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United by music

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-28 09:27

The Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra was founded on Dec 25, 2007, and completed its establishment on April 20, 2009. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The Chinese-American conductor Zhang Xian, who graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and moved to the United States in 1998, says: "More musicians from around the world, especially younger ones, are coming to China because it is growing and its classical music scene is booming."

Zhang became the BBC National Orchestra of Wales' first female new principal guest conductor in 2015, and the following year was appointed music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

She lives in New Jersey but has returned to her homeland regularly since 2008, as classical music has continued gaining popularity in China. She says she has been impressed by the standard of China's symphony orchestras as well as the loyal and enthusiastic audiences.

On March 24, she performed with the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time, with programs including Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129, by Robert Schumann and Symphony No 5 in D minor, Op. 47, by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Deng Jingshan, head of the nine-year-old Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra, says it gives about 80 shows yearly worldwide.

It held auditions in the US last year, and next month (May) will hold auditions in Germany and Austria. Among the 96 musicians in the orchestra, six are not Chinese, Deng says.

The Singaporean double bass player Li Yong-rui, who first guest played with the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra last July and became an official member about five months ago, says: "As time goes by, more and more orchestras are being set up in different cities, which is a very good sign, because it promotes classical music and cultural exchanges between China and Western countries.

"I've seen many European orchestras touring China and Chinese orchestras touring Europe. This will definitely create special bonds around the world, where music connects people."

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