Beijing Music Festival’s 25th Anniversary Celebrates Fusion of East and West

Beijing Music Festival’s 25th Anniversary Celebrates Fusion of East and West
Beijing Music Festival Opening Night time 2020, A Symphony for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus & Orchestra by Wuhan composer Ye Zou (Photograph courtesy of the BMF)

In partnership with The Beijing Audio Pageant

Right after a year off due to COVID, the Beijing Songs Festival is hunting forward to a fresh begin, and the themes for 2023 are New music, Youth, Foreseeable future, and Frame of mind. The pageant will include 25 performances over 24 times from September 22 to October 15, 2023.

Arranged by the Ministry of Tradition and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China and the Beijing Municipal Govt, the festival was initiated in 1998 by conductor Prolonged Yu. He proceeds to serve as Chairman of the Inventive Committee.

Celebrating its 25th calendar year, after a pandemic-induced postponement, the competition remains a critical cultural touchstone.

A Pageant Of Firsts

“Since its foundation by maestro Lengthy Yu around a quarter-century ago, the competition has persistently been a cultural landmark,” states present-day Creative Director Shuang Zou.

In excess of its tenure, BMF has hosted luminaries like Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle, Yo-Yo Ma, and numerous additional. Internationally renowned ensembles this sort of as the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and Orchestre de Paris, to identify a couple, have graced its stages.

Inspite of classical music’s relatively the latest emergence in China in comparison to its deep-rooted heritage in the West, the BMF has showcased pivotal times, which includes:

  • Chinese premiere of Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand”.
  • Asian debut of Berg’s Lulu in 2002.
  • Beijing introductions of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and The Nose.

In 2010, the BMF also commissioned Canadian composer Howard Shore’s piece, “Ruin and Memory”, marking Chopin’s bicentennial. This piece debuted with a efficiency by Lang Lang.

In addition, the BMF has premiered operates by Krzysztof Penderecki, Philip Glass, Guo Wenjing, Ye Xiaogang, Tan Dun, and Unsuk Chin, amongst many others.

Every single yr, the Beijing Music Pageant collaborates with the Schooling Division of the Central Conservatory of Music to present free of charge children’s and scholar live shows and host ten grasp class cycles.

BMF Artistic Director Shuang Zou (Photo courtesy of the BMF)
BMF Artistic Director Shuang Zou (Image courtesy of the BMF)

The Evolution of the Beijing Songs Festival

“I believe the competition has undergone various transformations,” says Zou. She cites its inception in 1997/98 till the millennium as a foundational interval, followed by advancement right until the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a continued increase in recognition thereafter.

COVID dramatically altered its trajectory. “Our standpoint shifted,” she notes.

Becoming a member of in 2006, Zou sensed a generational shift in the city’s musical appetite. The festival began evolving, departing from standard concert corridor norms, delving into crossover genres, and introducing the Urban Series in unconventional venues. There was a concentrated energy to diversify audience demographics.

“We aimed to broaden not just the songs but the audience’s track record,” she clarifies.

Zou mentions how web site-specific operas, new commissions, and a balanced mix of Chinese and Western composers contributed to an influx of fresh thoughts. “Many progressive principles were on the brink of realization,” she displays, before the pandemic disrupted programs.

In 2020, the competition went virtual, culminating in 240 steady hrs of on-line written content, ranging from performances to podcasts. Their motto was poignant: New music by no means stops.

Reflecting on that calendar year, Zou remembers, “Everyone was grounded.” The digital format was effectively-gained.

In 2021, the competition resumed with public performances, though intercontinental musicians ended up absent. Nonetheless, this predicament captivated numerous Chinese new music learners around the globe, who returned to take part and show up at.

Their activities and studying are ingrained in this year’s festival, encapsulated in the slogan: New music, Youth, Potential, and Mind-set.

“It’s a diverse sort of reunion this calendar year,” Zou muses, emphasizing a renewed, youthful spirit. The pageant aims to juxtapose the vivid underground classical scene with the grandeur of concert halls.

1 notable inclusion is jazz/classical crossover artist Laufey. Her sold-out China debut was amplified by a robust social media affect and more than 10 million Spotify streams. Nonetheless, Zou assures that traditional classical music fanatics have a lot to foresee.

L-R (clockwise): Orfeo by Fay Kueen Wang (2018; Photo courtesy of the BMF); Angel's Bone by Dun Yun (2019; Photo courtesy of the BMF); Orphan of Zhao, conceived & directed by Chen Shi-Zheng (2018; Photo courtesy of the BMF)
L-R (clockwise): Orfeo by Fay Kueen Wang (2018 Picture courtesy of the BMF) Angel’s Bone by Dun Yun (2019 Photograph courtesy of the BMF) Orphan of Zhao, conceived & directed by Chen Shi-Zheng (2018 Photograph courtesy of the BMF)

Competition Highlights

The competition showcases an array of talent, from the Shanghai Quartet, celebrating their 40th anniversary, to British virtuoso Stephen Hough’s solo piano recital.

Major highlights include things like:

  • The opening evening titled “Commemorating Liu Tianhua and the 101st Anniversary of the Founding of the Peking College Tunes Education Institute.”
  • A collaboration with Dahua City Heart for the Executing Arts to existing Haydn’s opera Il Mondo della Luna.
  • The Monkey King by Liu Sola brings together classic Chinese aspects with contemporary appears.
  • The Chinese premiere of Hao Weiya’s semi-staged opera AI’s Variation.

On the ultimate evening, conductors John Warner and Kim Yook will guideline the Beijing New music Competition Orchestra in Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New Entire world.


The competition champions dialogue in between China and the West. This year’s collaborations involve:

  • Violist Mei Diyang with the Berliner Barock Solisten.
  • Violinist Lin Ruifeng as a particular visitor with the London Sinfonietta.
  • Jazz artist Laufey with the China Philharmonic Orchestra.

Celebrating Mahler

The resident Mahler Foundation Pageant Orchestra, comprising youthful musicians from many European nations, will have interaction in a dialogue with Mahler’s works less than the direction of British conductor John Warner.

Zou highlights the synergy involving Mahler’s themes and the picked youthful Chinese and Western composers. In the concluding phase, Mahler’s compositions will be performed in their genuine kind.

Last of all, the Music in Parks sequence will host local and global chamber musicians at the Divine Songs Administration of Temple of Heaven for afternoon tea concert events.

Additional information and facts on their website [HERE].


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