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October 19, 2019

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‘Rising Artists’ get platform to showcase precocious talent

The China Shanghai International Arts Festival not only brings top performances to the city every year, but also provides a stage for emerging artists via its Rising Artists’ Works program that began in 2012.

With a mission of “bringing together young creators, showcasing China’s innovation,” the program has commissioned 65 new works by 78 young artists over the past seven years, providing crucial support and media exposure during the festival.

Many of the commissions are experimental performances that attempted to put Western classics in a contemporary Chinese context, explorations to integrate Eastern and Western art forms, or contemporary interpretations of regional indigenous art traditions in China.

Members of a group putting on a multimedia performance combining music and visual art told Shanghai Daily that experimental contemporary music doesn’t usually attract many institutions, who often have concerns about working with young musicians or performers. The rising artists program, however, is very bold in working with young artists who have explorative ideas, providing motivation to implement creative ideas.

“Vibration of the Heavens” is an experiment in mixing a piano recital and interactive electronic music with visual arts such as creative lighting and videos. A piano is connected to a lighting system that interacts with the broader stage lighting, adding a new layer to the visual experience.

It will be staged today and tomorrow at Malan Orchid Theater.

Pianist Yu Xiangjun, who returned from Germany to teach at Shanghai Conservatory of Music, said she has long been fascinated with the idea of giving “stringent” classical music a contemporary context.

To explore this idea, she has colla­borated with composer Xu Zhibo to create a repertoire of contemporary classical music that best fits with high-tech visuals and electronic music with the aim of attracting those who may consider classical music too difficult or distant.

Along with creative artist Da Yan, musicians and artists seek to explore the “extensive-organism” in the dimension of urban space-time, conveying perspectives familiar to those residing in huge metropolises.

The piano repertoire includes two Chinese and two Western pieces, from Xu, Shao Qing, George Crumb and John Adams, attempting to establish a dialogue not only between music and visuals, but also East and West.

New commissions such as “Vibration of the Heavens” are not only performed during the festival, but also feature in the ensuing festival outreach program, bringing a variety of performances to communities. Many will also feature on international stages.


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