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Brief on the Festival of China in 2005

The Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China, collaborated with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts of the United States of America, will present a month-long Festival of China in Washington D.C. from October 1st to 31st, 2005.

The Festival will be held just before the visits by  President George Bush in November, which is of great significance in that it will help create friendly atmosphere for the successful visit.

The John F. Kennedy Center, as the presenter of the Festival of China, is a national center for performing arts in the US, and furthermore one of the world's most renowned cultural institutions. As a nonprofit artistic organization, the center accepts funds appropriated by the federal government and donations from different communities. It takes on the largest arts education programme in the nation. The Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts is an exclusive committee of celebrated international arts supporters and sponsors. The Chairman of Board is nominated by the federal government of the United States, with the First Lady as the honorary chairperson.

The Festival of China in 2005 would be the largest in scale of its kind presented by the John F Kennedy Center, of which the theme focuses wholly on just one country or region. It is taken also as one of the most important external cultural exchanges projected by the Ministry of Culture, which aims to reflect the grandeur and magnificence of the 5000 years' culture of China.

During the Festival, Minister Sun Jiazheng will make a keynote speech to the opinion leaders and elites of the American mainstream press and artistic circles followed by a Q&A session. Beijing municipal government will also organize a cultural week of Beijing, which includes variety show, special exhibition and folklore exposition, as part of the Festival.

Prof. Sun Jingbo of China Central Academy of Fine Arts was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture for two murals (acrylic-painted mural Verve of China featuring flying asparas with musical instruments, and lacquer mural based on the famous calligraphy work of Wang Xizhi's Orchid Pavilion Preface) to be donated as gifts of Chinese Government to the Kennedy Center. The murals will be installed in the VIP lounge of the Eisenhower Theater and unveiled during the Festival. Thus the lounge itself will then be renamed as the "Chinese Room".

The Festival of China will take the Kennedy Center as its main site, presenting more than 10 stage performances, visual art exhibitions and contemporary film exhibitions, sending over 700 people from China.

The detailed programme is as follows:

1. Female Generals from the Yang Family by China National Peking Opera Company
October 13-15
2. Tea House by Beijing People's Art Theater
October 27-29
3. Raise the Red Lantern & Mixed repertoire by China National Ballet
October 4-5, 7-8
4. Mixed Shadow and Puppet Programme by Shaanxi Folk Art Theater
October 25-29
5. Cathy - Three Tales from China by Shaanxi Folk Art Theater & Ping Chong Company
October 21-23
6. Chorus concert by Inner Mongolian Youth Choir
October 3
7. Song and Dance Programme by Shanghai Song and Dance Ensemble
8. Percussion Concert by Beijing Red Poppy Ladies Percussion Band
October 6
9. Triple Bill by Beijing Modern Dance Company, Guangdong Modern Dance Company and Hong Kong City Modern Dance Company
October 7-9
10. Mixed Programme by Yunnan Yuansheng Indigenous Music & Dance Studio
October 11
11. Concert with Lang Lang Performing Yellow River Piano Concerto Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra
October 2
12. Concert with Tan Dun conducting Map Shanghai Symphony Orchestra
October 16
13. Concert with 100 pianos 6 young pianists from Shenzhen;
Piano Recital Concert   Chen Sa from Shenzhen
October 3; October 24
14. Terracotta Warriors two original Warrior Figures for display in the foyer of the Kennedy Center throughout the month
15. China Contemporary Installation and Sculpture Exhibition displayed at open area of Kennedy Center throughout the month
16. China Modern Movie Exhibition 8 movies in total with 2 movies every Monday throughout the month

The programme Raise the Red Lantern & Mixed repertoire by China National Ballet, after the Festival, will make a commercial tour performance in North America, planned by ICM. The new programme Cathay co-produced by Shaanxi Folk Art Theater and Ping Chong Company, the Yunnan Indigenous Music and Dance Studio, Beijing Modern Dance Company together with Guangdong Modern Dance Company will also make tour performances in the United States of America. Besides, with the invitation by the overseas Chinese communities, the Beijing People's Art Theater and Red Poppy Ladies Percussion Band will also put on performances in Chicago, San Francisco and Houston fore and after the Festival.

Moreover, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and the Hong Kong City Modern Dance Company from Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region will by then participate in the Festival. Artworks of artists from Taiwan region are also included in China Contemporary Installation and Sculpture Exhibition

Some influential American-Chinese art groups in the US, such as the Ying Quartet, Shen Wei Modern Dance Company and Chinese artists like Cai Guoqiang, Tan Dun, Tim Yip, jazz musician Jon Jang, fashion designers Vivienne Tam, Vera Wang and Han Feng will all participate in this Festival. Renowned artist Xu Bing had designed the logo and banner for the Festival using his "English Chinese" concept. Cartier Company will lay out 1200 of its designs which were somewhat inspired by the Chinese culture.

The inauguration of the Festival of China is scheduled on October 1st on the occasion of the Chinese National Day. The opening celebration of the Festival, integrated with the Beijing Cultural Week, includes both day time and night time activities.

By then, two terra-cotta warriors together with the picture exhibition of Charming Beijing will be put up in the lobby of the Kennedy Center and the China Contemporary Installation and Sculpture Exhibition will be set up in the opening area of the center. Meanwhile, a great variety of outdoor activities will take place outside the center, such as folk-customs exposition and kites flying. Some performances of the Beijing Cultural Week will be put on at the Millennium Stage inside the Center. As Sister Cities to each other, Beijing and Washington D.C. will make further coordination to manage more public-oriented activities.

In the evening, receptions and banquet will be held in the Kennedy Center. A variety show will be held in the Eisenhower Theater of the Center to formally kick off the month-long Festival, right before which the recorded television speech of congratulatory messages from both President Hu Jintao and President George W. Bush will be shown on the big screen. After the opening performance, installation and fireworks titled Tornado created by American Chinese Artist Cai Guoqiang will be set up and shown over the Potomac River and boats. The Chinese Ambassador, H. E. Mr. Zhou Wenzhong and the Kennedy Center will invite honorable guests to take part in the opening celebration, including the first lady of the United States, the Vice president and his wife, congressmen, mayor of Washington D.C. and representatives of the diplomatic commission and more. The Minister of Culture of P. R. China, head of the Beijing Municipal Government and the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. will also be presented.

Other than performances and exhibitions, educational exchanges will be carried out between the Chinese art troupes and local communities. It is estimated that more than 400,000 spectators will personally get access to the Chinese culture and more than 1,000,000 will experience it through newspapers, T.V. programme, internet and radio broadcasting.

(China.org.cn September 21, 2005)

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