Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Culture / Music and Theater

Composer gives folk music an electric take

By Chen Nan | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-10-13 08:23
Share - WeChat
The composer, Qian Qi, takes a break from his busy schedule. CHINA DAILY

Ancient art inspires shows based on Dunhuang murals and ethnic traditions, Chen Nan reports.

When composer Qian Qi was commissioned to write a piece of music about Dunhuang in Gansu province — an important hub on the ancient Silk Road, where cultures from the East and the West met centuries ago — he was inspired by the images in the ancient cave murals, such as Buddhist statues, camels and Flying Apsaras, female gods of song and dance.

"I have traveled to Dunhuang many times and each time I went, I was captivated by the Mogao Caves, the renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, and stories about the ancient Silk Road," says Qian.

The piece was featured in one of the gala performances celebrating the 2023 Beijing Culture Forum, which was held on Sept 14 and 15.

The two-day event, hosted by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the CPC Beijing municipal committee and the Beijing municipal government, took place in the capital — itself an ancient city and national cultural center — to promote cultural exchange and deepen mutual learning among civilizations.

Dunhuang Flying Apsaras, a performance which combined music composed by Qian Qi, ballet and traditional Chinese dance and lighting, was staged at the opening gala of 2023 Beijing Culture Forum last month. CHINA DAILY

The opening gala was held at Big Air Shougang, a landmark of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Titled Dunhuang Flying Apsaras, the performances combined music, dance, and lighting. Audiences were amazed by the show, which also featured 1,000 drones programmed to form the images of Flying Apsaras.

"Composing a piece of music for Dunhuang is challenging because I have to use music to portray images full of complexity," says the composer. "What made this composition even harder was that I needed to fit the music with the whole show, which had ballet dancers, traditional Chinese dancers, lighting effects and drones."

Over the course of a month, Qian revised his composition about seven times. A range of musical elements were used, including symphonic music, Chinese folk music, world music and choral singing. The show is about four minutes long, and Qian wanted to capture the audience from the first second.

"If you close your eyes, you can see the scenes of Dunhuang, its desert, murals, and travelers along the ancient Silk Road," says Qian. "Through visual technology, the audience was able to enjoy the culture and history of Dunhuang as part of an immersive experience."

It was not the first time the composer had been commissioned to write music about Dunhuang. He also composed music for large national events, among them the torch relay of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, and the China Central Television's Spring Festival Gala, one of the most-watched TV galas in the country.

1 2 Next   >>|
Most Popular
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349