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Ningbo International Vocal Competition gets October date

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-14 07:25
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The dates for the 2018 Ningbo International Vocal Competition, which invites young international singers to perform Chinese art songs, have been announced this week.

Hosted by the Central Conservatory of Music and Ningbo municipal government, the Ningbo International Vocal Competition will be held from Oct 15 to 25 in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang province.

The competition will select four winners from the male and female groups, as well as a foreign winner. The top prize is $20,000 and all of the winners will tour Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.

According to Yu Feng, the president of the Central Conservatory of Music, having competitors perform Chinese art songs beside Western songs has been a tradition of the vocal competition, which started in 2000.

This year, competitors can choose their repertoires from over 30 Chinese art songs, including My Sentiment to the Yangtze River, which was composed by Chinese musician Qing Zhu (1893-1959) and has lyrics by Chinese poet Li Zhiyi from the Song Dynasty (1127-1279) and Wishes of the Rose, written in 1932 by composer Huang Zi (1904-1938).

"Foreign competitors, despite the language barrier, have performed the Chinese art songs very well, with accurate pronunciation and expressive singing," observes Yu. "From my experience of watching the foreign competitors' performances, they are very well prepared, learning some Chinese and putting in a lot of practice to sing the songs."

Yu continued, "the competition not only showcases young vocal talents from around the world, but also offers an opportunity to get to know Chinese culture through those art songs."

One of China's major international music competitions, Ningbo International Vocal Competition is held every three years. Formerly named the China International Vocal Competition, the event was held in Beijing in its first year and later moved to Guangzhou in 2002. Since 2005, the competition has been held in Ningbo.

According to Yang Jin, vice president of Ningbo municipal bureau of culture, radio & TV, press and publication, who organized the Ningbo International Vocal Competition, 85 competitors - including 55 foreign singers, from 40 countries - joined in the competition in 2014.

"We have seen a growing number of foreign singers applying to take part in the competition and we have also invited influential judges from around the world," he explained.

This year, the judging panel will be headed by renowned Chinese soprano and music educator, Guo Shuzhen.

Eleven musicians from seven countries, including Lenore Rosenberg, the associate artistic administrator of the Metropolitan Opera, Italian soprano Monica Bozzo, and soprano Dilber Yunus, a Kashgar native from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region who later moved to Finland, will also join the panel of judges.

Singers of all nations, male and female, aged from 18 to 36 are eligible to apply.

Masterclasses and workshops, open to the general public, will be held during the competition as part of a bid to popularize classical music.

The Ningbo Symphony Orchestra, which was founded in 2015, will accompany the final competition.

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