Eurochestries Festival coming to China for the first time
Published: Jul 05, 2017 05:58 PM

Young musicians from multiple countries practice for the Eurochestries Festival Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Ying

Liu Zheng Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Ying

People always say that beer is the best partner for a music festival. Now Qingdao, famous around the world for its locally produced Tsingtao Beer, will finally have both.

The Eurochestries Festival will be held from July 26 to August 5 in Qingdao for what will be the event's first time in China, the festival's artistic director Liu Zheng announced at a press conference in Qingdao on Tuesday.

Twenty orchestras and troupes from 13 countries, including the Russian Richter Symphony Orchestra, Moroccan CassSawt Choir and Multi-country Brass Light Combination, will stage a total of 26 concerts across the coastal city during the festival.

"It took me more than a year to convince the organizers of the Eurochestries Festival to agree to hold a festival in China," Liu told the Global Times on Tuesday. "As we all know, music can move beyond boundaries."

Created in 1989 to promote orchestral practice of young people aged 15-25, the Eurochestries festival gathers symphony and string orchestras, choirs or music chamber troupes together to take part in international exchanges.

"Young people may be separated by language, but can be united by the universal language of music. Not only will bands from European countries perform at our festival, so too will ones from other countries," Liu said. "The festival itself is a positive result of China's Belt and Road initiative."

The Israel National Youth Orchestra and the Mexican Soneta Trio have also been invited to take part in this year's Eurochestries Festival in Qingdao.

According to Liu, the Norwegian Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra will be the first troupe from Norway to perform in China since the two countries normalized diplomatic and political ties on December 19, 2016.

Young musicians will not only perform with their own orchestras, but also be encouraged to form new musical orchestras with musicians from other countries for the closing concert.

"Young musicians will meet and work toward a common goal. They will learn more about new programs, discover other cultures and other musical sensibilities and work under the direction of different conductors, which will be a challenge as well as an opportunity to learn," explained Liu.

Liu also reveal that he chooses works by composers Edvard Grieg and Claude Debussy to represent the theme of this year's festival: Nature and Fusion.

"These young musicians will not only perform here in China, but also have the chance to feel and experience Chinese people's lives for themselves," he said. "This is why we are calling the opening concert 'From Culture to Future.' Classic music will act as a bridge leading to the future."

While the opening and closing concerts will be staged in theaters, most of the activities at the festival will be performed in public spaces throughout the coastal city. In a daring move, young musicians will also perform on the Ferris wheel located along the city's western coastline. These performances will be streamed live online. 

Once occupied by the Germans from 1891 to 1914, Qingdao still has many German-style buildings and structures. In addition to its role as the capital of beer in China, Qingdao is also known as the "Oriental Hollywood" since it is home to the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis, a film and television studio founded by the Wanda Group in 2013 with an investment of 50 billion yuan ($7.3 billion).

Huang Jiangrui contributed to this story