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43 composers to present classical works at upcoming festival

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-16 07:20
The upcoming China Symphony Festival will include nine concerts featuring 46 original music pieces by 43 Chinese composers. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Composer Ye Xiaogang says 1978 was a special year.

Ye, then 23, came to Beijing and began his studies at the Central Conservatory of Music. He was born in a musicians' family in Shanghai and started learning the piano at age 4. He and some of his peers, including Tan Dun, Zhou Long and Qu Xiaosong, were among the first students to be admitted to the conservatory that year after the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) had ended.

The same year, China initiated its reform and opening-up, which touched different aspects of citizens' lives, including classical music.

Ye, now chairman of the Chinese Musicians' Association and a teacher at the Central Conservatory of Music, has co-initiated the sixth China Symphony Festival - Chinese Symphony in Retrospect, which centers on showcasing the achievements in classical music in China over the past 40 years of economic reforms.

Kicking off on Oct 27 at the Bluthner Grand Theatre in Qingdao, Shandong province, the festival, with nine concerts featuring 46 original music pieces by 43 Chinese composers, will end at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing on Jan 15.

At the opening concert, under the baton of Hu Yongyan, the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra will play repertories, including Scent of Green Mango for piano and orchestra by Ye, Fantasies Symphoniques Farewell My Concubine for guzheng (Chinese zither), xiao (Chinese flute), soprano and orchestra by Guan Xia and 1911 Overture for orchestra by Zhou.

Other highlights include bamboo flute concerto No 2 Wild Fire by Guo Wenjing; Passacaglia: Secret of Wind and Birds by Tan; and Red Silk Dance for piano and orchestra by Bright Sheng. Ye's Symphony No 5, Lu Xun, inspired by the late writer Lu Xun, will conclude the festival with a performance by the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Stefan Malzew.

"Western classical music started taking root in China less than 100 years ago and has achieved a lot, especially since the reform and opening-up started," says Ye, 63.

"The works we've selected for the festival document and reflect the changes in the country over the past 40 years."

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