When I first heard about the Music Pavilion on Taikang Lu, I thought,
how can one building host such a variety of creative outlets - a music school, a
music shop, a recording studio and art gallery - and not feel impersonal? What I
found was a sensitively structured complex with a true appreciation of the arts.
The complex is fronted by the music shop itself, which I considered rather
apt. As I approached the sheer glass front of the shop there was a real sense of
openness and accessibility and as I walked in, an array of Chinese instruments
lined the walls. The instruments themselves are manufactured by the company
which, for me came as a pleasant surprise, as many instruments nowadays seem to
be mass produced. Another wall displays a relevant collection of music CDs that
you can actually listen to. The CDs are those of local musicians and of artists
that use the traditional Chinese instruments within their work, a chance to put
a sound to some of the instruments hanging above my head!
The Music Pavilion also doubles up as a music school. The music school gives
people the chance to study the variety of instruments that the shop has. The
exciting variety, such as the erhu (similar to a violin), the gu zheng (much
like a harp) and pipa (a small plucked string instrument) offers people a chance
to sample the musical tastes of China. Alongside these are traditional Western
instruments, such as the double bass, drums or trumpet that can also be taught.
Anyone can partake in these classes. The focus within the class is also on
music appreciation as well as teaching students how to play the instruments,
which is nice to hear, being a musician myself. Very often, music schools can
teach the instrument and fail to provide any deeper understanding of music
itself. The music school has proved popular with several local celebrities (but
the owner wouldn't tell me who).
Drawing from this hands-on approach, a state of the art recording studio
is in place called "Double Bass Studios"; a captivating outlet for those with a
passion for creating music. The studio itself is available for personal or
corporate hire providing people with a means to further their interests and
talents. Alongside this is a three-screen editing suite, for those interested in
the film aspect of art, called the "Candy Factory", providing a space for
high-end digital processing and post production work.
Aside from all this, they also have a small-scale art gallery called
"ChinArt", it displays a variety of art, from local to foreign and adjacent is a
rooftop "ChinArt Caf¨¦" which is scheduled to open soon offering an open, decked
space to relax with a drink.
It would seem that this place could just be another attempt at an 'arty'
workshop open to all. However there remains a great intimacy about the place,
perhaps owing to the fact that it is situated on a small street just away from
the artistic hub that is Tai Kang Lu. It therefore seems undiscovered; a hidden
artistic haven. The attention to detail within the complex itself makes for a
tranquil atmosphere: a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of every-day
Shanghai. The slick decor and simple white-washed walls allow the content to
speak for itself, something I think is very important when dealing with art.
The concept of the place, in my opinion, is sure for success and will be
thanks to the background of one of the creators, Mark Pummel. Currently a
practicing psychotherapist with a passion for the arts, it is no wonder the
Music Pavilion really does ooze sensitivity when trying to deal with so much
Location: Building 5, 200 Taikang
Tel: 021-6445 8688/13761 259 519