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Chinese rising guitarist Yang Xuefei (left) and the world-renowned flautist Sir James Galway perform at Wangfujing Church during the Beijing Music Festival this month. Provided to China Daily
After giving a concert at the Wangfujing Church as part of the Beijing Music Festival, guitarist Yang Xuefei had another performance in the city, this time at the Winland International Finance Center, an office building in Beijing Financial Street.
Yang was invited to perform for staff and VIP guests of the banking and financial company UBS China, which also sponsored the Wangfujing Church concert From De Falla to Piazzolla by Yang in collaboration with flautist James Galway and cellist Ma Xinhua.
UBS has been a sponsor of Beijing Music Festival for nine years. Each year it has invited the musicians it sponsors to perform for its staff in Beijing and Shanghai. David Y. Li, UBS chairman and country head for China, believes that high-quality music will inspire the company's employees.
"What we pursue is in common with what the musicians pursue: perfection and balance," he said.
He elaborated that the 15-year-old Beijing Music Festival, founded and directed by Chinese conductor Yu Long, has enjoyed great fame on the world's music scene and has been one of the most important annual events in the capital's cultural calendar. It is possibly the most professional music festival in China, not only from an artistic perspective but in terms of management. It "matches UBS' pursuit of high value", said UBS.
Many world-renowned musicians attending the Beijing Music Festival have performed at the building where the UBS office is situated, including cellist Jian Wang. The offices of UBS in Beijing, like their branches elsewhere in the world, are decorated with contemporary art works.
"We have a long tradition of supporting culture and arts at UBS," Li said. "It's an important commitment of the company."
Li says that sponsoring arts is not only a way for UBS to give something back to society but also draws its clients closer. The annual Wangfujing Church concert during Beijing Music Festival, which UBS has sponsored for seven consecutive years, has always been enjoyed by its clients because of the top-notch musicians and elegant feel of the venue.
"When we talk to clients, we don't talk about business all the time. Our clients appreciate cultural events and music is a good subject with which to engage them," Li said. "As Chinese society becomes more and more multi-cultural, Western classical music is accepted by more and more people in China."
In early September, UBS held the 150th anniversary gala at the imperial temple inside the Forbidden City. VIP clients enjoyed a high-quality concert performed by Beijing Symphony Orchestra under the baton of its music director, Tan Lihua. The special venue and a West-meets-East program was said to demonstrate well the cultural value of UBS in China.
Apart from sponsoring concerts, UBS has a big collection of contemporary art. In 2008 and 2009, three exhibitions of works from the UBS art collection were held in China - Moving Horizons at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, Memories for Tomorrow at Shanghai Art Museum and Fact and Fiction at Guangdong Museum of Art.
Li said that although the world is facing a financial crisis, UBS has remained committed to sponsoring culture and arts in China. He believes the financial market in China will stay robust.
"China's financial market came into being only two decades ago. There will be ups and downs but the market will keep growing, together with China's development," he said. "UBS will continue to support culture and arts in China as part of our local commitment."
(China Daily 10/29/2012 page22)