Daily Bow: Classical Music in Chinese Context


Western classical music has taken hold in many places far from “The West.”

The second biennial Shanghai Chamber Music Competition & Festival, which runs until next Monday, is hosted by the prestigious Shanghai Conservatory of Music which helps to foster the growth of chamber music in China and to recognize and encourage some of the country’s best up-and-coming musicians…

“Chamber music is considered one of the most outstanding art forms of Western culture,” said Xu Shuya, vice president of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. ” Over centuries, composers have spread the charm of this wonderful musical style and in the contemporary era it remains an important way to present music. With the recent rapid development of Chinese music, the level of chamber music performance and education is on its way to becoming more professional and global..

Chinese musicians play Western classical music from a unique perspective, having grown up in a very different environment than that which spawned the classical tradition. Such a phenomenon in China provides an opportunity for a powerful fusion of culture and art.

The festival is headlined by the internationally renowned Shanghai Quartet who will give a much-anticipated performance at Shanghai Concert Hall tomorrow night. Founded in Shanghai in 1983, the now New York-based quartet shot to fame after working with some of the world’s most distinguished artists and touring regularly to major music centers in Europe, North America and Asia.

The quartet is particularly famous for its passionate musicality, impressive techniques and multicultural innovations. And it’s believed to have triumphantly traversed musical genres from traditional Chinese folk music and classical Western music to cutting-edge contemporary works.

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