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Born in Shanghai and now living in Japan, Ms Jiang (姜建华, born 1961) was trained by her uncle during the Cultural Revolution, before attending Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music. The erhu, sometimes called the Chinese violin, is known for its plaintive, quintessentially Oriental tone. It dates from the Tang dynasty (617–908) and was originally meant to accompany Chinese opera singers. A steady refinement of playing techniques over the past century has popularised its use in solo performances.

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