Center for Performing Arts, in Washington, hosted Cambodian classical musician Chum Ngek
last week, to represent both Cambodian tradition and the state of Maryland.
At the center, he played three
solos on his "roneat aik," a kind of treble xylophone, and led the
Chum Ngek is a recipient of
the Bess Lomax Hawes Fellowship award for service to his community, and is a
master of Cambodian music, an accomplished performer and revered teacher.
Center is featuring arts across America,
presenting artists from 51 states and many disciplines and backgrounds,
including music, dance and theater.
The Kennedy Center
invited Chum Ngek "to work with a number of masters in different
traditional realms of performances," said Garth Ross, director of
performing arts. "He represents Maryland
and Cambodian cultures."
"Our goal is to invite
him to make sure that the Cambodian culture is represented, and we know him to
be the foremost teacher and performer," Ross said.
Chum Ngek was thrilled about
performing at the Kennedy
Center, where he has been
invited to play many times in the past.
"I am glad that our
Cambodian art is recognized," he said, adding that he was grateful to
other Cambodian performers who had paved the way, as well as the support of the
Cambodian-American Heritage and Buddhist Society groups.
Chum Ngek has released a CD of
Pin Peat songs titled "Hom Rong."
peat" is associated with the Angkorian empire, and contemporary
repertoires date back to the mid-19th Century, when then king Ang
Duon revived Khmer culture, including court music and dance.