30-Day Countdown To Youth Music Culture Guangdong 2019 Begins

30-Day Countdown To Youth Music Culture Guangdong 2019 Begins

3rd YMCG Launches in January 2019

Yo-Yo Ma to lead young musicians in a music marathon featuring music "From Brahms and Sibelius to the Unexpected"

Presented by the Guangdong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, organized jointly by the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra (GSO) and Xinghai Concert Hall, supported by the Publicity Department of the Committee of Yuexiu District and with Volkswagen Group China as Founding Partner, the 3rd Youth Music Culture Guangdong (YMCG) will take place between January 11 and 19, 2019 in Guangzhou. During that period, YMCG Artistic Director Yo-Yo Ma and his teaching faculty will work with young musicians from four continents-spanning a wide range of educational background and experience-to form a new YMCG Symphony Orchestra. Their activities will take place in a cultural hub comprising the GSO headquarters, Xinghai Concert Hall and a temporary Music Tent on Ersha Island. Together they embark on a journey traversing East and West, classical and modern, performing masterpieces written by great composers as well as musical improvisations.

A unique youth music project that has attracted the world's attention

In his report at the 19th CPC National Congress, President Xi Jinping provided guidance to those working in culture, encouraging them to "cherish our cultural roots, draw on other cultures, and be forward-thinking." By steadfastly adhering to these principles, we promote the creative transformation and innovative quality that distinguish Chinese traditional culture. YMCG is a place where young musicians not only advance their technical prowess, but also develop individuality and creativity. The project motivates young musicians as they strengthen their confidence in their own culture, in turn fostering the long-term development of Chinese music.

Yo-Yo Ma's music crosses among cultures and ethnicities, bearing testament to the fact that music knows no boundaries. Ma is a symbol of an open and embracing musical attitude and an icon for cross-cultural exchange and dialogue. New music created by Yo-Yo Ma, his distinguished teaching faculty and young musicians of diverse backgrounds conveys a strong message to the world: that Guangdong and Chinese musicians are keen to communicate and engage in dialogue, sharing the multicultural message behind the music.

As the newest internationally branded artistic project to emerge from Guangdong province, YMCG has already proven itself at home and abroad. The depth of engagement and dialogue that started at the inaugural YMCG (January 2017) were widely acclaimed. Chinese Culture Pictorial used "opening a new page for the Chinese symphonic world" in the title of an in-depth feature on YMCG that has since garnered enormous impact. The combined events attracted more than 6,000 audience members, with videos on social media receiving more than 15 million views. Not only was footage of YMCG shown in New York's Times Square, but also the Financial Times and international mainstream classical music magazines carried detailed reports of the activities, introducing this project to the world.

For the 3rd YMCG, which will last nine days, the YMCG Symphony Orchestra will comprise 72 young musicians coming from 13 countries including America, France, Singapore, Hungary, Uzbekistan, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, England, Germany, Indonesia, Czech and China, and more than 24 cities around the globe. It is worth mentioning that there are 8 students comes from Hong Kong and Macao-Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area-which is a ninth of total. Also, more than 120 applications for YMCG volunteers are received from 6 countries including America, Australia, Canada, Spain, England and China, and more than 23 cities around the globe. Some of them come from the United Nations, World's Top Five Hundred companies and Ivy League schools. The youngest one is 17 and the oldest is over 65.

From Brahms and Sibelius to the Unexpected and continue with the "music marathon" challenge

More than twenty internationally renowned musicians and educators have joined the YMCG faculty in the past two years, participating in teaching sessions and public performances. They include professors from such illustrious global institutions as Harvard University and Curtis Institute of Music, members of the Silkroad Ensemble and principal players of the world's premier orchestras. The 2019 YMCG faculty is equally strong and distinguished. Returning three years in a row are Yo-Yo Ma, Michael Stern, Mike Block (cello), Joseph Gramley (percussion) and Tina Blythe (music educator). Other returning faculty (who either participated in 2017 or 2018 YMCG) include Johnny Gandelsman (violin), Kinan Azmeh (clarinet), Bill Williams (trumpet), Hsin-Yun Huang (viola) and Shaw Pong Liu (violin/erhu). New members joining the faculty for the first time in January 2019 are Nicolas Cords (viola), Colin Jacobsen (violin), Michael Nicholas (cello), Mike Gordon (flute) and Roger Kaza (Horn).

These 15 first-rate international musicians will lead almost 200 large- and small-scale intensive workshops, rehearsals, masterclasses, salons and lectures during the nine-day period, inspiring participants to engage in dialogues musical and otherwise. Yo-Yo Ma will personally lead two masterclasses which will open to the public. In the first one, "An Introduction to Musical Problem Solving", Yo-Yo Ma will explore with YMCG faculty and participants how musicians solve problems as individuals and collectively in rehearsal and performance. During the second one, "Content, Communication and Reception", Yo-Yo Ma will join YMCG faculty and participants to examine the interplay between audiences' reception and musicians' interpretation, using examples from the Brahms Double Concerto. Also, most of the activities will partly opened to teachers and artistic management practitioners for the first time. Public and ancillary activities during YMCG will take place in both the Xinghai Concert Hall and the temporary Music Tent.

The 2019 YMCG will focus on this classical master. In the opening YMCG concert (January 11), Chairman of the Artistic Committee Long Yu will conduct Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra on stage at the Xinghai Concert Hall along with the pianist Zhang Haochen, performing Chen Qigang's Wu Xing, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.1 and Dvo?ák's Symphony No.9.

One of the most anticipated and exciting events of the 2019 YMCG is the closing concert (January 19), presented as a "music marathon" again. To quote the words of Yo-Yo Ma: "What is a marathon concert? It's an opportunity to share through performance everything we - the faculty and the young musicians - have taught each other over nine days together. There will be chamber music, and Michael Stern will conduct works of Brahms and Sibelius. And there will be surprises! Because we don't know what we might discover together." All young musicians participating in the 2019 YMCG will appear on stage in different configurations from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. in chamber ensembles presenting chamber music of Brahms, Sibelius, Mendelssohn, Schubert and other composers, also original arrangements by YMCG Silkroad Bands, culminating in the YMCG Symphony Orchestra performing Brahms's Concerto for Violin and Cello together with Yo-Yo Ma and Johnny Gandelsman and Sibelius's Symphony No.5. Under the guidance of YMCG's innovative and visionary teaching faculty and having experienced more than a week of training and breakthroughs, young musicians will surely surprise the audience with new perspectives as they "play" with improvisation and unlock fresh inspiration.

"Making friends through music": A great way for young musicians to grow

The renowned American conductor Michael Stern returns for a third year as YMCG Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor. It is Artistic Director Yo-Yo Ma's express wish that everyone makes connections during the period, from striking new musical relationships to establishing longer-term friendships. After its conclusion, young musicians can bring different philosophies and ideas into practice not only in music but also their daily lives. The organizers look forward to watching creative sparks fly as "conservatory-educated" young musicians interact with YMCG's distinguished faculty.

Volkswagen Group China's AEP-China, a program initiated in 2017 by YMCG Artistic Committee Chairman and GSO Music Director Long Yu, continues its collaboration with YMCG for a third year. AEP-China is established with the aim to inspire China's younger generation through interaction and engagement in the arts. YMCG is not purely a training camp to improve performing technique. During the nine-day period, young musicians engage in discussion and rehearsals as well as lectures and masterclasses, absorbing the unique musical sensibilities and cultural spirit of the distinguished faculty. Under their guidance, young musicians from different countries and regions will "make friends through music," learning new cultural and artistic sentiments, experiencing an enthralling nine-day musical feast in the city standing at the forefront of China's reform and open-door policy. The energetic and creative work of YMCG musicians will enrich all of us, adding colors and textures that encompass music and life, culture and society, tradition and development, fusion and innovation that make up China and Guangdong today.

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