“Wuji” in Chinese means “boundless”, “endless” and “continuously evolving”.
“Innovation” and “a strong stylistic identity” are the credo of Wuji Ensemble. Founded in 2003, the group has been dedicated to creating a performing platform for local musicians, cultivating cultural insights and nurturing artistic accomplishments. Ensemble members are all highly skilled and experienced performers of the Chinese plucked-string instruments of the ruan and the pipa and sharing a love for music and culture. In terms of programming and performing, Wuji Ensemble constantly commissions new works as well as new arrangements of existing repertoires in Chinese and Western music, complemented with other theatrical elements. Depending on the music, solo instruments such as xiao, sheng and huqin may be added to enhance the mood, or to tie in with the highly creative staging effects of the modern theatre. Additional theatrical elements may include stage installations, lighting or special acoustic effects, giving free reign for a multimedia performance. Through its continuous development, the Ensemble is now a full-fledged professional group. Its new configuration of Chinese instruments, flexible performing formats and the potential in sustainable growth are comparable with the artistic character of Hong Kong – by using tradition as the axis and moving freely between the East and the West as well as incorporating myriad possibilities of interpretation and technology, the Ensemble hopes to open up a new path for creative expression.
When they are not performing on stage, members of the Ensemble follow a regular regimen that includes transcendental meditation, Peking Opera training, dance and calligraphy. On a regular basis, the Ensemble also invites speakers and professionals in the culture and arts sector for lectures to further enhance their artistic accoutrements, on subjects ranging from the aesthetics to literature and architecture. On stage, Wuji’s members are required to memorize all the scores with no conductor. This enables effective tacit communication and enhances rapport among the members on stage. Their repertoire covers a wide range of music and is highly experimental, ranging from traditional to ancient music reinterpreted, and to western classical, pop and contemporary music. Since its inception, Wuji has premiered many new arrangements and commissioned works by local composers.
Since 2003, Wuji Ensemble has organized and presented many large-scale multi-media performances and activities, as well as published two CD recordings The Impression of Wuji Ensemble and Ruan’s Touch of Fancy. In February 2012, through its “Images of Dunhuang” project, Wuji became one of the first grantees of the Springboard Grant under the government’s Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme, presenting themed concerts, lectures, cultural workshops as well as masterclasses. Wuji’s Taiwan, Beijing and Shanghai Sub-ensembles were also subsequently established, thereby further extending Wuji’s artistic ideals beyond Hong Kong, fully exploring the Ensemble’s potentials, flexibility, diversity and visionary outlook.