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The Power of words

Empowered by friendship, Jialiang and her fellow artists join forces to create a recital project celebrating The Power of Words through poetry and music. The recital program encompasses poetry as ancient as the twelfth century and as contemporary as today; the program features poetry and songs in multi-languages including English, German, French, and Mandarin-Chinese. The Power of Words project carries personal meaning for each of the participating artists, as they tap into their respective expertise and share their own creative power. To hear each artist's stories, check out their biographies below. 


Jialiang and her fellow artists are truly grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council for generously supporting this project.


Er ist's ("It's You, Spring!")

Mörike Lieder, No.6

Poetry: Eduard Mörike

Music: Hugo Wolf

元曲小唱三首 · 节选 

Selections from Three Yuan Qu Lyrics

Poetry: 徐再思 Xu Zaisi

Guan 贯云石 Yunshi 贯云石

Music: 高为杰 Gao Weijie

小河淌水 The Flowing Stream

Music:云南民歌 Yunnan Folk Song

黎英海配伴奏 Arr. by Li Yinghai

I Never Knew

Poetry: David Cameron

Music: David Jaeger

Poetry Selections by Kathryn Knowles

With Piano Improvisation by Jialiang Zhu

Poetry Selections by 杨青 Edith Yang Qing

With Piano Improvisation by Jialiang Zhu


Clouds are the Language of the Sky

* Commissioned by Jialiang Zhu *

Poetry: 杨青 Edith Yang Qing

Music: Roydon Tse

Selections from Chants d'Auvergne

(Songs from the Auvergne)

Music: Joseph Canteloube

poetry text
and translation

Er ist's

Poetry by Eduard Mörike

Frühling lässt sein blaues Band
Wieder flattern durch die Lüfte;
wohlbekannte Düfte
Streifen ahnungsvoll das Land.

Veilchen träumen schon,
Wollen balde kommen.
– Horch, von fern ein leiser Harfenton!
Frühling, ja du bists!
Dich hab ich vernommen!

It's You, Spring!

English Translation by Richard Stokes

Spring sends its blue banner
Fluttering on the breeze again;
Sweet, well-remembered scents
Drift propitiously across the land.

Violets dream already,
Will soon begin to bloom.
– Listen, the soft sound of a distant harp!
Spring, that must be you!
It’s you I’ve heard!

元曲小唱三首 · 节选

Selections from Three Yuan Qu Lyrics

折桂令 · 春情 

Poetry by 徐再思 Xu Zaisi



I never knew lovesickness in my entire life,
Only as I start to experience it,
I am already deeply tormented by it.
My body as floaty as the cloud,
My heart fluttering as the catkins,
My breath as thin as the thread.

Only a trace of your scent remains here. 

My precious one, where have you gone?

Lovesickness hits me,

When does it feel the strongest?

When the lamp is half-dim

And the moon is half-covered.

红绣鞋 · 欢情

Poetry by 贯云石 Guan Yunshi



Leaning on each other and sitting by the cloud windows;
Looking at each other, laughing, and singing on the moon pillows;
Listening, counting, worrying, and fearing the night passing.
Night passing, love lingering,
Love lingering, time flying. 
O Heaven, can’t you spare us two more hours!

English Translation by Jialiang Zhu



哥啊 哥啊 哥啊



哥啊 哥啊 哥啊


The Flowing Stream (Yunnan folk song from

Southwest China)

The moon rises bright and clear,
It reminds me of my love in the mountain.
My love is like the moon walking in heaven.
Ah, my love!
The stream runs clear at the mountain’s foot.

The moon shines on the slope, 
The bright moon reminds me of 
my love.
The cool breeze reaches up the slope.
Ah, my love!
Can you hear the cry of your love?


English Translation by Zi Xin Emily Lapin

Poetry Selections by

David Cameron

From the Car

'Follow it home,' my daughter said,
Seeing a yellow moon from the car.
Sweet girl, I don't nee
d told. It's in my nature
To be moon-led.


Death Explained

The crab was dead.
'Look at the crab!' I said,

My son asked, quietly,
'Is it waiting for somebody?'



I had been not-listening to my son
The best part of a minute, on a walk
In the drizzling rain. And in the time
I dwelt on my substantial thoughts, his talk
I grew to hear, was peppered with the word
Nothing. So many nothings, so much talk
Returning always to absence, extinction,
And not those things encountered on a walk –
Crows cawing from the elms, whatever else
He missed because his mind was nothing-filled
And I because of my substantial thoughts -
Which scattered soon enough, leaving me thrilled
By his ambition at the edge of town:
'To walk on nothing
and never fall down.

The Back of Your Ear


The back of your ear is so soft, you said.
Harvest moon, when no one's home.


I Never Knew


It feels strange again,
And sometimes sleep intervenes:
Our wires uncross,
Bodies stretch.
If bed can be an ocean,
As I've heard it said,
It can be any landscape:
You crawling through rough grass,
I examining
All those roads in the dark I'm drawn to.
It feels s
That night should
be so tender.
I never knew

Poetry Selections by

Kathryn Knowles

Our time of thriving

Our time of thriving
The golden green of springtime verse,
It glows in pockets here and there;
The spread of life that we observe,
Whose auric sheens speak summer fair
And streak the verdant youthful air,

Their blooms of promised, warming sun
Shall fill the soul with true welfare;
Our time of thriving has begun.

Small Pockets

In small pockets of the day,
We smile and laugh, share a tender,
Stolen kiss in quiet splendour,
As all our worries fade away.


In these times, we finally say
And do the things that we adore,
The things our hearts and souls yearn for;
These pockets of the day are ours
To count in minutes or in hours,
And fill with things that matter more.

The Daylight Dancer

A falling star 
Eclipsed the eyes 
Of the resting daylight dancer, 
Who spins in time 
With midday tunes 
And lives in a world of sweet dreams. 
With sparkling eyes, 
Glittering sight, 
She’ll take to the sky one more time 
To pirouette 
Upon the wind 
And choreograph the new dawn.


The Streets of London

I’ll walk with you through the streets of London,
On a sunny summer’s day.
We’ll stop for delights at Fortnum and Mason,
And see shows at the Savoy and Apollo;
We’ll picnic at Jubilee Park,
And listen to the musicians’ drums,
As we watch jets paint flags in the sky;
I’ll take you to see all the sights,
And stroll along the Thames,
Crisscrossing its web of bridges,
And listening to church bells chime;
We’ll wind through the streets, patched old and new,
And travel through time and space;
Because right here, right now,
We’re together again;
Walking the streets of London.

Poetry Selections by

Edith Yang Qing 杨青

The Rain Letters





Rain and spring together,
As the dawn fog lifts the curtain,
Quietly drift into a misty dream
Using still invisible, crystal-clear drops
Drip by drip, drop by drop, gently caress
The still sleeping skin
Sliding into a winter’s long empty silence




Rain drops form a green beaded curtain
Falling through spring’s fingers
Ding ding dong dong drumming the earth’s heart
The tickled grass laughs
Open up a season’s withered and yellowed clothes
Bare the thirsty chest
Part the chapped lips
Gulp down spring’s rain




On a sunny day
The rain hides in a clear corner of the sky
Wondering how it can meet the sunlight
Maybe the moment we meet
I will disappear into a wisp of smoke
Or become layers of diffused mist
Let the sun understand t
he beauty in the haze
Loving words the rain never had enough time to say


轻柔移步 轻溅水花


Spring rain likes to enter the streets
Sliding and falling from the wooden eaves
Taking in the quaint at
mosphere there
Tick tock wetting the bluestone slab like a silk thread
Write your mood with a slightly sad rhythm
Move softly, splash lightly
In front and behind the house are full
 of longing bluegrass
Reminiscing about the p
ast and whispering poetry under the patio



Spring is approaching little by little in the song of rain
A sharp chill carries away the heavy winter
A gentle swell brings the elegant spring
Some people privately rejoice under their roof
Others are sunken in the quiet, melancholic mist
Rain just keeps falling
Moistening the thousands of houses and buildings
Jotting down the brooding words of spring
Amidst the pitter-patter
, the rain letters are written


English Translation by Yang Sui and Jialiang Zhu


Clouds are the Language of the Sky

Poetry by Edith Yang Qing 杨青



Clouds dispersed, the sky is ever changing
Clouds gathered, the sky is nervous and anxious
Clouds full and dense, the sky is darkened and angry
Clouds scattered, the sky is calm and romantic
No clouds for miles and miles, the sky is completely silent




Clouds depict the rich expression of the sky
Sometimes smiling with joy, bright and vast
Sometimes crying in sorrow, its head hanging low
When joy surges in the chest of the sky
The sky can sing the song of the ocean




Clouds express the contemplative thoughts of the sky
Sometimes pulling a secluded straight line
Sometimes turning the scroll of history
When anger surges in the sky’s heart
The sky spits bullets of hail




The cloud writes blue legends above the ocean
She paints the islands in the sky with dark grey
As if she left her veil on the moon’s shoulders
All of this is the work of the lonely sky
Inadvertently becoming eternal classics




Clouds recount last night’s starry sky in the morning
Vines are still twisting around the grape trellis
The swing on which the Moon sat gently sways
The morning breeze brings back the tenderness of clouds to the sky
Greeting the sun that awaits to leap above the horizon




A cloud indulges in the pinkish-orange champaign at dusk
With light tipsiness written on her face
The sky falls into the gentle ripples of the lake
The cloud forgets her own language
Her purple veil also slips off into the water




The sky at night is more alert than during the day
Clouds turn into ethereal garments and gracefully dance
Constellations become the palace of stars
Billions of light years cannot obstruct our longing gazes
Empathy and kinship shorten the distance between our hearts
Clouds’ long sleeves are brimming with the poetic lines of stars
Solitude reveals infinite meaning in the minutest of beings

English Translation by Jialiang Zhu

Selections from

Chants d'Auvergne

(Songs from the Auvergne)

La pastoura als camps

Quon lo pastouro s'en bo os cams, 
Quon lo pastouro s'en bo os cams, 
Gardo sèï mountounadoï,
tidera la la la la la loï!
Gardo sèï mountounadoï!

Guèlo rèscoutr' un moussurèt,
Guèlo rèscoutr' un moussurèt;
Lou moussou l'ogatsavo,
Tidera la la la la la loï!
Lou moussou l’ogatsavo!

"Ah! Daïssa mè bous ogasta!
Ah! Daïssa mè bous ogasta!
Sès ton poulido filho!
Tidera la la la la la loï!
Sès ton poulido filho!"

"Estaco boustré cabalèt,
Estaco boustré cabalèt,
O lo cambo d’un' 'aôbré,
tidera la la la la la loï!
O lo cambo d’un' 'aôbré!"

È lo perdri, quan lo tènio,
È lo perdri, quan lo tènio,
Guèlo s'èn ès onado,
tidera la la la la la loï!
Guèlo s'en ès onado!

The shepherdess in the fields


When the shepherdess goes off into the fields, 
When the shepherdess goes off into the fields, 
To tend her little sheep,
tidera la la la la la loï!
To tend her little sheep!

She meets a gentleman,
She meets a gentleman;
The gentleman looks at her,
Tidera la la la la la loï!
The gentleman looks at her!

“Ah! Let me gaze at you!
Ah! Let me gaze at you!
You’re such a pretty girl!
Tidera la la la la la loï!
You're such a pretty girl!” 

“Tie up your horse,
Tie up your horse,
To the branch of a tree,
tidera la la la la la loï!
To the branch of a tree!” 

He lost her, when he got hold of her,
He lost her, when he got hold of her,
She ran away,
tidera la la la la la loï!
She ran away!




Pastré, dè dèlaï l’aïo
a gaïré dè boun ten,
dio lou baïlèro lèrô.
È n’aï pas gaïré, è dio, tu
baïlèro lèrô.

Pastré, lou prat faï flour,
li cal gorda toun troupèl,
dio lou baïlèro lèrô.
L’èrb ès pu fin’ ol prat d’oïçi,
baïlèro lèrô.

Pastré, couçi foraï,
èn obal io lou bèl rîou
dio lou baïlèro lèrô.
Espèromè, tè, baô çirca,
o lèrô.



Shepherd across the water,
Are you having a good time?
Calling “baïlèro lèrô!”
Hey, it’s not so great. 
Over to you: “baïlèro lèrô!"

Shepherd, the field is in flower;
This is where you should be tending your flock,
Calling “baïlèro lèrô!”
The grass is finer in the pasture over here:

Over to you: “baïlèro lèrô!"

Shepherd, how can I get over?
There’s a wide stream between us.
Calling “baïlèro lèrô!”
Wait for me; I am coming to get you: 
Over to you: “baïlèro lèrô!"


L'aïo dè rotso

L'aïo dè rotso té foro mourir, filhoto!
Nè té cal pas bèïr' oquèl',  aïo, quèl' aïo,
Mès cal prèndr'un couot d'oquèl' aïo dè bi!


S'uno filhoto sè bouol morida, pitchouno,
Li cal pas douna d'oquèl' aïo dè rotso,
Aïmaro miliour oquèl' aïo dè bi!


Water from the Spring

The water from the spring will kill you, little girl!
No, no, you mustn’t drink that stuff,
Much better to have a bowlful of wine instead!


If a girl wants to get married, my little one,
She shouldn't have water from the spring,
She will be much happier with a swig of wine!

Lou coucut

Lou coucut oqu'os un áuzel
Que n'io pas capt plus de to bel
Coumo lou coucut qué canto,
Lou mió coucut, lou tió coucut, 
è lou coucut dès autrès.
Dió ? Obès pas èntendut canta lou coucut?

Per obal, found del prat,
Sé ni’o un áubré flourit è gronat,
Qué lou coucut l'i canto.
Lou mió coucut, lou tió coucut, 
E lou coucut des autrès.
Dió ? Obès pas èntendut canta lou coucut?

E se toutse les coucuts
Bou lioù pourta souneto,
ô ! forióu çin cent troumpetoï!
Lou mió coucut, lou tió coucut,
E lou coucut des autrès.
Dió ? Obès pas èntendut canta lou coucut?


The cuckoo

The cuckoo is a bird
There is no bird more beautiful
Than when the cuckoo sings,
My cuckoo bird, your cuckoo bird,
And the cuckoo bird of others! 
Say? Haven’t you heard the cuckoo bird sing?

Down there, in the meadow,
There’s a tree in flower and ready for fruit,
Where the cuckoo sings.
My cuckoo bird, your cuckoo bird,
And the cuckoo bird of others! 
Say? Haven’t you heard the cuckoo bird sing?

If all of the cuckoos
Wore a little bell,
Oh! It would be as loud as five hundred trumpets!
My cuckoo bird, your cuckoo bird,
And the cuckoo bird of others!
Say? Haven’t you heard the cuckoo bird sing?


David Jaeger C.M..jpg

David Jaeger

David Jaeger is a composer, music producer and broadcaster, who created "Two New Hours", an important contemporary music series in Canada which was heard on the national CBC Radio Two network from 1978 to 2007. From 1974 to 2002 he served as the CBC Radio coordinator of the CBC/Radio-Canada National Radio Competition for Young Composers.


Jaeger's compositions range from chamber music to vocal and choral works and opera, as well as orchestral and electronic music. Since his retirement from CBC in 2013, he has concentrated increasingly on compositions for chamber ensembles and voices. The current work, I Never Knew, is a good example.


In 2002 Jaeger was elected President of the International Rostrum of Composers and was the only non-European ever to be named to this post. He served as President for six years. He was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2018.

Roydon Tse

Creating “Exquisitely layered soundworlds” (I care if you listen) and writing music “Brimming with youthful vitality” (Winnipeg Free Press), Canadian composer Dr. Roydon Tse seeks to communicate to audiences from all backgrounds with music that reflects our lived experiences.

Named one of CBC music’s Top “30 under 30” in 2017, Roydon has collaborated with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Hamilton Philharmonic, Brussels Philharmonic, the Verona Quartet, and members of the Paris Opera and La Scala Orchestras, among others. Notable accolades include seven SOCAN Foundation Awards for composers, the Washington International Composition Prize (2015), Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Emerging Artist Award (2018), and the Johanna Metcalf Protégé Prize (2019).

From Hong Kong, Dr. Tse studied composition at the University of British Columbia and University of Toronto.

Edith 1.JPG

Edith Yang Qing 杨青

Chinese-Canadian poet Edith Yang Qing specializes in poetry, prose, literary translation and criticism. She is the editor of American Magazine New Literature and a life member of Canadian Women Writers Association. She has co-published a collection of poems Echoes of the Kingdom of Heaven (Timur Publishing House) and co-translated Neruda's One Hundred Love Sonnets (Taiwan Tonsan Press).

Knowles 1.jpg

Kathryn Knowles

Kathryn Knowles is a composer, cellist, conductor, and writer currently based in Toronto, Ontario. Her compositions have been played in workshops by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the New Orford String Quartet, and the Penderecki String Quartet. Her most recent piece, Dreams of Hope, was commissioned by Joseph Petric and funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. She is currently collaborating with Morgan-Paige Melbourne to write a musical titled Between Fires, also funded by the CCA. Kathryn has performed and recorded with Juno-nominated singer-songwriter Lindsay Schoolcraft, and she recorded tracks for an upcoming album by the Juno-winning band, OKAN. Her poetry and short stories received honourable mention in the Writer’s Digest 89th Annual Writing Competition, and her debut fantasy trilogy, The Quiescence Trilogy, is available for purchase now. In addition to this, Kathryn is also a Centre Director with Sistema Toronto, the Music Director of Music4Life String Orchestra, and the Founder of Mad Endeavour. 

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David Cameron

David Cameron is a Glasgow-born poet and novelist. In 2014 he received the Hennessy Literary Award. He has been described as ‘one of the most insightful and thought-provoking poets around’, and his poetry (collected in The Bright Tethers and Korean Letters) has been praised by Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney. Reviewing Cameron’s first collection of fiction, Rousseau Moon, Robert Nye wrote that Cameron’s work ‘transmutes the base matter of common experience into something like gold’; a reviewer described Cameron’s experimental novel, Prendergast’s Fall, as ‘one of the most inventive and interesting novels of recent times’. Cameron has also written a critical study, Samuel Beckett: The Middle and Later Years. He continues to work closely with the Toronto-based composer David Jaeger on several settings of his poems. From late 2000 to mid-2004, Cameron lived in Amsterdam, where his forthcoming novel Femke is set. He now works as a learning consultant in Belfast.

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Zi Xin Emily Lapin

Zi Xin Emily Lapin is a Chinese-Canadian soprano based in Toronto, Ontario. A recent graduate of the University of Toronto, she obtained both a Master of Music and a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance. Amidst COVID-19, Emily was featured in various digital performances including the premiere of Palej’s digital opera Art of Love with COSA Canada, pianist Jialiang Zhu’s lecture recital showcasing Chinese Art Song and Brampton’s Vibrant Classical Music and Dance Festival. Other performance highlights include the title role in Semele (Toronto Opera Lyric Theatre), Second Woman in Dido and Belinda (OperaQ), and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte (Halifax Summer Opera Festival). She has been featured numerous times as a soloist and chorister in VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert’s productions. In past summers, she sang Solomon’s Queen in Handel’s Solomon (Victoria Conservatory of Music) and studied at the Stratford Summer Music Vocal Academy. Emily is also an active voice and piano teacher to all ages.

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Jialiang Zhu

Chinese pianist Jialiang Zhu passionately embraces vocal collaboration, chamber music, and solo music. Currently pursuing a Doctoral of Musical Arts Degree, she studies with Lydia Wong at the University of Toronto. She is a featured pianist and Project Assistant on Chinese-Canadian composer Alice Ping Yee Ho’s 2022 album A Woman’s Voice – Songs and Duets for Voice and Piano. A specialist in Chinese art song, she has presented this repertoire at organizations such as Canadian Opera Company, University of Toronto, and University of Ottawa. Her article “Singing Classical Chinese Poetry” was published in Art Song Canada Winter 2022 Issue. Her doctoral thesis is a performance guide for non-Mandarin speakers on how to tackle Chinese art song and poetry.

Jialiang co-founded the Bedford Trio with violinist Alessia Disimino and cellist Andrew Ascenzo in 2016. They are the inaugural Irene R. Miller Piano Trio in Residency at the U of T’s Faculty of Music. They have been the adjudicators for the U of T Piano Trio Composition Competition. In December 2022, they released digital album "Silver Screen", live recordings of cinematic music from their current concert season. As a featured soloist, Jialiang performed Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with York Chamber Ensemble and the U of T Symphony Orchestra and Choirs.

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