Julie Dulanski plays the hammered dulcimer during a traditional music program held June 3 at the Castellani Art Museum.

The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University held a free traditional music program June 3 that featured local musicians from three different communities in the Buffalo-Niagara region: Recep Ornek on the kanun (Turkish), Eva Pan Pin on the guqin (Chinese), and Julie Dulanski on the hammered dulcimer.

The kanun, guqin and hammered dulcimer are zithers, a type of stringed instrument with strings that run the length of the soundboard and are usually played on a lap or table with fingers, picks, bows, or other tools. A variety of zithers can be found throughout the world and made out of different materials in various shapes and configurations, each with their own unique sound, playing techniques and music composition norms.

Strung Together: Zither Encounters blended music performances with presentations and discussions about each instrument by their respective players, focusing on a breadth of topics – from the structure and materials used to make the instrument, to playing techniques and the ways in which melodies are formed.

Billed as a “conversation with and about instruments,” the roundtable nature of the program saw musicians alternating with one another throughout, encouraging attendees to make connections and identify differences across the diverse music traditions presented.

Strung Together: Zither Encounters was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.