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Music on the wing of a dream

Updated: 2013-05-17 15:17
By Chen Nan (China Daily)
Music on the wing of a dream

New York-based Bang on an Can will perform at the upcoming Beijing Modern Music Festival. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Musicians from across China and the world will perform at the 2013 Beijing Modern Music Festival, which kicks off at the National Center for the Performing Arts on May 18 with a concert titled Wing of the Dream.

Under the baton of Hu Yongyan, Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra will perform Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's Wing of the Dream, and Chinese composer Ye Xiaogang's Songs of Sorrow and Relief, which was inspired by Buddhist master Li Shutong's four poems.

Cutting-edge new music performers from New York, Bang on a Can, led by veteran violinist Todd Reynolds, will join forces with the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra to perform David Lang's Pierced, Michael Gordon's Rewriting, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, and a world premiere arrangement of Julia Wolfe's Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, composed for six soloists and an orchestra.

"When you see the performance list, you'll know what we are going to say with the annual music festival," says Ye Xiaogang, artistic director of the 2013 Beijing Modern Music Festival, which will see two symphony concerts and nine chamber music concerts.

Since 2002, Beijing Modern Music Festival has presented international modern music performances every May. Musicians worldwide come to discuss the development of modern music and modern music education.

Ye says when he returned to China after studying music in Europe a decade ago, he thought Beijing should have a modern music festival just like major European cities such as Paris and Vienna.

The festival popularizes modern music, promotes cultural communication between China and the world and provides a good platform for young musicians and work from Chinese composers.

Concerts gathering young Chinese musicians and international symphony orchestras will be presented during the festival.

Caput Ensemble, founded in 1987 by a young group of Icelandic musicians, will collaborate with Chinese violinist Chen Xi, the youngest prize winner in the history of the Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition.

China's New Music, a concert designed to present Chinese composers, will perform works by musicians including Wang Xilin, He Xuntian and Zhou Wenzhong.

"We not only want to broaden young people's vision with international music but also want them to see our own musical talents," Ye says.

For the first time, Beijing Modern Music Festival will hold a concert for Suzhou Pingtan, a general term for Suzhou Pinghua and Tanci - storytelling and ballad singing in the Suzhou dialect. Flourishing in Suzhou, it also enjoys great popularity in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces as well as in Shanghai.

Pingtan Troupe of Suzhou, which was founded in 1951, has been invited to perform at the festival.

Other highlights will be the Music from Thailand concert on May 23 and master classes for young musicians.

The festival will run until May 24.

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