Composer leads world premiere of Dunhuang's music

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The world premiere takes place at Shanghai Oriental Art Center on May 13. [Photo/]

Chinese composer Tan Dun led Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra in the world premiere of "Ancient Music from Dunhuang" at Shanghai Oriental Art Center.

The three movements in Tan's composition explores the essence of Shanghai culture, the future of human and nature, as well as the folk music of different Chinese ethnic groups.

Drawing attention from around the world, the Dunhuang music world premiere travels more than one thousand years and rediscovers the instruments and music derived from Dunhuang murals and manuscripts.

The world premiere takes place at Shanghai Oriental Art Center on May 13. [Photo/]

According to Tan, he managed to find the legacy of ancient Dunhuang after a long research, during which he looked for the shapes of Dunhuang musical instruments in murals and dance notations among Dunhuang manuscripts scattered around the globe.

He once traveled all over London and Paris to locate the manuscripts and translate them. "Without notes and rhythms, I must return to existing traditional songs like Parting at Yang Guan and A Moonlit Night on the Spring River for reference," he said. "My goal is to touch people's souls through music."

Tan plans to organize a philharmonic of Dunhuang music in the future after 12 pieces of ancient instruments are restored from Mogao caves. The composer has devoted himself to the revival of Dunhuang music in the modern world.


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