A week of concertizing, teaching, and community outreach started in Guangzhou six years ago and has expanded to include orchestras from up and down the Pearl River. The Guangzhou Symphony has been joined by the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Shenzhen Symphony, and the Macau Orchestra to create YMGG, Youth Music Culture Greater Bay Area (YMCG).
The Youth part comes from the conjunction of these great orchestras into a teaching and performance faculty for students from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, along with those from the Central, Shanghai, Xinghai, Wuhan, and Sichuan conservatories of music. The opportunity to study with the best local orchestral performers and to network with their contemporaries from the major Chinese conservatories offers students an unprecedented cultural exchange.
Led by Maestro Jing Huan, Principal Conductor of Guangzhou Symphony, and with the collaboration of the Shanghai Quartet, this year’s week kicks off on Monday, 13 February with a concert of Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi. The Shanghai Quartet, with the addition of a 2nd viola and a second cello, perform Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, followed by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, with each of the four concertos being played by a different violinist (Angelo Xiang Yu, Liu Min, Liu Rui, and Peng Ke) and the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Jing Huan.
The following week is for the students to come together to learn and perform. They will form, over the week, the YMCG Orchestra to play the final concert.
Saturday, 18 February is the day for three chamber music concerts, performed by principals from the area orchestra. Concert No. 1 opens with Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 4 and Barber’s Adagio for Strings, performed by The Artisan Quartet of the China Philharmonic. The next three pieces are performed by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Principals Wind Quintet: Carl Nielsen’s Wind Quintet, Malcolm Arnold’s Three Shanties for Wind Quintet, and György Ligeti’s Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet.
Concert No. 2 has the Magnolia Quartet performing Pavel Hass’ String Quartet No. 2. ‘From the Monkey Mountains’, travel back in time to the 16th century for dances by Dutch composer Tylman Susato’s Renaissance Dances, played by the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra’s Brilliant Brass Quintet. The concert closes with the Brass Quintet playing a bit of Puccini, some Albéniz, Jive for Five by Paul Nagle, and closing with Hayato Hirose’s Cotswolds Pictures.
Players from the Guangzhou Symphony and the Macau Orchestra have the third concert on February 18th with music by Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Shostakovich, and Oli Mustonen fill out a day of chamber music.
The closing concert, held on 19 February, brings together the student orchestra: the YMCG Orchestra, conducted by Jing Huan, for a concert of Vaughan Williams, Britten, Ligeti and an arrangement of the Beijing opera song, ‘Deep Night’, for Jinghu, Strings, and Percussion. The Jinghu player is Lu Yiwen, one of the leading erhu players in China.
The breadth of the music, the involvement of the leading players in the various Pearl River Delta orchestras, and the opportunity for conservatory students to learn the practical skills of performance all come together in this year’s YMCG.
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