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Orchestrating an enthusiastic following

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-11 07:54
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Principal violinist Yang Min (left) performs at the concert on Aug 5.[Provided to China Daily]

In September 2020, when the pandemic was more or less under control and performing arts organizations and venues slowly reopened, the company held its first live concert at the new venue. It was sold out.

"We know our audience. Though many performing arts organizations had virtual concerts to keep their audience engaged, orchestral music is a live experience, which requires all the participants, performers and listeners alike, to be in the same room together," Song says.

Soon, he discussed the idea of launching a new symphony orchestra with his old friend, Fan. They agreed immediately to put their ideas about the Beijing Union Symphony Orchestra into action.

Auditions took place early this year and so far, the orchestra has more than 20 musicians, including its first principal violinist Yang Min, a professor at the China Conservatory of Music, who has worked abroad with symphony orchestras, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

"Many of the musicians in the orchestra are young. Though they may not have lots of experience of working in a symphony orchestra, they learn fast and work hard together," says Yang, who was born into a musical family in Beijing, started to play the violin at the age of 5 and graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

"There are many graduates from music schools in China and they need job opportunities. Unlike working with established symphony orchestras, they gain a very different experience by working with a new symphony orchestra. We are witnessing its growth from zero," says Yang.

Fan says that the goal is to build the Beijing Union Symphony Orchestra into a full-sized orchestra and the recruitment is open to musicians from around the world.

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