EastRiver Ensemble

EastRiver deals in Chinese instruments: from bow-strings (the huqin group) and plucked lutes (tanbo yue) to bamboo winds (dizi, xiao and such), reedy oboes (sona and guanzi) , and festive drums, cymbals & gongs, and sometimes a saxophone, cello or an Arabic drum.  The music will  be Chinese, if you please, with a sneak into Korea or Japan, and the odd American jingle or a die-hard Hollywood tune to take you now and then into your own nostalgia.


The basic ensemble is of three to seven pieces; the extended ensemble may be seven or eight and up to twelve delivering a full repertoire of tunes, songs (sometimes theater and dance) interspersed with a narrative to lend drama and history to the music. Performances are timed to meet the requirement of the venue, from 30 to 90 minute in length, with or without intervals.

Geographical Identity

EastRiver music is essentially identified with the provinces of Dongbei & Hebei – largely – North and East China around the Yellow River with some venturing into other regional traditions such as ‘sizhu’ silk-and-bamboo (of the Yangtze River) or southern China (Canton, Chaozhou, Fujian)

Our Standard Repertoire in Historical Framework

  • Folk songs (some sung) of the 1950s, 60s or 70s; Mao’s cultural revolution era (1966-1975);
  • Contemporary virtuosic showpieces of that era reflective of the heyday of music conservatory competitions;
  • Theatrical format and fusion of Hebei (Bangzi) and Beijing opera;
  • Impromptu “recall” of traditional music of the oral tradition from the Tang dynasty (C.E. 900) up to the earliest scored music of the 20th century “old Society” China (pre-1949);
  • Arrangements of the dominant Han Chinese as inspired by the ethnic minorities of Xinjiang, Shanxi, or Inner Mongolia.
  • EastRiver’s own eclectic renditions of anything that comes to mind — playful, tentative, transitional works — reflecting the emigrant experience of artists living in New York and their global yearnings.

How to book us

Follow us on social media

youtube  our facebook our twitter


NYC Chinese Music Youth Award
DEADLINE: October 14, 2015
Download application here

Cultural Heritage Workshop
members of the Mencius Youth Orchestra perform on stage

Youth Orchestra performance

For more information on courses, browse our bulletin here.



In-House News

Sept 19, 2015

Mencius Youth Chinesse Orchestra (MYCO), our senior youth orchestra, performed at Staten Island's Snug Harbor for the mid-autumn fesitval on September 19, 2015. Stay tuned for more updates!


© 2015 East River Arts Center     |     243 Grand Street, 3 Fl. New York, NY 10002     |     Tel: 212-431-7373     |     info@menciussociety.org     |     Produced By QZ creative