In the 1990s, when pop songs from Taiwan, Hong Kong and western countries came to the Chinese mainland, they soon attracted the attention of Chinese youngsters due to their unique tempos, melodies and lyrics, which were modern, urban and trendy. As for traditional Chinese music, however, the post 1980s' impressions were:"Old fashioned and inflexible","Monotone","Outdated" or "Too traditional"…
Xi Qiang, President of the China National Traditional Orchestra (CNTO), where top instrumentalists across China gather, doesn't defend these tags. Yet, the strings master – who has been dealing with traditional Chinese music for more than 40 years – retains a deep love and pride for the national musical art. As head of the national art academy, he keeps thinking of a way forward.
"We shouldn't be complacent about the old classics' position in traditional Chinese music. Our music could also reflect modern ideas and taste." Xi Qiang, CNTO President
Xi Qiang is not an armchair strategist. Between 2013 and 2017, he and his CNTO team presented three new productions, namely the Chinese Music Trilogy, stunning audiences at home and abroad. In this edition of Music Talks, Yang Yong will introduce them to you one by one.
Founded in 1960, CNTO is a state-level performing arts institution funded by the Ministry of Culture. Members of CNTO consisted of an orchestra of traditional instruments and a choir, are highly-esteemed musicians both at home and abroad.[Photo Courtesy of CNTO]
01 Impression Chinese Music
In 2013, Xi Qiang invited Wang Chaoge to organise a concert of Chinese music. Wang, who co-directed the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with Zhang Yimou and Fan Yue, is well known for her innovative open-air shows.