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Beijing Music Festival

The Beijing Music Festival, presented by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China and the Beijing Municipal Government, was founded in 1998 by conductor Long Yu who holds the position of the Chairman of the Beijing Music Festival Artistic Committee. Now the festival has become one of the most significant and creative cultural events in the world. Annually in the golden autumn, internationally renowned musicians and orchestras such as Christoph Eschenbach, Lorin Maazel, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle, Charles Dutoit, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Valery Gergiev, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen,Jaap van Zweden, Paavo Järvi, Martha Argerich, Maurizio Pollini, Paul BaduraSkoda, Rudolf Buchbinder,Lang Lang, Mischa Maisky, Augustin Dumay, Maxim Vengerov, Midori, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Jian Wang, Yo-Yo Ma, KyungWha Chung, Sir James Galway, José Carreras, Cheryl Studer, Verona Opera House, Grand Theatre of Warsaw, Teatro La Fenice, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Salzburg Easter Festival, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, China Philharmonic Orchestra, China National Symphony Orchestra, Beijing Symphony Orchestra, and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, just to name a few, give some thirty performances including operas, symphonic and chamber music concerts, musicals, even jazz.

The Beijing Music Festival presented many performances with historic significance, including the sensational China premiere of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (“Symphony of a Thousand”) and the Asian premiere of Berg’s Lulu in 2002, “The Night of China Opera” in 2003 with challenging productions of Guo Wenjing’s Ye Yan (Night Banquet)and Wolf Cub Village, the historical China premiere of Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle and the second visit after1979 of the Berlin Philharmonic in 2005, as well as Beijing premieres of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and The Nose. In 2010, the 13th Beijing Music Festival commissioned Howard Shore for a new piano concerto commemorating the bicentennial of Chopin’s birth. Entitled “Ruin and Memory” and premiered by Lang Lang, this work received its world premiere at the festival. Zhou Long’s Madame White Snake, which was co-commissioned with Opera Boston, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2011. The 13th Beijing Music Festival also presented the world premiere of Ye Xiaogang’s opera, Song of Farewell. In 2012, the Beijing Music Festival gathered the world's most distinguished conductors and artists to commemorate the centenary of Gustav Mahler’s death, presenting ten of the composer’s major symphonic works as well as numerous chamber compositions, marking a unique musical tribute.

What makes the Beijing Music Festival unique among other international music festivals is its spirit of encouraging both western and Chinese contemporary music. The Festival has always been active in commissioning and presenting premieres of new works by such composers as Krzysztof Penderecki, Philip Glass, Guo Wenjing, Ye Xiaogang, Tan Dun, Unsuk Chin, Howard Shore, Zhou Long and Qigang Chen.

The Beijing Music Festival is dedicated to promoting traditional Chinese culture and fostering Chinese creativity; it has produced symphonic renditions of Peking opera as well as kunqu productions, paving the way for the finest of Chinese performing arts to reach the world. As one of the most influential organizations in classical music, the Beijing Music Festival actively advocates and honors copyright protection in the field of music, and is in collaboration with leading performing arts institutions and copyright holders.

The Beijing Music Festival also emphasizes music education. Each year the Festival offers free children’s and students’ concerts. Collaborating with the Education Department of the Central Conservatory of Music, the Festival has held ten cycles of master classes each year and won extensive praise from all walks of life.