5 things you didn’t know about…Sara Heng
Sara Heng is a guzheng master who graduated from Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. The guzheng has a history of over 2,500 years and is a Chinese plucked string instrument. The guzheng is also used to curate artistic content alongside practising the instrument, with the makings of painting and calligraphy. This too, has been performed by Sara with Haze Leong, displaying speed painting with the playing of the guzheng.
- She practised 5-8 hours a day when she studied In Beijing
With all that energy spent on practising the guzheng, Sara mysteriously shares that her Malaysian breakfast of preference depends on her mood. She was 12 years old when she first embraced the guzheng, with the influence of her older brother who participated in the Chinese orchestra during high school. She tells us that she has had to be focused, determined and able to withstand the loneliness of having to practice by herself.
- Her celebrity crushes
Sara hopes to perform with heartthrobs Jay Chou and JJ Lin because she admires the Chinese composition in their pop songs, which often includes Guzheng music.
- Sara’s pre and post-performance rituals
Equivalent to a true artist, Sara uses visualisation and imagines the entirety of the performance in her head before performing on stage as it makes her feel more secure and confident. She only has a drink after performing. When asked if she has hobbies that accentuates her guzheng performance, Sara says she likes to attend music festivals, musicals, plays and different kinds of performances to feel inspired.
- On East Meets West in the Arts
Sara says we need to maintain an open heart towards the younger generation in figuring out where the interest lies so that a crossover between modern and traditional arts/music can happen to make it as fun and interesting as it should be.
“Western composition and notation are applied in the contemporary music of guzheng, but most of the composition still do apply a lot of traditional techniques to bring out the charm of Chinese music. Contemporary compositions of this kind are challenging but brings GuZheng music to another level and attracts more of the younger generation to appreciate Chinese music.”
- Performing in Malaysia vs Beijing
The performance environment and financial condition is said to be different. Sara shares with us that she finds Malaysian artistes to be appreciative of the funding and opportunities even more. As it’s always been a challenge when it comes to funding in the music and arts scene in Malaysia, Sara adds that finding a balance between commercial and art value is important.