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14th Beijing Music Festival Grand Opening: In Memory of Mahler On the Centenary of His Death

Updated: 2013-01-29 17:42

The 14th Beijing Musical Festival is scheduled to open on Oct 6. In commemoration of Gustav Mahler, the festival will stage 24 concerts which will be a comprehensive demonstration of Mahler’s talents. As was the case last year, the ticket prices remain within a range from 50RMB to 180 RMB, a bargain for the public so more people can have chance to enjoy Mahler’s music.

Muti: Eventually, It’s Beijing There will be a great number of musical veterans present at this year’s Beijing Musical Festival, including Riccardo Muti, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Chung Myung-Whun, Eliyahu Yin Barr, Manfred Huonei Ke, Khatami Mallorca Yuri Ivanov, Helmuth Rilling, and Daniel Harding.

Some of the most exciting news is Riccardo Muti is scheduled to perform at the Festival. Muti had planned to perform at the Beijing Musical Festival twice before, but his plans never turned into action until this year. Therefore his performance has long been anticipated by the public in Beijing. At the 14th Beijing Musical Festival, together with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Muti will be the conductor for Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, sung by soprano singer Alisa Kolosova. Other symphonies that will be played at the festival are Symphony No. 41 in C major (the “Jupiter Symphony”) by Mahler’s favorite composer, Mozart, and Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor (also known as the "Unfinished Symphony").

A Collision Between The Song of the Earth from East and West The highlight of this year’s musical festival is the performance of two very different versions of The Song of the Earth. Mahler’s large-scale work from the start of the last century is to be conducted by Li Liuyi, a well-known play director in China. The other version of The Song of the Earth refers to the work of Ye Xiaogang, a Chinese composer who completed the symphony in 2005. These two songs will be shown on the same night via live performance, stage performance, and through the media. It is expected to be a moment where the eastern culture will collide with that of the west.

The Song of the Earth was one of Mahler’s most monumental works through his career. In the eyes of Li Liuyi, Mahler’s work was comparable to an oil painting, whereas Ye’s version will engage the spirit of Chinese traditional painting. “I only have one stage, a place where music, as an art form embodying time, is hard to see with naked eye,” Ye said. “My goal is to lead the audience to perceive and feel the music with the help of the space around us, which is indeed a difficult task.”.

Charles Dutoit: Starting the Show with Mahler’s Symphony No.8 The closing ceremony performance at the festival may even deserve more attention. According to Yu Long, the president and artistic director of the 14th Beijing Musical Festival, Charles Dutoit, one of the most renowned conductors, will be conducting Mahler’s Symphony No.8 together with the China Philharmonic Orchestra and six other choruses. Since Mahler showed great respect and love for Mozart, the finale at the closing ceremony will be Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C major (the “Jupiter Symphony”).

In order to encompass as many works of Mahler as possible, the music festival will also show some of Mahler’s vocal works and chamber music live. Performances like this have been rare for Chinese citizens to be able to see the past. Young listeners may enjoy the Modern Concert, which is the first of its kind and specially designed for the youth population. Ju Percussion Group is ready to perform and spend time together with these young people. There will be 11 lectures from distinguished artists -- five introductory lectures on concerts and four other concerts for fund-raising during the festival.

Editor: Liu Xiongfei


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