Music Connects Chengdu to the World 10-10-2012
Music is a language without borders, connecting Chengdu with the rest of the world through the International Youth Music Festival. The 2012 Chengdu International Youth Music Festival, with the theme of “My Youth, My Music”, was held in Chengdu from July 26th to 30th. Young musicians and artistic groups from Belgium, Germany, America, India, and Russia provided the Chengdu audience with a musical banquet, mixed with oriental elements from the Liangshan Song and Dance Ensemble and students from the Sichuan Conservatory and the National University of Electronic Science and Technology. The interaction between the participating young students and the connection between Chengdu cityand the rest of world was achieved in the name of music. From the first "China-Australia Youth Music Festival" in 2007 to the "Chengdu International Youth Music Festival" this year, the six-year development of this major international exchange has become an important way to improve the city's image and promote cultural exchanges. It has attracted art groups from ten countries in North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe and music fans from universities inside and outside Sichuan. As an annual event, the festival has gathered together more than 1,000 performers and and audience of over 10,000 in the past six years. The 2013 Chengdu International Youth Music Festival will herald new avenues in inviting performers from universities, foreign institutions, and non-governmental organizations in Chengdu city and Sichuan province. Marvelous performances by foreign musicians fascinate the Chengdu audience. Hosted by the Chengdu People's Government, organized by the Chengdu Foreign Affairs Office, and supported by the Chengdu Media Group, three outdoor shows were held respectively in East Chengdu Music Park, Tianfu International Community in the Hi-tech Zone and Guanghua Park in Wenjiang District, all receiving thunderous applause. The opening ceremony was held in East Chengdu Music Park. Drizzling rain only added to the passion of the musicians and their fans. Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 7 in D major played by Toni Ming Geiger, a German pianist born in the 1990s, was impressive. Toni Ming Geiger started to learn the piano at the age of six and now works at the WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne. He has performed solo concerts at Tonhalle Düsseldorf (Dusseldorf Concert Hall), at the former residence of Beethoven, at the former residence of Schumann in Bonn, in Merano Leisure Concert Hall and at the Hoyoriad Cultural Festival. Another charming performer was the young and handsome country-rock singer Jackson Wells. He sang and played with great energy, using music to interpret significant moments in his life of hope, family, friendship, and heart-break. A talented musician, he is a soul singer and pop music composer from Nashville, Tennessee, and his songs are popular with young people across the world. In the drizzling rain, Collegium Frascati from Belgium, tabla musician Talegaonkar Keshav and Kathak dancer Anuradha Sharma from India, the Tsaritsyn Orchestra from Russia and other foreign artists and music groups, performed in front of their loving fans — young and old, in rain coats or holding umbrellas — who were all mesmerized and lost in this greatmoment of music and art.
Surprises: Chinese Songs by American Band
Buffalo Rome from Tennessee, U.S., who once performed on America's National Stage and featured on the cover of many well-known magazines, took the stage by storm as soon as they appeared, receiving an ecstatic welcome fromtheir screaming and cheering fans. As the last performer, they performed their classic song "Right here waiting" first. As soon as the music started the 1000 plus audience started singing along with the band, waving their light sticks. Their repeated cries of 'encore' brought the band back tostage where they performed the song, "Tiantang" (Heaven). Imagine the audience's surprise when the lead singer, Michael Visconti, sang the lyrics in Chinese, singing 'lan lan de tian kong' (blue sky). It was an unforgettable show by the band, who had spent two months practicing the Chinese lyrics to Tiantang. No wonder the audience went wild and stood up to sing along The finale was "Take Me Home, Country Road". The curtain dropped at the end of this beautiful song, but the audience were reluctant to leave. High Praises for the Art Groups of Sichuan While the overseas performers gave a string of wonderful shows, the Liangshan Song and Dance Ensemble offered equally amazing performances. The plaza in Wenjiang Guanghua Parkwas crowded with people. Arno Band, who have rich stage experience, sang "Xiaomianyang" (Little ship) and "Chungeng" (Spring Plowing), and the exotic ethnic feel to their performance was appreciated by the audience who listened with great attention. The co-staging of local and international music won full recognition by the audience. The next "Chengdu International Youth Music Week" is planning to further integrate the musical preformance resources from colleges and universities, foreign organizations and social groups in Chengduand Sichuanto introduce a greater diversity of musical elements. Let's look forward tomore exciting shows next year!
"International Youth Music Week": an iconic music event in Chengdu
When the music festival ended, both the youth musicians and their fans were reluctant to leave. At their departure the foreign musicians expresed their wish to come again the next year, explaining that "the city and its citizens are so nice that we want to comeback here next year and share more beautiful music with everybody over the lovely summer!" Next year, the "Chengdu International Youth Music Week" will invite more world-famous performing groups to build this festival into an iconic music event, highlighting "youth", "international", "music", "communication", and "friendship" and boosting communication in the fields of music and culture between young people in Chengdu and the rest of the world. After years of effort, this event is now on the way of becoming a calling card for Chengdu, mixing the local and the international.
Titbits: Music, SichuanCuisine, and Pandas: Foreign Musicians' Favorite Things
The "2012 Chengdu International Youth Music Festival" is composed of two parts: outdoor performances and touring. Apart from performances of symphony music, jazz music, folk music, country music, choral music, dance and solo concerts, the foreign musicians and art troupes visited scenic spots in Sichuanand gained first-hand experience of the folk culture. They were excited on the day of the panda visit. A Russian girl was so excited at seeing the pandas she woke up very early, waiting for her dream of seeing the giant panda become a reality. The German pianist and the American band were equally excited. They all said the giant panda was the love of their life, after music. Taking photos, buying souvenirs, and feeding the pandas were all must-do activities, and the trip to the Giant Panda Base was like a trip back to their happy childhood. As well as activities pleasing to the ears and eyes, one activity was pleasing to the tongue in this "City of Gastronomy" as the young musicians visited the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine to learn how to cook Sichuan dishes under the guidance of senior professional chefs of Sichuan cuisine. Mark, the keyboardist of Buffalo Rome, had never thought that the first Sichuandish he would cook would be "Mapo Tofu". Unusual as the name sounds, it turned out to be very delicious. He followed the chef's instructions closely, though he worried that he might not be able to obtain every ingredient in the US to produce this authentic Sichuan dish back home. So Mark asked the staff to help and they bought all the seasonings he would need. He is now looking forward to cooking this genuine Sichuandish for his family and friends back home. Impressed by Mark's talent in cooking "Mapo Tofu", the others were ambitious to win the competitionand tried to make dumplings, a traditional food in Chinese cuisine. They made, folded, rolled and chopped the dough and put the fillings in. Though the process was complicated and time-consuming, these hand-made dumplings made asuccessful debut. All the students had great fun learning how to cook Sichuan food and enjoyed their cooking efforts with a hearty appetite!