The 24th Beijing Music Festival ends with grace and aplomb
Paying tribute to the classics
Published: Oct 26, 2021 06:43 PM
The BMF closing concert  The BMF award ceremony for young musicians Photos: Courtesy of BMF

The BMF award ceremony for young musicians Photo: Courtesy of BMF

The BMF closing concert  The BMF award ceremony for young musicians Photos: Courtesy of BMF

The BMF closing concert Photo: Courtesy of BMF

The 24th Beijing Music Festival (BMF) came to an end on Sunday in China's capital city. Under the theme of Masters and Celebrations, BMF presented an exquisite selection of the vast literature and cutting-edge visions of classical music from around the world. As a form of cultural exchange, the special series of performances featuring a dialogue between Chinese composers and classical music masters helped enhance mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world.

At the closing ceremony for the festival, Chinese composer and conductor Tan Dun performed his works as well as those by Stravinsky with the China Philharmonic Orchestra. Tan's Double Concerto of Guzheng and Pipa and Fire Ritual - War and Peace, whose new versions premiered at the festival, were inspired by Chinese history and China's cultural and musical traditions. In the latter, Tan expresses his concern, as the goodwill ambassador of UNESCO, for the world in the pandemic era.

Young musicians were a major part of the 24th BMF. In the eyes of Chinese conductor Yu Long, president of BMF, this young generation of musicians represent the hope of continuous progress in China's music industry. 

"The world will pay attention to China because of these young people. It is the responsibility of the BMF to build a platform and pave the way for them," he said.

At the centennial of the Communist Party of China (CPC), BMF and the China Musicians Association Symphony Orchestra Alliance jointly and proudly presented Under the Brilliant Sun, a festive symphonic-choral concert performed by the China Musicians Association Symphony Orchestra Alliance-BMF Festival Orchestra as a tribute to the Party in homage to her great journey through a century of vicissitudes and in praise of the great era the people of China live in.

The 24th BMF also devoted itself to paying tribute to composers on their important anniversaries. 

Together with China's top ensembles and talents, it celebrated the legacy left behind by past classical masters such as Stravinsky, Camille Saint-Saens, Antonio Vivaldi, Gustav Mahler and Ding Shande, as well as the outstanding achievements of living composers including Chen Qigang, Guo Wenjing and Tan with the highest respect.

Stravinsky, who died 50 years ago, was surely the highlight of this BMF, with operatic, orchestral, and chamber performances exploring his multifarious talents. 

BMF invited China's top young vocalists and a daring young orchestra to present two Stravinsky premieres in China: his opera The Rake's Progress and his arrangement of Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier. The famed Rite of Spring was not forgotten, but was performed in an innovative style. Performing at The Red, a trendy landmark in the Beijing's Sanlitun, not only provides a personalized platform for young musicians, but also breaks the inherent viewing mode and distance of classical music, and brings more diverse and cutting-edge music forms into the city in a trendy way. Founded in 1998, BMF has become one of the most significant and creative cultural events in the world. The 24th BMF not only brings the most outstanding classical musicians from around the world to the stage, but also presents operas, symphony and folk music including Concert of Intangible Cultural Heritage Authentic Folk Music from Western Hunan.