“The Great Wall”

Commissioned by The Great Wall Quartet

Duration: 13 minutes

Scoring: 2 violins, viola, cello

Premiere: Great Wall Quartet Concert Tour (2011): Macau Cultural Centre (Macau), Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing), Taipei National University of the Arts, (Taipei)

US Premiere: Dover String Quartet
10 February 2013, Colgate University, NY

Recording: ArchiMusic (Taiwan) 18770247

Score Sample


I. Song From A Lost Time
Performed by The Great Wall Quartet. ©Archimusic

II. Toccata
Performed by The Great Wall Quartet. ©Archimusic

Program Note

The overtones of stone chimes from the Qing dynasty never fail to move me. Its unique, not-so-Well-Tempered sound is a distant reflection of a sumptuous era full of rich cultural heritages and, an era that built the Great Wall of China. In my second quartet, I attempted to pick up those lost tunes and reimagined them into a new melody. It starts on solo cello and slowly expands to the rest of the ensemble, finally forming a lyrical first movement, "Song From A Lost Time." A rhythmic and playful Toccata follows, in which special articulations were applied to the quartet to imitate the sound of Guqin, an ancient, plucked seven-string instrument.

The work was commissioned by Great Wall Quartet.

—Zhou Tian


The recording of String Quartet No. 2 “The Great Wall” was nominated for the Best Classical Album and won Best Instrumental Performance at the “Chinese Grammy” – the 24th Taiwan Golden Melody Awards in 2013.


Commercial recording available from ArchiMusic (Taiwan)



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