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Chinese Musicians Take Spring Festival Celebrations to Austria
2006-1-12 13:47:59
It has become a tradition every New Year holiday for a couple of Austrian orchestras to tour Beijing to give performances featuring Strauss and Mozart's music.
Meanwhile, one or two Chinese ensembles fly to Vienna to perform traditional Chinese music during the Spring Festival season.

This custom has continued into 2006. Vienna's audiences will have the opportunity to attend two shows featuring Chinese music and folk opera bringing a taste of the Chinese festival season to the European city.

"Image of China," a concert presenting folk songs from the region along the Yellow River, will be held at Hofburg Redoutensaele, an architecturally unique congress centre in Vienna on January 12.

Directed by Wang Jianguang, the concert will include a number of popular Chinese singers including Wei Wei, Qi Qin, Qi Yu, Tong Ange, Wen Zhang, Zang Tianshuo, Gan Ping, Wu Dong and Ai Dai.

The organizer has selected 16 songs that are popular in the nine provinces along the Yellow River, some of which have been reconfigured to include a modern twist.

The acclaimed Vienna Boys Choir and some Austrian opera singers have also been invited to sing some Chinese folk songs.

The inspiration for the Yellow River folk songs concert resulted from a visit to the area last June, said director Wang, who has been commissioned by China

Central Television (CCTV) to produce a documentary on the Yellow River in 2006.

"Travelling along the Yellow River, we heard a variety of folk songs, some were familiar to me while others were beautiful though I had never heard them before," said Wang.

"Many Chinese ensembles and folk artists have introduced Chinese folk music abroad in recent years, but few folk songs are well-known except 'The Jasmine.'

So during the trip, we discussed to produce a concert focusing on the folk songs."

Wang also revealed that Vienna is just the first part of call, with hopes to tour cities such as Los Angeles and Sydney in the future.

"I am looking forward to the concert and hope that foreign audiences will like Chinese folk songs," said singer Zang Tianshuo.

The other concert entitled "Charming the East" featuring the original symphonies composed by Chinese musicians and Chinese folk operas will be performed on January 15 at the prestigious Musikverein Hall where the Vienna

Philharmonic Orchestra plays their New Year's Concert every year.

Presented by CCTV, this annual Chinese Spring Festival Concert began in 2001 and features a collaboration of singers and orchestras from both countries.

The organizer announced that something special has been prepared for this year's concert.

They started compiling the music for this year's concert as early as last March. Nearly 100 composers from both home and abroad submitted their works with hopes that they would be selected for the concert.

After being reviewed by a jury composed of musicians, producers and critics, "Time" composed by Wang Ning from China Conservatory of Music and "Celebrate the Lantern Festival" by Tang Jianping from the Central Conservatory of Music were chosen as the main pieces for this year's concert.

The Gray Symphony Orchestra will present the two works at the concert for the first time. Peng Jiapeng will take the baton.
Chinese folk opera will dominate the second half of the concert. The audience will be able to enjoy Peking Opera "The Drunken Beauty" played by actress Shi Yihong, the duet of Shaoxing Opera "A Dream of Red Mansions" by vocalists Qian Huili and Shan Yangping, the Huju Opera "Luohan Qian" by Mao Shanyu and the Yuju Opera "Hua Mulan" by Wang Hui.
The finale will be performed by Beijing's 100-member children's choir.

"I really appreciate that Chinese artists have brought untold happiness and festival greetings to the Austrian people every year since 2001," said Gabriele Feigl, director of the Cultural Forum of the Austrian Embassy in Beijing, who attended both press conferences for the two concerts last week in Beijing.

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