Looking Back On the Road Trodden

Kuo Hsiao-chuang Founder of the Ya Yin Ensemble

These one or two years, several friends have published books one after another, sharing their experience of maturing and the course of their struggle. My own good friends like Professor Wang An-chi, Miss Wu Li-ping, the distributor of the Nung Nung Magazine and Professor Liu Tien-i, are also encouraging me all the time to collate bits and pieces of my life of Chinese opera into a book. But I always feel that it is not yet time.

Unexpectedly, the enthusiastic Professor Liu took the initiative to write two articles about my course of growing up and fax them to me from the USA. After reading them I was very touched. Although Professor Liu specializes in Western drama, he has a great interest in Chinese traditional classical opera. Not only has he watched many maestros' performances, he has also collected a lot of relevant materials. Hence he is very well versed with the development of opera on both shores of the Strait. His smooth style and his narration that explains the profound in simple terms make me recall a lot of reminiscences. Looking back on the past, the various tastes of sour, sweet, bitter and spicy all well up in my heart. At last I accepted the encouragement of my good friends, started working together with Professor Liu a year ago, and completed this book.

This book is not a biography. Nor is it a memoir. I can only say that I am "looking back" on the road I have trodden. I thank the three elders Uncle Chiang, Uncle Chin and Uncle Chu for gracing it with their encouraging essays. I also thank Master Tseng Yung-i, Master Chiu Kun-liang, Mr Lu Chih-tzu, Mr Kung Min and Professor Wang An-chi for writing articles recommending this book, adding much to the book's attraction.

I must give special thanks to my dear father and Professor Liu who wrote the book. Father has been collecting and preserving without leaving out the tiniest bit of materials about me for decades. They complement the materials collected by Professor Liu himself, giving detailed and truthful records for this book. Professor Liu's profound knowledge about opera and drama and his sensitive touch in writing have given in depth and penetrating depiction of my growth to maturity, as well as the time and space background in which the Ya Yin Ensemble is situated and faces since its inception. This adds to the readability of this book.

I must also thank the Taiwan Television Cultural Company. It is largely due to their efforts that this book and the Ya Yin Ensemble videos íV "The Red Silk Tragedy", "The Feeling of Returning to Yue", "Stopping for the Night on a Riverside" and "Ask Heaven" íV could be published at the same time.