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August 19, 2011

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Mercedes-Benz salutes legends of music

ABOUT a dozen world-famous musicians are bringing a spectacular feast of classical music to China during the 2nd Mercedes-Benz International Music Festival which started August 10 and ends Sunday.

Three of the concerts are taking place at Shanghai Oriental Art Center, while the others are being held in Beijing and Shenzhen in Guangdong Province.

Under the theme of "Salute to the Legends," the music festival will present the best concerts to Chinese audience, reflecting the "Best or Nothing" idea promoted by Gottlieb Daimler, one of Mercedes-Benz's founders.

"The pursuit of perfection and fascination has contributed to the legend of the 125-year-old Mercedes-Benz; this is also a common spirit shared by classical music which has kept its charm throughout the years," says Bjorn Hauber, executive vice president for sales and marketing of Mercedes-Benz China. "We specially initiated the music festival to help provide Chinese music lovers access to the best musicians, as our salute to legends. And the festival also grants an outstanding platform for local musicians to interact with extraordinary musicians from around the globe."

The 1st Mercedes-Benz International Music Festival held last year mainly focused on percussion music, while this year's event brings more performances of different styles, according to Li Biao, the festival's music director and world-renowned percussionist.

The three concerts held in Shanghai began last night with "Voice and Humor" by a cappella group B Vocal from Spain, tonight sees "Trumpet Meets Piano," a concert by Hungarian musicians Gabor Boldoczki and Gergely Bogányi, and tomorrow "The Journey of Rhythm" will be presented by Li Biao Percussion Group.

"Each musical instrument has its own characteristics, and different combinations can usually contribute to very different styles of music. There is much great music out there apart from the most popular symphonies, and this is what I want to introduce to the Shanghai audience through the festival," says Li. "In my view, a salute to legends is a salute to creative musicians."

Last night's performance by b vocal brought a very fresh concert experience to the local audience. Without any musical instruments, the five members of the Spanish group presented 15 music pieces by mimicking the sound of musical instruments such as drum, guitar and wind instrument simply with their voices.

The performance covered a wide range of styles, including Russian and Mexican ballads, popular rock songs by Elvis Presley and Juanes and classic songs from movie soundtracks. They also performed the Chinese folk song "Up the Half-Moon Goes" by Wang Luobin - in Chinese.

World-leading pianist Boganyi and trumpeter Boldoczki began cooperating as a duet early this year, and their concert tonight will be their overseas premiere.

They will bring Oskar Bohme's "Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra," George Enescu's "Legend for Trumpet and Piano," as well as works by Liszt such as "Lightness" and "Dance of the Gnomes" to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the legendary musician.

The fun continues tomorrow when Li Biao Percussion Group provides economical-price access to good music for the public as part of Shanghai Oriental Art Center's "Saturday Brunch Concert" program.

"Popularizing classical music concerts is just like feeding an infant. We must offer the best, so that audience can appreciate the beauty of music the first time they enter a concert hall and gradually fall in love with it," says Li.

Rather than giving a serious impression of concert music, Li hopes that he can help audience to have fun.

"Audience members will be amazed to see the stage full of different percussion instruments the moment they enter the concert hall," says Li.

The group will arrange about 10 minutes for an interactive program at the end of the concert, during which they can perform their own percussion music.

Mercedes-Benz China has made great efforts in popularizing music and art in China, including introducing top concerts to the country while providing opportunities for Chinese musicians around the world. Playing a role to drive the progress of local culture and arts scene in China is also a part of the company's social responsibility which it hopes to bring more joy of music into the lives of people through its efforts.

To further enhance the promotion of classical music in China, Mercedes-Benz has renewed its strategic partnership with the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing at the opening ceremony of the festival to work on more music events together.

"We hope that we can make another legend in art promotion together in China," says Yang Jingmao, NCPA vice president.

? "Trumpet Meets Piano" - Concert by Gabor Boldoczki and Gergely Boganyi

Date: Today, 7:30pm

Tickets: 100-380 yuan

? "The Journey of Rhythm" - Li Biao Percussion Group Shanghai

Date: Tomorrow, 10am

Tickets: 30-80 yuan

Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center Concert Hall, 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong

Tel: 6217-2426, 6217-3055


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