LIFE / CULTURE
Symphony concert accompanies the launch of China's Long March-5B Y2 rocket, showing 'Chinese pride and romance'
Published: May 09, 2021 06:18 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Xi'an Symphony Orchestra

Photo: Courtesy of Xi'an Symphony Orchestra



A recording of a live symphony concert held on the beach near the launch site of China's Long March-5B Y2 rocket to accompany the rocket's take- off was released on Chinese streaming platforms on Saturday. The concert, hailed as a "Chinese-style romance" by viewers, earned millions of views in less than a day.

Debris from the Long March-5B Y2 rocket, which was launched in Wenchang, South China's Hainan Province, on April 29, reentered Earth's atmosphere on Sunday morning, with most of the debris burning up on reentry, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced on Sunday morning. 

Viewers watched as the Xi'an Symphony Orchestra kicked off their performance as the rocket, carrying the Tianhe module for China's permanent space station, lifted off in the distance behind them.

Photo: Courtesy of Xi'an Symphony Orchestra

Photo: Courtesy of Xi'an Symphony Orchestra



At the moment the rocket blasted off, the orchestra played the first note under the command of Chinese conductor Xia Xiaotang. The scene stunned Chinese netizens, who said the concert stood witness to a critical moment in the development of China's space industry.

This is the first time that a symphony orchestra has accompanied a rocket launch, an employee from the orchestra told the Global Times.

"The concert is a perfect integration of aerospace technology and symphony elements, using music to tell the story of generations of Chinese astronauts who went to space to pursue their dreams as well as pay tribute to the glorious 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China," the employee said.

The orchestra played several pieces that hold significant meaning for China and the Chinese aerospace industry. The first one was "The East is Red."

"The East is Red" (or Dongfanghong in Chinese) was played in outerspace by China's first satellite Dongfanghong I, also known as China I. The satellite carried a radio transmitter which broadcasted the song in 1970. The broadcast lasted for 20 days while the satellite was in orbit.  

 "Positive Outlook," a special song dedicated to the Chinese aerospace industry, was also performed as the rocket headed toward space.

Hundreds of people had gathered outside the launch site to watch the concert. When the melody of the patriotic song "Ode to the Motherland" rang out, a great cheer went up from the crowd, who applauded the successful launch of the rocket and the module.

The concert showed the beauty of aerospace technology through art and music, but that did not stop Western media from hyping up the "China threat" posed by the country's space technology advancement.

Long March-5B Y2 rocket is launching. Photo: Courtesy of Xi'an Symphony Orchestra

Long March-5B Y2 rocket is launching. Photo: Courtesy of Xi'an Symphony Orchestra



Some voices within the US defense department claimed that the rocket was "out of control" and that debris "may cause damage if it hits inhabited areas." However, experts noted that it is "completely normal" for rocket debris to return to Earth and that the risk of being hit by debris was infinitesimal.

"The concert wants to convey to the audiences that art, science and technology should maintain a rigorous attitude and a tireless spirit of struggle. We also hope that this spirit can be preserved for a long time to enable our country, whether in science, technology or art, to flourish and continue to develop toward a brilliant future," Xia told the China Central Television at the concert.


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