A poster of the 18th Beijing Music Festival. [File photo]
Opening night of the 18th Beijing Music Festival (BMF) took place at Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing on Thursday with a concert under the baton of noted Chinese conductor Yu Long who stands as the founder and art director of BMF.
From Oct 8 to 24, the annual festival presents 16 concerts, two operas, and a handful of free children's concerts.
Beijing holds a few cultural events throughout the year, but fans of classical music look forward to the month of October because of the BMF, an annual feature that helps bring the latest global productions to China.
The festival is fresh. It isn't about outdated Western artists' tours of China or unknown orchestras looking to make some easy money. A number of noted musicians gave unprecedented new performance at the past festivals.
At the opening performance themed "When East meets West", two world-famous musicians became the biggest surprise. Accompanied by China Philharmonic Orchestra, South Korean violinist Chung Kyung-Wha, who attended BMF for the first time, played Max Bruch's No.1 Violin Concerto. Latvian-born Israeli cellist Mischa Maisky played young Chinese composer Zou Ye's Variations on Chinese Melody,making his debut playing music work by an Oriental composer.
China Philharmonic Orchestra also played Chinese composer Chen Qigang's Instants d'un Opera de Pekin. Chen borrowed Peking Opera's typical tunes xipi and erhuang while blending the percussion instruments of the Peking Opera such as gongs and cymbals into the Western orchestra.
Born in Shanghai in 1951 but living in France since 1984, Chen is the last student of French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992). His works feature the rich flavor of Chinese traditional culture interpreted in a modern Western composing technique.