Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts
Summer FREE Concert @ NEC 2023
at New England Conservatory,
Boston, Massachusetts

Aug 10 to 26, 2023
All concerts Admission Free, suggested donation $10 at door
Age 6 and under not admitted



Saturday, August 12, 2023, 7:30 pm
NEC's Williams Hall

Psychopomp Ensemble
with pianists
Xiaopei Xu 徐小培
Chi Wei Lo 駱奇偉




On the mesmerizing performance by the Psychopomp Ensemble with pianists Xiaopei Xu and Chi-Wei Lo, music critic Thomas Boss of the Boston Musical Intelligencer said, quote: "Saturday night’s Williams Hall audience showered huge enthusiasm on the duo pianists Xiaopei Xu and Chi Wei Lo. This initially skeptical reviewer was converted by Lo’s taste, technique and inventiveness. This evening delivered mostly very promising new directions in pianism as the extremely talented young duo explored some far reaches of musical possibilities. We left with expectations of great things to come from Lo and Xu."

Admission Free, suggested donation $10 at door.
Age 6 and under not admitted.

Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts
Lincoln, Massachusetts



photos: Chung Cheng
  event photos: Haiqi Zhang

The Maiden and the Nightingale Reimagined

This work consists of several layers. It starts with Granados' "Maiden and the Nightingale" at its core. The next layer features Bill Evans' arrangement of the same piece, where he and his jazz trio perform alongside a symphony orchestra. The third layer involves Messiaen's bird calls, borrowed from his bird catalog, which bird lovers might recognize towards the end. Finally, our own touches become the last layer, integrating different genres and elements into a unique soundscape.

Drawing Room Blues, and Tonk

Ellington and Strayhorn, two legendary musicians frequently performed together as a four hand duet, and these two surviving recordings capture their brilliance . Their improvisations sounded like through-composed compositions, yet none of the notes were written down. We learned Tonk by ear, while for Drawing Room Blues, we meticulously transcribed the notes. An intriguing challenge arose as these are audio IP recordings, leaving us to speculate on who played which part based on their distinct musical styles, and sometimes based on the sound of the squeaking chair when they would get up and switch places. According to one witness, they kept alternating solos at the higher register of the keyboard.

Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues

In the 1930s, workers at the cotton mill in Winnsboro, South Carolina, found solace in singing lyrics that captured the hardship of factory labor and fostered camaraderie among them. The first stanza goes like this, “Ol' man seargent sittin' at the desk; The damn ol' fool won't give us no rest; He'd take the nickels off a dead man's eyes; To buy a Coca-Cola an' a eskimo pie.”

Rzewski draws inspiration from the cotton mill blues tune, directing both pianists to emulate the sound of weaving machines using their arms and elbows. We made two modifications: first, we will expand and improvise on one section where an ostinato bass repeats. Second, the piece ends with a vivid scene where only one weaving machine persists, accompanied by a faint melody from a portable radio playing the blues, until the factory abruptly shuts down, bringing everything to a sudden stop.


Psychopomp Ensemble

Founded by CHI-WEI LO and XIAOPEI XU, the Psychopomp Ensemble has been recognized for their unconventional transcriptions and multidisciplinary performances. In a pioneering pursuit, the Psychopomp Ensemble presents music synthesizing improvisation, recompositions, and original works, forging paths in standard repertoire as well as world music and works in the 21st century.

Immediate highlights include concerts presented by The Harvard Musical Association, UCLA, The Chinese American Museum (LA), Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Scripps College, Ukraine Forward, College Music Society, Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts, The Lancaster Piano Festival and the German Society of Pennsylvania. Their (almost) all Gottschalk program was released by The Harvard Musical Association, With a feature on the Boston Musical Intelligencer.

In 2021, the Psychopomp Ensemble presented a series of interdisciplinary happenings in Los Angeles, which attracted more than a dozen press, including the LA times, NBC News, Shanghai Morning Post, Qilu Evening news, and others.

Xiaopei Xu 徐小培, piano

Hailed by The Boston Globe as “a world-class pianist” and the BMInt as “spellbinding and expressive”, Xiaopei Xu has been featured as a soloist on three continents, striving for creativity in her artistic expression. She made her Boston Symphony Hall debut in 2018, performing with Maestro Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops.

Xu has received international acclaim with top prizes at the New York International Piano Competition, Oberlin International Piano Competition, Tureck International Bach Competition, Richmond Piano Competition and the Washington D.C. International Young Artist Competition. She has been invited to major festivals including Pianofest in the Hamptons, PianoTexas, Banff Music Centre, Sarasota Music Festival, Russia Young Artist Festival, and the Walnut Hill Music Festival. Xu has also been invited regularly to give masterclasses and lectures in Nanjing, Beijing, Qingdao, amongst other cities in China. Xu has been exclusively interviewed by Shanghai Morning Post, Qilu Evening news, Music Weekly, Yanzhao Metropolis Daily, and Shanxi Evening News. Her concerts have been reported by The Boston Globe, Sing Tao Daily, Boston Musical Intelligencer, Lancaster New Era, and more. 

Xu’s recent performances have been presented by the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Harvard Musical Association, Foundation for the Chinese Performing Arts, The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation, German Society of Pennsylvania, Lancaster International Piano Festival, Chinese American Museum (LA), Ukraine Forward, College Music Society, among others.

In addition to her musical endeavors, Xu integrates her love for visual arts with music, creating multidisciplinary collaborations as a way to enhance the artistic experience. A painter herself, she has been commissioned for several installations and collaborative projects. Xu created a combined art and concert experience at the Germany Society of Pennsylvania, as well as an exhibition of her artwork in “The Seven Deadly Sins,” an interdisciplinary concert at the New England Conservatory. Collections of her drawings have been published by the Clara Haskil Competition’s Jeune Critique.

Xu holds her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Boston University, Master’s degree from Yale University and Bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. Her principal teachers include Hung-Kuan Chen, Xun Pan, Meng-Chieh Liu, and Boaz Sharon. She has also worked with influential musicians such as Claude Frank, Richard Goode, and Paul Badura-Skoda.

Chi Wei Lo  駱奇偉, piano/arranger

“Nervy, cerebral, passionate, mysterious and sensual…Flowing, aloft, and at the same time, grounded” (BMInt), pianist and improviser Chi-Wei Lo can well and truly smash the fourth wall. Having graduated from the Juilliard School under Jerome Lowenthal and Hung-Kuan Chen, Lo enjoys interdisciplinary collaboration and is expanding his creativity through different performance formats. Lo is currently a doctoral candidate at the New England Conservatory, majoring in contemporary piano improvisation, where he was featured in a video as the representation of virtuosity in 2019.

Immediate major collaborators include: North American Medical Orchestra, Longwood Symphony Orchestra, Pink Noise, Flower Pistils, Counterpoint Ensemble and New Asia Chamber Society. Lo has also collaborated with Benjamin Zander, Tyshawn Sorey, Yazhi Guo, Joe Morris, Nan-Chang Chen, Jaehyuck Choi, Hao Huang, and Xiaopei Xu, who Lo frequently performs in recent years as a piano duo. 

Lo’s interdisciplinary performances have been presented by the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts, Harvard Musical Association, Ukraine Forward, College Music Society, Lancaster International Piano Festival, Tufts University, Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, UCLA, Chinese American Museum (LA), Holland Music Sessions and German Society Of Pennsylvania, to name a few.

In 2018, Lo was commissioned by the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation (KRTC) for its 10 years anniversary, which led to the album, Twelve Over Twelve, and the printing of Lo’s limited edition metro-card.

His solo tours, The Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins, Declaration of Aesthetics, Twelve Over Twelve, all included benefit concerts in accord with the belief that musicians should give back to their communities.

Lo currently teaches at the New England Conservatory, South Shore Piano School and Village Youth Conservatory.

Thank you for your generous contribution to
Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts

Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts
Lincoln,  Massachusetts