Cham­ber mu­sic melds East with West

Es­tab­lish­ment of new cen­ter in Shang­hai called ‘a mile­stone’ in mu­sic his­tory

China Daily European Weekly - - News Digest - By ZHANG KUN in Shang­hai zhangkun@chi­

The Shang­hai Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic hopes to ex­plore new pos­si­bil­i­ties for Chi­nese mu­sic with the es­tab­lish­ment of the In­ter­na­tional Cham­ber Mu­sic Cen­ter.

The cen­ter was in­au­gu­rated on Sept 22 by the Shang­hai Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic, the Uni­ver­sity of Mu­sic and Per­form­ing Arts Vi­enna and the Euro­pean Cham­ber Mu­sic Academy.

Ac­cord­ing to Ul­rike Sych, rec­tor of the Vi­enna group, the suc­cess­ful es­tab­lish­ment of the new cen­ter in Shang­hai “will be a mile­stone in mu­sic his­tory” and “bring new pos­si­bil­i­ties of cham­ber mu­sic”, when Asian and Euro­pean styles can be com­bined to make a new im­pact on the global mu­sic scene.

The cer­e­mony also marked the Shang­hai Con­ser­va­tory’s be­com­ing an of­fi­cial mem­ber of the Euor­pean academy, a lead­ing in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tion of cham­ber mu­sic.

Lin Zaiy­ong, head of the con­ser­va­tory, hopes the found­ing of the cham­ber mu­sic cen­ter would bring to­gether out­stand­ing tal­ent and ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural re­sources to in­herit and de­velop cham­ber mu­sic.

“Cham­ber mu­sic has been part of tra­di­tional Chi­nese mu­sic for more than 1,000 years. A wide va­ri­ety of col­lab­o­ra­tion has formed for dif­fer­ent in­stru­ments, and large reper­toires have built up,” Lin says.

“The mu­sic prac­tice has been dif­fer­ent from Europe, but in the core and pur­suit of mu­si­cal­ity we share com­mon val­ues. We hope the cen­ter will bring new ex­pe­ri­ences with cham­ber mu­sic, de­velop new ways of col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Chi­nese and Western in­stru­ments and hope­fully bring out new works with Chi­nese aes­thet­ics.”

Next year, when the cen­ter is op­er­at­ing reg­u­larly, the plan is to host in­ter­na­tional cham­ber mu­sic events, he adds. “We hope to launch an in­ter­na­tional fes­ti­val of cham­ber mu­sic on the cam­pus” in Shang­hai, he says.

The new cen­ter marks the es­tab­lish­ment of a long-term part­ner­ship be­tween the three or­ga­ni­za­tions, says Jo­hannes Meissl, artis­tic di­rec­tor of the Euro­pean group and pres­i­dent of the se­nate at the Vi­enna academy.

He rec­og­nizes there are dif­fer­ences in ap­proaches and cul­tural tra­di­tions in the cham­ber mu­sic of China and Europe, yet Lin’s val­ues and con­cepts on cham­ber mu­sic were uni­ver­sal. “Cham­ber mu­sic is in per­ma­nent de­vel­op­ment, and we will share what we can do,” Meissl says.

Since its found­ing in 2004, the Euro­pean group has fos­tered more than 150 in­ter­na­tional-award win­ning en­sem­bles. The as­so­ci­a­tion of mu­sic uni­ver­si­ties, con­ser­va­to­ries and fes­ti­vals in the field of cham­ber mu­sic had eight mem­bers — with Shang­hai be­ing the ninth — play­ing ac­tive roles in many lead­ing cham­ber mu­sic events and com­pe­ti­tions world­wide, Meissl says.

The Shang­hai group has been a pi­o­neer in China’s ex­plo­ration of cham­ber mu­sic since 1960. Over the decades a num­ber of cham­ber groups have emerged within the group, go­ing on to win in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion, such as the Shang­hai Quar­tet, con­sist­ing of four un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents, since 1983.


Shang­hai Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic cel­e­brates with a cham­ber con­cert the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the SCOM In­ter­na­tional Cham­ber Mu­sic Cen­ter on Sept 22.

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