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Carnegie Hall to hold China-themed festival
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The Carnegie Hall's China-themed festival this autumn, the first of its kind to celebrate a country, will be a "window" into vibrant Chinese culture for the U.S. audiences, head of the New York-based and world-renowned concert hall said Tuesday.

Clive Gillinson, executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, said in a written interview with Xinhua that the hall will present "Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: A Festival Celebrating Chinese Culture" in both east and west coasts of the United States since October, including music, dance, art and museum exhibitions, calligraphy demonstrations, film and more.

"Our hope is that the festival will serve as an introduction into the fascinating music and art of this nation -- both the ancient traditions and the modern innovators working today -- and that it will inspire deeper understanding and greater curiosity about this fascinating and important country," said Gillinson.

The three-week festival, held from Oct. 21 to Nov. 10 in New York City, will be the fourth major festival presented by Carnegie Hall in the last three years, but "the first one celebrating a country," he said.

"China's art and music are fascinating in so many ways, and even more amazing when you consider how the country's ancient folk traditions influence its equally vibrant contemporary arts scene today," said Gillinson, who himself is a successful cellist.

Many outstanding Chinese artists, including the pianist Lang Lang and Li Yundi, cellist Ma Yo-Yo, composer and conductor Tan Dun, pipa-player Wu Man, will give performances during the festival.

A variety of ensembles representing the country's folk culture, like the Quanzhou Marionette Theater and other traditional Chinese ensembles that have never before performed abroad will also show up on the stage.

"To us, it was very important to have this variety in the festival, to reflect China's great history of traditional and folk art as well as its vibrant contemporary arts scene," Gillinson said.

Many other outstanding New York cultural institutions also joined in, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Asia Society, China Institute, Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Chinese in America, and The Joyce Theater, to create "a truly multidimensional immersion over three weeks," he said.

Besides over 30 events in New York City, the festival will also be presented in Costa Mesa, California from Oct. 15 to Nov. 24, the first time that Carnegie Hall's festival programming will travel to another city in its 119-year history, according to Gillinson.

Built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1891, Carnegie Hall is one of the most famous venues in the United States for classical music and popular music, renowned for its beauty, history and acoustics.

It presents more than 190 concerts each year -- from orchestral performances, chamber music, recitals, and choral music to folk, world, musical theater, and jazz.

Asked for why to present such a China-themed festival, Gillinson attributed this to China's rich cultural heritage and its huge impact on artists around the world.

"Perhaps more than ever before, the incredibly vibrant aspects of China and its culture have captured the imagination of the world today," he said.

Calling the country's extraordinary cultural heritage "one of the oldest and most remarkable in the world," the director said China has had a huge impact on artists working around the world.

"We wanted to take the opportunity to explore this ongoing influence within the festival," Gillinson said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2009)
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