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Setting the record straight

BY :China Daily

UPDATED :2024-01-08

Canadian violinist Chantal Juillet (fourth from right) and her husband, Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit (third from right), conductor Yu Long (right), and Chen Qing (third from left), president of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, attend the opening ceremony for the Chantal Juillet and Charles Dutoit Chamber Music Library on December 19, 2023. (Photo provided to China Daily) 
Canadian violinist Chantal Juillet celebrated her 63rd birthday in Guangzhou, Guangdong province on December 19, 2023. Conductor Yu Long presented her with a birthday cake and the musicians of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra played an impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday to You for her.
On that day, the Chantal Juillet and Charles Dutoit Chamber Music Library was unveiled, with Juillet and her husband, Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit, attending the ceremony.
The library houses the scores of more than 3,000 chamber works by 230 composers from the 17th century to the present day, all donated by Chantal Juillet. In September 2020, the scores arrived in Guangzhou, sent from Montreal, Canada. 

Peng & Pan, a string duo from the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, perform during the ceremony. (Photo provided to China Daily)
The scores cover various forms of chamber music, including string, wind, percussion, keyboard, and vocal, with a focus on instrumental works. Many internationally renowned musicians, such as pianists Martha Argerich, Gary Graffman, violinist Itzhak Perlman and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, have used these scores in their performances. Some have handwritten markings left by these musicians during rehearsals.
"I am very touched and impressed by this library. I told maestro Yu Long to make something simple, but this is not simple. This is extraordinary," Juillet says.
Peng & Pan, a string duo from the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, consisting of violinist Peng Ke and cellist Pan Yang, performed Austrian composer Hanns Eisler's work, Duo for Violin and Cello, during the ceremony from the score donated by Juillet.
The long friendship between the couple and Yu, who served as the music director of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2023, and is now the orchestra's honorary music director for life, started 19 years ago. 

Dutoit and Yu during a rehearsal of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra on December 18, 2023 (Photo provided to China Daily)
They co-launched the Canton International Summer Music Academy in 2005 in Guangzhou, with Juillet and Dutoit serving as the music director and chamber music director of the event, which was one of the first large international professional music summer camps held in China. Between 2005 and 2007, the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra organized the Canton International Summer Music Academy, inviting distinguished artists from world-renowned orchestras to be tutors, attracting young musicians from all over Asia.
"Nineteen years ago, when we met Yu Long, that day was my birthday, which I will never forget," says Juillet. "Back in 2005, when we held auditions for the summer camp, many young musicians had difficulty finding music for them. It was like a seed planted in my heart to provide young people with access to music scores."
"The best part of music is chamber music, since being a soloist is about practicing alone and requires much solitude, and being in an orchestra can bring a feeling of being lost," says the violinist.
Juillet adds that the scores donated to the Chantal Juillet and Charles Dutoit Chamber Music Library have been used during her career of more than 25 years.
The violinist joined the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in 1985, and was appointed co-concertmaster of that orchestra in 1990. She has performed worldwide with international orchestras. 

Juillet and Dutoit pose in front of their photo in the library. (Photo provided to China Daily)
"Being a part of this project in China has been an incredible opportunity in my life. This is a highlight of my musical career because the scores have found the place where they belong," she says.
"The Canton International Summer Music Academy has trained many young musicians, many of whom have grown into professional musicians today. The library is an expansion of our long friendship and the music scores donated by her (Juillet) will benefit more young musicians and music lovers," says Yu.
On December 22, 2023, Dutoit performed with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, with music works including Gabriel Faure's Pelleas et Melisande Suite, Op. 80, Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major, S. 125, and Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, From the New World. Young pianist Wang Yalun, born in 2004, was featured during the concert.
"This is my 35th time in China and I return to this country almost every year," says the conductor, 87, who was appointed principal conductor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1977 to 2002. "I saw some young Chinese conductors coming to our rehearsals, which was great. It's nice to see them. I love coming here to share my experience, such as how to rehearse with the orchestra."
According to Chen Qing, president of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, these valuable music scores have been cataloged and stored according to library management standards. People need to make an appointment to access the library, and the reservation channel will soon be announced through the official platforms of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. The library will also develop online access capabilities and will also digitalize all the music scores, which will promote music education in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and beyond.

Editor: Annie