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Folk time

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-11 06:49

Musicians from the China National Symphony Orchestra stage performances and savor the local lifestyle in Yunnan province.[Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

In a week, the young composers listened to the polyphonic folk songs performed by the Hani people, and climbed the mountains to participate in Girls' Day, a grand festival of the Yiche people, a Hani subgroup.

Six musicians of the national orchestra enthralled the locals with their outdoor performances of Western composers' works that the prefecture isn't familiar with.

"The Hani people's music has a narrative style. Through translators, I learned that the songs tell tales about their history and daily life. It is impossible to write music without stories. So I encourage young composers to go out and discover such treasures hidden in the remote villages," says Guan, who couldn't make the trip to Yunnan this time.

Li Zhenqing, vice-president of the orchestra, made the trip along with the composers and musicians.

"As practitioners of Western classical music, we always want to compose original music in Chinese style. Our ethnic groups have a long tradition of music, which offers us limitless inspiration," Li says.

Besides Yunnan, the team went to Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province, to collect material on nanyin, a musical style of Fujian, which was listed as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2009.

Li also says the national orchestra established the Chinese Symphony Research and Development Center in 2014, aiming to train young composers and promote original Chinese symphony pieces. Every year, regular tours at home and abroad are held, and the national orchestra also sends musicians to collect folk sounds from around the country.

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