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Traditional Chinese music to make ground-breaking tour in Europe, Africa
2007-01-07 09:36:11 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- China Huaxia National Orchestra, which specializes in traditional Chinese music under the China Conservatory of Music (CCM), will give performances in Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Luxembourg, Germany and Egypt from Jan. 30.

"The tour to Italy, Luxembourg and Germany by a traditional Chinese music troupe is a ground-breaking event," said Zhang Weiliang, director of the Huaxia orchestra at Saturday's press conference.

In 1998, traditional Chinese music was first performed in the Golden Concert Hall of Vienna, to audience acclaim. It was the first time a European audience had been able to listen in to live traditional Chinese music.

Zhang, a tutor in the CCM musical instrument department, said the tour performances will include seven numbers -- the percussion instrument concerto The Sun, two Gu Qin solos Lang Tao Sha and Dragon Dance, an Erhu solo Beijing Dream, Chinese New Year Eve from the Northwestern Suite, the flute solo Flower Tears, and an instrumental ensemble Mu Guiying, the Female General.

Zhang said the pieces are all the work of modern Chinese composers such as Tan Dun, Chen Qigang and Guo Wenjing.

Guan Naizhong, a guest professor with the CCM, will conduct the tour performances.

CCM President Jin Tielin said traditional Chinese music -- a quintessential component of Chinese culture -- dates back 8,000 years. It has received government support since the 1950s and become popular among the public.

"It's time to introduce traditional Chinese music to the international stage, as China opens its door wider to the world," said Jin, adding that the CCM should shoulder more responsibility in preserving this unique heritage.

"Traditional Chinese music has shown that it can win the hearts of western audiences," said Wu Zezhou, president of a performing arts agency that has sponsored all traditional Chinese music performances in the Golden Concert Hall of Vienna over the past decade.

He revealed that performances of traditional Chinese music will be held in 22 cities of 12 European and African countries from Feb. 11 to March 2.

Gabriele Feigl, an embassy official in charge of cultural affairs with the Austrian Embassy to China, said traditional Chinese music concerts held each year in the Golden Concert Hall of Vienna have become very popular among Austrians.

"I am sure that traditional Chinese music will develop a bigger and bigger audience worldwide," she said.

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