Li Yundi joins a classical force

Updated 2017-11-16 11:04:11 China Daily
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Chinese pianist Li Yundi will join the tour.

Chinese pianist Li Yundi will join the tour.

Chinese pianist teams up with German orchestra Staatskapelle Dresden to round off China tour. Chen Nan reports.

The Staatskapelle Dresden, one of the oldest orchestras in the world, is touring China through Sunday, performing in Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province and Wuhan in Hubei province.

Under the baton of conductor Alan Gilbert, the former music director of the New York Philharmonic, the orchestra will present Mozart's Piano Concerto No 23 in A Major, K488 and Richard Strauss' Symphonia Domestica, Op 53.

The orchestra was founded in 1548, and it has built a unique connection with Strauss and Mozart over its long history.

Strauss entrusted the orchestra with nine of his opera premieres, including Salome, Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier, says Jan Nast, general manager of the Staatskapelle Dresden.

"This is one of the reasons why we are bringing one of Strauss' great tone poems, Symphonia Domestica, to China. It's a piece that is not performed very often in China, but it is definitely a landmark work inspired by events in Strauss' own life," says Nast.

Chinese pianist Li Yundi will join the tour. In the late fall of 2005, he toured with the Staatskapelle Dresden in Germany and performed Liszt's Piano Concerto No 1.

"I am glad to be performing with the orchestra in my home country, and the piece, Mozart's Piano Concerto No 23 in A Major, K488, is one of my favorites," says Li, winner of the Warsaw Chopin Competition in 2000.

"This is the first time I'm working with Alan Gilbert, the great conductor, and I am looking forward to a spark of new inspiration in music."

According to Wu Jiatong, general manager of Wu Promotion, one of the first private touring companies and promoters in China, the orchestra made its debut show on the Chinese mainland in Beijing in 2000 and the company has been cooperating with the Staatskapelle Dresden since 2011.

The company also organized the first major tour of China by the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in October, which saw 10 concerts in five Chinese cities including Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Nanjing, and attracted audiences of more than 12,000.

"In the past, the Vienna Philharmonic only stopped in Beijing or Shanghai for two to three concerts during their Asia tour. But the ongoing tour means that China has become an important market for international classical music," Wu says.

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Alan Gibert takes the baton of the Staatskapelle Dresden orchestra for its ongoing China tour.

Alan Gibert takes the baton of the Staatskapelle Dresden orchestra for its ongoing China tour.

Founded in 1991 by Wu and his father, Wu Promotion now produces between 400 and 500 concerts and events every year, both in the country and abroad.

Two years ago, Wu met Valery Gergiev, director of the Mariinsky Orchestra in St. Petersburg, and came up with the idea of launching the Mariinsky Theatre Festival in China to bring Russian music, ballet and opera to Chinese audiences.

The first Mariinsky Theatre Festival took place in Shanghai in October 2016 with operas The Queen of the Spades and War and Peace, concert performances and the ballet performance of Romeo and Juliet staged under the baton of maestro Gergiev.

Following the success of the Mariinsky Theatre Festival in Harbin in August, Gergiev will lead the Mariinsky Orchestra and Mariinsky Ballet back to Shanghai from Nov 26 to 28 for the second Mariinsky Theatre Festival in China.

In addition to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, well-known overseas orchestras now schedule visits to a number of smaller cities as part of their Chinese tours.

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It took between 10 and 20 years for Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to develop their markets for classical music, says Wu. "And for second- and third-tier cities, I think they don't need such a long period as they already have a much better base established by the first-tier cities. China is a huge market for the music."

The company has also organized tours for Chinese orchestras and traditional art troupes internationally, including established institutions like the China Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Peking Opera Company of China.

Under the baton of Yu Long, the China Philharmonic will begin its eighth collaboration with Wu Promotion to play in Kawasaki and Tokyo in Japan, and Taipei from Nov 28 to Dec 2.

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