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Concert honors Polish composer's key birthday

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-02 11:23
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(From left) Chen Qing, president of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, violinist Julian Rachlin, violist Sarah McElravy, conductor Huang Yi and baritone Thomas Bauer. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A concert marking Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki's 90th birthday was held at the Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Sunday.

Regarded as one of the leading and most distinguished musicians of his generation, Penderecki died in Krakow, Poland, on March 29, 2020, at the age of 86. His legacy comprises over 100 compositions, including concertos, orchestral and chamber pieces, symphonies, choral pieces and operas.

For the concert, In Memoriam: Krzysztof Penderecki at 90, three pieces by Penderecki were played by the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Huang Yi, who stepped in for veteran conductor Yu Long.

"The composer was an old friend, whom we first performed with back in 2000. He came to Xinghai Concert Hall eight times from 2004 to 2017 for seven concerts with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra," says Chen Qing, head of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra.

Chen played the English horn for Adagietto from Paradise Lost (English horn and String Orchestra Version).

"I was very honored to perform this version on May 16, 2009, at this concert hall, which was the version's China premiere. I will never forget that the composer was the conductor that night," says Chen.

The concert also featured the composer's Symphony No 6 (Chinese Poems) for baritone and orchestra, which had its world premiere in 2017 by the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra under conductor Yu Long. Baritone Thomas Bauer sang in the Sunday concert.

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