University of Pittsburgh
March 3, 2004

Pitt Presents The Silken Phoenix March 17

Event celebrates three of Asia's greatest female poets
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Poetesses Ho Xuong, Izumi Shikibu, and Li Qingzhao have done more than write great poetry; they also have made political statements with their poetry, challenging the feudal patriarchal societies of their day. The Silken Phoenix, a musical theater performance that includes an actress and a chamber music ensemble, is a tribute to the lives, literary works, and spirit of these Asian poetesses. The performance will take place Wednesday, March 17, at 8 p.m. in Pitt's Charity Randall Theatre in the Stephen Foster Memorial, Forbes Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard, Oakland.

Fiona Choi, an Australian-born Chinese member of the Core Ensemble, which performs The Silken Phoenix, plays the three poetesses. Though the women hailed from different countries and periods of time, they are united by their struggles against and their poetic responses to the taboos and bans inherent in a patriarchal society. In the performance, chamber music and excerpts from these women's poetry depict their nonconformist lifestyles.

"I brought the show to Pittsburgh because I wanted to change the stereotypical image of Asian women as passive and demure," said Bell Yung, director of Pitt's Asian Studies Center and professor of music in Pitt's Department of Music.

The Silken Phoenix is being sponsored by Pitt's Asian Studies Center, Department of Music, Department of Theatre Arts, Graduate Program for Cultural Studies, and Women's Studies Program.

Admission for Pitt students is free. General admission is $10; senior citizens, $5. For tickets, call 412-624-PLAY. For more information, visit

Photographs of the performance and Core Ensemble are available upon request.