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Scottish orchestra celebrates composer's 'China Story'

By Bo Leung in London | | Updated: 2017-09-20 00:14

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra will celebrate the works of one of China's greatest living composer in Western classical tradition with two concerts later this month.

The music of Ye Xiaogang that comprises his China Story will be played to audiences in Edinburgh and Glasgow later this month.

The orchestra will be led by Hungarian conductor Gilbert Vargra and will feature performances by prize-winning pianist Wan Jieni and concert master of Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlinand violinist Lu Wei.

Bass-baritone Shen Yang, who was the 2007 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World winner, and acclaimed percussionist Hu Shengnan will also appear in performance.

Described by the New York Times as "one of China's leading contemporary composers", Ye is also artistic director of the Beijing Modern Music Festival and vice-president of China's Central Conservatory of Music.

"My story is part of the Chinese story and now I will bring this story to Scotland," he said. "I hope that through music, a universal language, I can show the world the fascinating culture of modern China."

The 61-year-old composed Starry Sky to accompany the opening of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The piano concerto was performed by Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang.

While taking the root form of Western symphonic music, Ye's compositions also contain many typically Chinese influences, such as the use of Gu Zheng, a traditional string instrument.

The composer's music has been described as colorful, melodious and deeply emotional.

The RSNO said the selected pieces of works - Mount Emei, Scent of Green Mango, and The Song of Sorrow and Gratification – at the China Story concerts will "evoke the countryside and the poetic heritage of the country".

The program also includes a work from one of the UK's greatest composers, Benjamin Britten's Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes.

The event is the latest connection the RSNO has developed with China.

It made its first visit to China in 2012 and has recorded the works of celebrated composer Ge Ganru and worked with pianist Wang Xiayin. It plans to return to China next year.

The RSNO will present China Story at the Usher Hall, in Edinburgh, on Sept 29 and at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Sept 30.

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