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May 6, 2016

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Home » District » Yangpu

Wind music festival a special treat

SYMPHONIC music lovers in Shanghai were in for a treat as the annual Shanghai Spring International Wind Music Festival returned to Yangpu District this year.

This year’s festival, billed as one of the major highlights during the Labor Day holiday in Shanghai, was held from April 29 to May 6 with performances from international symphonic bands from Austria, Spain, Hungary, Indonesia and Thailand.

Representing the domestic music scene was the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Band, Chinese People’s Armed Police Band, and over 89 wind orchestras from Beijing, Shanghai and 20 other provinces and cities. The performers were chosen through a selection committee.

Held since 2008, the Shanghai Spring International Wind Music Festival puts the spotlight on wind instruments like trumpets, clarinets and saxophones.

Organizers of the festival aim to increase the public’s knowledge on different types of music orchestras through a diverse array of music performances from both international and domestic bands.

This year’s festival celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Long March of the Red Army and the 95th anniversary of the Communist Party of China.

During the festival, there were a series of notable performances, which included renowned 92-year-old Chinese conductor Cao Peng, who led an autistic children’s music band at the opening ceremony of the festival.

The closing ceremony of the festival put Chinese bands at the forefront as the PLA Military Band, the PLA Navy Band, the Chinese People’s Armed Police Band and three other domestic professional wind arts group will perform today at the Zhengda Gymnasium at Fudan University.

This year’s festival also saw an expansion to other districts as festivities were also held in Pudong New Area, Songjiang, Minhang and Baoshan districts.

Both domestic and international bands performed at famous landmarks such as the Oriental Pearl TV Tower Plaza, Wujiaochang Square, Century Plaza at Nanjing Road and the Shanghai International Fashion Center.

In line with the theme “Fine arts on campus,” organizers worked with the local education authority to increase the number of performances at local universities to five for this year’s edition of the festival, which is also a bid to promote the symphonic music culture to college students. Shanghai Maritime University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai University and Fudan University hosted performances this year.

For the first time since its inception, the festival also saw a revamp of the judging process, as bands were not given gold, silver or bronze honors, as determined by China’s central government.

Various international bands performed for selected elementary and middle schools in the Yangpu District, such as the Austrian group Musikkapelle Aldrans, which visited Yangpu Elementary School on 27 April.

Clad in traditional Austrian garb that included Tyrolean hats and knee-high white stockings, they performed for the school’s 600 students.

For some of the overseas performers, they were thrilled to be so far away from home and playing a part in the festivities. Alois Gapp, a clarinet player from the Musikkapelle Aldrans, was one of them.

Gapp, who comes from the Austrian town of Aldrans, told Shanghai Daily: “It is such a wonderful experience to be performing here in Shanghai as it is such a big city. Its population alone is already more than our entire country.

“It is actually my first time in Shanghai, and my first trip to Asia. I definitely want to come back again.”

For the audience at Yangpu Elementary School the performance was an eye-opener.

A teacher named Wei told Shanghai Daily: “These inter-cultural activities are educational for our students as it gives them an opportunity to explore different cultures and they learn a lot from it.

“For example, when they (the Austrians) perform, they do it with a smile on their face and you can see that they play their music with passion. I think it is something our students can learn from. In our school, I often find that our students are rather stoic when performing and find it difficult to convey their emotions, especially when it comes to cultural matters like music.

“Inviting overseas performers to our school will allow our students to have a deeper appreciation of different kinds of music and realize that playing good music comes from the heart.”

Wei also believes that this experience will be a valuable learning experience for teachers as well.

“For teachers, we also learn about a different culture and we can apply this to how we teach in the classrooms.

“It adds a different dynamic to teaching,” Wei added.


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