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Oboist promotes Chinese music on global stage

By LAI JIANG | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-12-05 14:41

Oboist Pei Jiadi (right), violinist Fu Yiqing (left), and piano accompanist Guo Yueqing, perform excerpts from the Chinese Oboe Concerto "Mountain and River" at the Manhattan School of Music in New York on Nov 30 . [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

For the young oboist Pei Jiadi, it was another chance to present the depth of Chinese music to an international audience.

Pei performed at her master's graduation concert on Thursday at the Gordon K. and Harriet Greenfield Hall at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

She played excerpts from the Chinese oboe concerto Mountain and River. The piece, created by the renowned composer Du Mingxin, along with Professor Du Yong of the Composition Department of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, elegantly integrates the traditional Chinese landscape with the essence of modern music, celebrating the beauty and poetic scenery of China's great mountains and rivers.

On Oct 5, the Return of the Phoenix ensemble, composed of five young female performers led by Pei, debuted at the 2023 OLYMP'ARTS in Greece. They performed the quintet version of Mountain and River at the opening ceremony at Zappeion Palace in Athens and exquisitely depicted the "endless peaks and boundless emerald waters" of the Chinese landscape through the musical notes.

"We were both excited and nervous while performing in front of so many internationally renowned artists," Pei recalled. "We are proud to be able to present the elegance of Chinese landscapes through music on the international stage."

As the sole performance group representing China, Return of the Phoenix received unanimous commendation from the founders and chairman of the OLYMP'ARTS.

Of the New York concert, Pei, the only Asian graduate student in the oboe program at the Manhattan School of Music, said: "By playing Mountain and River, I hope to convey more warmth and peace, allowing the faculty and students of the school to immerse themselves in the beauty of Chinese music and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture."

Pei was born in Zhaoqing, in South China's Guangdong province. She began studying piano with her father at the age of 5 and started learning the oboe at 7. At 8, she was admitted to the affiliated elementary school of the Central Conservatory of Music, and at 12, she won the junior oboe category at the seventh Mravinsky International Competition for Youth in Russia.

In 2011, Pei was awarded a full scholarship to the Preparatory Division of the Manhattan School of Music, and from there, another full scholarship for undergraduate studies at the Mannes School of Music in New York.

In 2020, Pei won a full scholarship to pursue a master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music, where she served as the principal oboist of the school's symphony orchestra.

She has studied with Professor Jin Jingchun, a famous oboe educator at the Central Conservatory of Music; Liang Wang, principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic; and Professor Sherry Sylar, a renowned oboe educator at the Manhattan School of Music.

Professor Sylar noted that Pei skillfully navigated the technical aspects of Mountain and River while infusing the piece with emotional enhancement.

"I have always been intrigued by her innate musicality and warmth of tone. Her diligence has led to her outstanding professional techniques today. I am proud of her," Sylar said. "I look forward to her success as a professional oboist!"

In 2019, Pei was invited to perform in the Golden Night concert at Lincoln Center in New York to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. In the Spring Festival of 2022, she performed at Lincoln Center in The Sound of Spring concert, organized by the Chinese Consulate General in New York.

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