"Pearl River Overture for Orchestra" debuts at Xinghai Concert Hall

BY :Molly Wong, Louis Berney

UPDATED :November 23, 2018


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The "Pearl River Overture for Orchestra,” created by composer Chen Yi, premiered at the Xinghai Concert Hall on November 22. [Photo/Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra] 

The "Pearl River Overture for Orchestra,” created by composer Chen Yi, premiered at the Xinghai Concert Hall on November 22.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, the Publicity Department of the Guangzhou Municipal Party Committee and the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra entrusted Chen Yi earlier this year to create a work with Guangzhou characteristics. After five months, the "Pearl River Overture for Orchestra” was completed and premiered.
Chen Yi(3rd Left)was awarded as the “new era Guangzhou cultural exchange ambassador” at a press conference held on November 21.[Photo/lifeofguangzhou.com]

Chen Yi, who graduated from Columbia University in New York, is the only Chinese-American composer to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is also the first female composer to hold a personal multimedia symphony concert in the United States. She has integrated Eastern and Western cultures and created a large number of unique musical works.
"I visited the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra in June this year and received an invitation to create a symphony for Guangzhou,” Chen Yi said. “I was born in Guangzhou and graduated from Shamian Elementary School. I am very glad to return to Guangzhou and do something for my hometown."

Chen Yi(right)and Yang Yang(left) are exchanging ideas during the rehearsal of Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra.[Photo/Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra] 

Before the press conference started on November 21, Chen Yi listened to the rehearsal of Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. "I am very excited that my work will be conducted by Yang Yang, a very good conductor. The musicians of the orchestra are full of passion and professional qualities. They are very strict in terms of pitch, rhythm, feelings and speed control."
In the process of composing, Chen Yi drew materials from two Guangdong folk music pieces, "Drought Thunder" and "Dragon Boat Race,” to show the ups and downs of the continuous flow of the Pearl River, reflecting the Guangzhou's rapid development and people's best wishes for the future.”
"I benefited from China’s reform and opening up,” Chen Yi added. “After the college entrance examination, I was admitted to the Central Conservatory of Music and then did further study in the United States. Now it’s time for me to give back to my motherland and to promote Chinese musical culture and art to the world."
The concert was conducted by Yang Yang, the music director of the Central Opera House and the artistic director and chief conductor of the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra.