Zhao Cong: Building global music platform for mutual learning, exchanges
Published: Mar 07, 2023 12:34 AM
Zhao Cong Photo: VCG

Zhao Cong Photo: VCG

It is the first time Zhao Cong has been a member of the CPPCC National Committee, a top political advisory body in China. Zhao, president of the China National Traditional Orchestra (CNTO) and renowned pipa performer, has submitted a proposal aimed at increasing Chinese culture's international appeal.

"How to better inherit and carry forward the best of traditional Chinese culture and promote cultural self-confidence is at the center of my proposal," Zhao told the Global Times. She hopes to build an international platform for the exchanges and integration of the world's various music genres.

In recent years, traditional Chinese culture is becoming increasingly loved and sought after, especially among the younger generation. Zhao and the CNTO have been using creative ways to integrate Chinese culture, like the ancient Sanxingdui Ruins, into modern music works in genres such as rock and electronica to get young people interested and allow China's folk music to be heard by the world. 

The orchestra does not try to subvert tradition, but allows different music cultures to collide with each other. Zhao hopes that by bringing ancient musical instruments into the new era, they will be able to radiate a "new voice" through innovation, intertwining ancient glamour and contemporary fashion so that the world can hear a unique Chinese voice.

In addition, modern technology has brought new life to traditional folk music. In the multimedia stage work for their creative folk music track "Qitian Yue," Zhao reproduced the classic dance move "playing pipa behind the back," a move depicted in the famous murals at the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, Northwest China's Gansu Province. 

"With the help of advanced multimedia technology, the collision of ancient and modern times was realized in sound and vision, and traditional culture was expressed more vividly," recalled Zhao.

Music knows no borders, and folk music is an important medium for telling Chinese stories well. Zhao believes that music is a language that can help people understand Chinese tradition and the world, and build a bridge to connect the two.

The two most important aspects of Zhao's proposed platform are "Chinese music walking out into the world" and "inviting other music genres into China." Spreading the concept of harmony is deeply rooted in Chinese traditional culture, and "introducing a thriving and peacefully developing China to the world" is Zhao's wish.