The Lute Legends Collective is a performing association of musicians who represent ancient plucked-string traditions.
Each member of our collective is a committed carrier of an ancient musical tradition, whether it be the virtuosic modal improvisation of the Middle East, the intricate polyphony of the European Renaissance and Baroque, or the picturesque musical depiction of nature from China. Though instruments such as the oud, lute, & pipa each have evolved a distinct set of techniques and sounds, we delight in recognizing that most of our instruments are long-lost cousins. The Lute Legends Collective is our way of reuniting them onstage in a cross-traditional musical experiment for the twenty-first century.
The Collective’s directors are lutenist Lucas Harris and pipa player Wen Zhao, who met in 2004 performing together for the Tafelmusik Four Seasons Mosaic project, and shortly afterwards performed a duo recital. They have been friends and collaborators ever since, performing together as a duo in Canada as well as China. In 2008 they released the duo CD Lute Legends: Ancient Airs From East and West.
In 2012, this duo expanded with the addition of the Middle-Eastern oud, the “grandfather” of the lute and pipa, and thus was born the Lute Legends Ensemble. This trio played in various Toronto venues and was an invited guest of Vancouver Early Music and other festivals.
Enter the Lute Legends Collective in 2022, a model that opens up exciting new possibilities. We have now expanded our membership to include more plucked instrument traditions, including those of the Persian setar and the African kora. A flexible format allows the group to perform in various sizes and combinations according to the needs of particular projects.