Percussionist & Yanqin virtuoso create Skin that Speaks: the "talking 1 day ago   13:54

TEDx Talks
Award winning world percussion fusing American jazz, world music and funk converses with spellbinding virtuosity and Chinese folk melodies on the yanqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer). In this completely improvised performance for TEDxTysons, the audience is taken on a magical tour of the Silk Road for modern times. Chao Tian:
A leading performer on the Chinese dulcimer, board member of Beijing Association of China Traditional Music, and leader of “Always Folk” ensemble, a member of 12 Girls Band, Chao Tian has established a career as a soloist, educator, advocate, and composer in both traditional Chinese music and other genres. As a lecturer at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) and a former member of the world renowned Twelve Girls Band, she worked many years in the discipline of musical and cultural exchange. She is currently a member of the prestigious Artist in Residence program (AIR) at Strathmore Music Center. Her musical journey began at the age of 5 and at age 12 she gained entrance to the affiliated middle school of China Conservatory with a major in dulcimer and a minor in piano. Later she was recommended for immediate admission to China Conservatory, where she obtained the master degree of arts in musical performance in 2010 as well as minors in piano and percussion. She had the experience studying Cimbalom with Hungarian virtuoso musician Victoria Herencsar, which broaden her understanding of western classical and religious music. She has contributed to local Chinese community’s cultural awareness and she was invited to perform at Chinese New Year Festival Gala 2018.

Tom Teasley:
2016 Drummie Award for 'World Percussionist of the Year by Drum! Magazine, Mr Teasley maintains a unique career as solo percussionist, composer and collaborator. Tom is a 2010, 2011 and 2017 Helen Hayes Theatre Award recipient for outstanding sound design (nominations in 2012, 2014, 2015). Tom tours frequently throughout the world performing and presenting clinics for the instrument companies he endorses including Yamaha, Vic Firth, Sabian, Remo, Gon Bops and others. His educational book /DVD, An American Approach to World Percussion is published by Alfred Publishing. Tom is the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 WAMA (Washington Area Music Award) World Music Instrumentalist of the year. A six-time recipient of a Fulbright-Hayes grant for performances in the Middle East, Tom collaborated with indigenous musicians and gave historic performances by invitation of U.S. embassies in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Samoa, Oman and Jerusalem. He has been an artist-in-residence at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and has collaborated with the National Symphony as both a soloist and composer. As an international collaborator he has performed by invitation in Europe, South America, New Zealand, Samoa and Korea. He has been the subject of numerous feature articles in both Modern Drummer Downbeat and Drum magazines. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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Gabriel Thompson
Wow I’m thr first comment
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Skin that Speaks: the "talking Percussionist & Yanqin virtuoso create 1 day ago   18:38

The Yoruba people have a fascinating family of musical instruments called talking drums that "speak" the language. Presented will be a newly composed work that combines the essence of the talking drum with European Amplified Bassoon making a unique combination and listening experience! the presentation introduces the cultural aspects of the talking drum.

Dr. Varner has been Director of Percussion at the University of Texas at Arlington for 34 years. He holds a degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University, a Master’s in Performance from The University of Michigan, and a Doctorate in Performance from The University of North Texas. With a long history as an educator he has given presentations Internationally. He draws from 40 years experience performing repertoire to the highest standards. In 2014 he released his latest CD “reVelations” featuring his own compositions. Excerpts from Dr. Varner's performances can be seen on Youtube.
His interest in world music led to a sabbatical in Nigeria and “Study-Abroad” classes to Ghana. His article “Skin That Speaks” was published in the 2013 Percussive Notes Journal. He teaches all percussion and world music courses at UT Arlington. He has presented Percussion clinics in every state, Europe, and Japan and has over 20 commissioned compositions published internationally.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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