The 4th Beijing Music Festival opened Monday in the Great Hall of the People, with a performance by the Russian St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, headed by well-known Russian conductor Yuri Temirkanov.
The concert started with Shostakovich's Festival Overture and continued with masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, Khatchaturian and Prokofiev. For the first time, the orchestra staged musical pieces by Glazunov and Lyadov to introduce more Russian musicians to the Chinese audience.
The orchestra also performed a Chinese piece of music called " Happy News from Beijing Arriving at Remote Villages", to highlight the theme of the festival to show "international standard, Chinese style and Beijing's characteristics".
The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1882, is one of the best orchestras in the world. Great masters like Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz and Gustav Mahler all performed their masterpieces in the orchestra's concert hall.
Yuri Temirkanov, as the Music Director and Chief Conductor of the orchestra, is also the Principal Guest Conductor of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Conductor Laureate of London's Royal Philharmonic, and the Music Director of the U.S. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He is also a regular guest conductor of the major orchestras of Europe and Asia.
Right before the start of the concert, Temirkanov told Xinhua that he is very happy to visit China and give concerts in Beijing for the first time as the conductor of the St. Petersburg Orchestra. "I Hope the entire Chinese audience enjoy our carefully prepared performance," he said.
According to the organizers, the St. Petersburg orchestra will also join hands with the noted British pianist Peter Donohoe, who is acclaimed as a piano "sculptor", to perform the piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor by Rachmaninov on Tuesday evening.
The music gala, to end on November 8, will invite 1,500 artists from China and another 14 countries, and stage operas, symphony orchestras, chamber music, Chinese folk music, hi-fi concerts and a Children's concert.
This annual music event, co-sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and the Beijing municipal government, has been held three times since 1998, attracting a total of 7,000 artists from home and abroad staging nearly 100 performances.
(People's Daily 10/16/2001)