Vocal Music Fringed with Instrumental Music

--- Prelude to the 9th New Music Week of Shanghai Conservatory of Music 2016


As time creeps on, Shanghai Conservatory of Music is about to usher in the 9th New Music Week. With its rapid development and growth over the past eight years and the annual increase in its reach and influence home and abroad, we, as organizers, have to stop to think metaphysically about something fresh and new that should be brought in to push the festival to go even further and higher before going downhill if decaying is the governing law over everything. And the faithful audience of the New Music Week over the past eight years would expect something different than what it was. After all, abandoning the old for the new forms of art is one of the features of contemporary music, isn’t it?


Just as the famous ancient Chinese poet TAO Yuangming once said, “Stringed music compares unfavorably with woodwind music while the latter can’t match vocal music”, we bring in vocal music to play the leading role with instrumental music on the fringe in the New Music Week from Sep. 23 to 28, 2016. Among others, Ligeti’s Aventures and Nouvelle Aventures for voice and ensemble, bitterly denouncing the brutality inflicted by Hiltler and Stalin on humans, is to be sung by Stuttgart Vocalsolisten Singers, better than whom the organizer cannot find any other group of singers until now to perform it in China for the sake of the daunting difficulty of the choral part. This singers group also stage some of its repertoire of choral works by Aperghis, Sciarrino, Haas, Filidei and Stockhausen. Rainbow Chamber Singers, causing a sensation across China for the song Zhang Shichao, Where On Earth Have You Hide My Key?, is to unveil another facet of their exploration. The portrait concert of J. Harvey is to be performed by Taipei Chamber Singers, who has made great contributions to promoting Asian contemporary choral works to the world. In the portrait concert of Fabian Panisello, the composer in residence from Spain has specially programmed some of his works for voice and ensemble so as to be in conformity with the theme of this edition. He is also going to deliver a lecture on his own new chamber opera. Apart from these, ZHANG Chengxiang, a jaw-droppingly amazing Chinese folk rapper from North Shanxi Province, whose music is both traditional and contemporary, will deeply impress and move the audience with his incomparable confidence and breathtaking rap-roaring.


Even with all these great works of vocal music, however, the menu would not be nutritionally balanced without instrumental music. While introducing new changes the New Music Week is trying to keep its original characters. In its opening concert, T. Muriall, the maestro of spectrum music in residence, will present his orchestral music Reflets/High Voltage together with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Apart from this, our audience will also be offered an opportunity to have a glimpse of the technical prowess of Israel Contemporary Players through the exquisite Piano Concerto of Legetti, such great polish contemporary music by NeoQuartet from Poland as the works of Witold Lutoslawski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, Pawel Szymanski, and the musical soul of the two prominent Italian composers, Salvatore Sciarrinoand and Iván Fedele, by the sensational performance of PluraEnsemble from Spain. And they will enjoy themselves to their heart’s content at the closing concert portrait of Concertos by ZHOU Long, one of the resident composers, which is to be performed by 5 excellent soloists and Shanghai Opera Orchestra.


It is a comforting thought that after eight years the New Music Week still retains its pioneering spirit in exploring new frontiers of contemporary music and tries to push further in the quality of both musical compositions and performance. The feast of music it offers is so sumptuous that no composer, musician, conductor (especially cantor), performer or music lover will ever want to miss.


WEN Deqing

The Artistic Director of the New Music Week

Aug. 30, 2016

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New Music Week
Shanghai Conservatory of Music
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