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Sun, sea and symphony

China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-04


Wan Jieni, renowned pianist and artistic director of the Hainan Island International Music Festival, is congratulated by conductor Jaap van Zweden at the opening concert held on Dec 10 at the Haikou Bay Performance Center. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Hainan music festival strikes a chord with visitors, Chen Bowen reports in Haikou.

This December, sea breeze lent a romantic touch to the coconut groves in South China's Hainan province. Soft and warm, it added to the joy of the musical gathering.

Under the theme of "Making Cultural Dialogue, Boosting Cooperation through Music", the first Hainan Island International Music Festival was held from Dec 10 to Dec 24 in Haikou, capital city of Hainan.

Every weekend for a month, international artists, Grammy Awards winners and world-class orchestras gathered in the tropical city, where both classical and modern music were performed by musicians old and young alike. The concerts were held at the city's many natural and cultural landmarks, turning Haikou into a city where melodies strengthen its ties with the rest of the world.

"We seek to promote Hainan's cultural prosperity and build an international cultural exchange platform, in an effort to enhance the international caliber of the Hainan Free Trade Port and make Haikou a city of music," said renowned pianist Wan Jieni, who is also the artistic director of the Hainan Island International Music Festival.

Around 100 top musicians from all over the world, including Jaap van Zweden, current music director of both the New York and the Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestras, and one of the top conductors in the world, gathered to perform the opening concert held on Dec 10 at the Haikou Bay Performance Center. Van Zweden led the festival orchestra with Wan in a Ludwig van Beethoven-centric program: Egmont Overture, the Third Piano Concerto and the monumental Fifth Symphony.

Van Zweden said after the concert that he liked the encore piece very much, which is a work featuring Hainan elements, The Happy Woman Soldiers Suite from the ballet The Red Detachment of Women, and that he was quite moved by the audience's enthusiasm. He believed that the opening concert was a success. "I enjoyed my time in Hainan, particularly the natural scenery of Haikou. I look forward to coming back to the Hainan Island International Music Festival next time," the conductor said.

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