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Well-orchestrated festival for students to enjoy

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-13 08:49

Cellist Namura (center), the president of the middle school, plays a symphonic suite, titled Dream Bridge, during the rehearsal.[Photo by Wang Jing/China Daily]

Youth music event a success despite pandemic obstacles, Chen Nan reports.

"You remind me of my days as a music student here, which are unforgettable. I hope that when you grow up and become a professional musician, you will still remember this, playing music with your friends on a sunny day," violinist Lyu Siqing told members of a student symphony orchestra after a rehearsal at the middle school affiliated to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing on Thursday.

The students, sitting on the stage while holding their musical instruments, tapped their feet on the floor in warm response to Lyu.

The students, all teenagers who are classically trained to become musicians, spent a week together at the school doing rehearsals and attending master classes as part of the Youth Music Festival of Beijing, Hong Kong and Macao.

In its first year, the event, which kicked off on Sept 30 and wrapped up with a concert on Friday at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, is designed to provide an opportunity for students pursuing music majors to meet their counterparts from Beijing, Hong Kong and Macao and to encourage the exchange of ideas, music and culture.

The event was originally scheduled to take place in August, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students of Hong Kong and Macao were unable to travel to Beijing as a result, so the exchange programs moved online.

During the event, Lyu not only oversaw rehearsals with the students, but also gave master classes, sharing his experience as a violinist.

"When I was a music student, I didn't have much chance to take part in exchange programs like this. As a violinist, I spent lots of time practicing alone. However, it's important-and fun-to play music with others," says Lyu, who, in 1987, became the first Asian violinist to win first prize at the prestigious International Violin Competition Premio Paganini in Italy, an achievement that propelled him to stardom.

Lyu began learning the violin when he was 4 years old. By the age of 8, he was enrolled to study at the primary school affiliated to the Central Conservatory of Music and, later, the affiliated middle school. At the age of 19, he went to the Juilliard School in New York to study with American violinist Dorothy DeLay.

"As well as learning techniques, students also asked me lots of questions, which I also had myself when I was a young student. For example, they wanted to know how to figure out their personal performing styles, how to prepare themselves for major competitions and how to build up a long career as a musician. Though they can get all kinds of information they want from the internet, it's a totally different experience talking to each other and solving problems. It is both personal and mutual," says Lyu, who performed two musical works with the student symphony orchestra-the well-known Chinese violin concerto Butterfly Lovers and Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach-during the concert on Friday.

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