Concerto planned for NY

Updated: 2015-08-03 05:35

By NIU YUE(China Daily USA)

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Concerto planned for NY

Yin Chengzong(third from left) Chinese famed pianist, Gregory Singer(third from right), conductor of the Manhattan Symphonie, Jessica Chao(second right), president of Namei Group Inc. and other guests at the press conference. Hong Xiao / For China Daily

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Yellow River Piano Concerto, one of the most popular Chinese piano compositions, the work is going to be performed in New York by one of its composers and world premiere pianist Yin Chengzong, accompanied by the Manhattan Symphonie.

The concert will be held on August 22 at Lincoln Center as a part of 2015 Namei International Music Festival.

"We are extremely honored to have Mr Yin and the Manhattan Symphonie presenting the audience with this music feast,"said Jessica Chao, president of Namei Group Inc, at a press conference held on August 1 in Manhattan.

The Yellow River Piano Concerto was rearranged in a collaboration between musicians Yin and Chu Wanghua in 1969 based on the Yellow River Cantata written by Xian Xinghai in 1939.

The cantata was composed with the Anti-Japanese war in the background, and the concerto was composed at the time of Cultural Revolution, "both works are products of specific historical eras, inspiring the Chinese people", said Yin Chengzong.

Recalling the goals of composing the piano concerto, Yin said, "at that time, the piano had low acceptability among Chinese people. So I wanted to do something to let the piano, a Western instrument, 'speak Chinese.' "

The four-movement piano concerto includes Prelude: The Song of the Yellow River Boatmen, Ode To the Yellow River, The Yellow River In Anger and Defend the Yellow River.

Since Yin took the concerto onto the stage in Beijing in 1970, the concerto has been performed more than a thousand times in a variety of venues the world over, and has become a favorite in China and amongst Chinese overseas.

In 1973, after the US and China resumed trade relations, the Philadelphia Orchestra was invited by the Chinese government to tour to China. Yin performed his Yellow River Piano Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra during its tour in Beijing.

"It could be said that the Yellow River Piano Concerto played an important role in breaking the ice in the China-US relationship," Yin said.

In 2007, the concerto was chosen to be played on Chang'e 1, China’s first unmanned lunar-orbiting spacecraft.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory in the Anti-Japanese war, "to celebrate the victory and to express our hope for peace, we couldn't think of a better repertoire than the Yellow River," said Chao.

The concert will be held on Aug 22 from 2:00pm at Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center.

The Legend of the Red Lantern, a piano-accompanied cantata adapted by Yin in 1968 based on a Peking Opera, will also be on the program.

Over years, the Manhattan Symphonie has promoted cultural communication between China and the US. The orchestra has toured China four times and will go on its fifth tour later this year.

The 2015 Namei International Music festival will feature performances from almost 100 of musicians from all over the world from Aug 15 to 22 in New York, Boston and Washington.

"The mission of the festival is to create an environment where passionate musicians from around the world are able to come together, share and exchange ideas, and build relationships to develop a global music community," said Chao.

Hong Xiao in New York contributed to this story.