalai Lamas and great monasteries. During the golden years, the Tibetan ruling elite supported music and dance troupes known as Nangma Kidus, exponents of the Nangma and Toeshey classical genres from Lhasa. These classical musical traditions became widely popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth century in Central Tibet with the formation of Nangma associations.

Nangma is a genre of Tibetan music thought to be influenced by musicians from Kashmir, of which a small community existed and flourished in Central Tibet. Nangma music is elegant and poetic in its composition. With the support of the Tibetan elite, Nangma groups further expanded and the music itself developed and came to be associated with official banquets and picnics.

Toeshay -- meaning 'songs from Western Tibet' -- is a genre of music generally performed with the traditional instrument called dranyen (Tibetan lute). The music is more serious and suitable for circle dancing. As Toeshay became refined and popular in Lhasa and surrounding areas, it merged with Nangma and Nangma/Toeshay became an intersecting musical tradition. These genres reached their pinnacle in the 1930s with the great musician, Acho Namgyal, a blind maestro from south central Tibet. Namgyal composed and performed some of the best-known songs which are still performed to this day.

As an older generation of Tibetans is passing away, time is running out on nearly all aspects of Tibetan culture. This is one of the reasons why during the last seven years Techung has been undertaking his "Tibetan Music Preservation" project to professionally record and perform the songs that he learned from his elders from Tibet in India. This upcoming tour is the final outcome of the project where Techung and his Tibetan Music Ensemble will perform for the first time in the US, a concert based on a repertoire of Nangma and Toeshey music. This worldwide premiere aims to support the efforts of Tibetans preserving and celebrating this music tradition and cultural heritage

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