The Dunhuang Lovers (2017) by Xinyan Li
for flute, cello, and pipa

The Dunhuang Lovers tells a love story between the Khotan Princess Meiduo, who fled to Dunhuang to join her elder sister after the Kingdom of Khotan was conquered, and the Hanlin Academy artist Fang Tianyou, who was dispatched by the Song government to bring the Buddhist sutra printed in gold lettering to Dunhuang. In this trio, I try to express various emotions such as sweetness, bitterness, joy and sadness by making full use of the tone colors of this instrumentation. One will hear sustained, sometimes irregular free-rhythm long-breath melodic lines, lots of glissandos, tremolos, trills and grace notes, as well as influences coming from Northwestern China. This work has been premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York City in September 2017; today's performance is the West Coast premiere.

— X. L.