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Special performance creates unique opportunity for students from Southampton and China

Published: 11 December 2018
Zhejiang concert
Students from the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music performed with Southampton students.

Students and professors from China’s Zhejiang Conservatory of Music have performed at the University of Southampton for the first time, sharing their culture and showcasing their musical talents.

The programme of traditional folk songs and contemporary music by Chinese composers featured string and wind quartets from Zhejiang before students from Southampton’s Music Department joined a larger ensemble to create a combined string orchestra which performed two further Chinese compositions.

The performance, held in the Turner Sims Concert Hall, was followed by a workshop involving student musicians from both institutions led by Robin Browning, Southampton’s Specialist Teacher for Conducting in Music.

“It is a great pleasure and honour to welcome the delegation from the Zhejiang Conservatory to our campus,” said Professor Francesco Izzo, the University of Southampton’s Head of Music. “It’s so wonderful when we have the opportunity to host and present such talented performers to our university community but it’s even more special when students from such different backgrounds and environments have the opportunity to perform and learn together. We hope that this will prove to be a memorable experience for us all.”

The Zhejiang Conservatory, sitting in the heart of the city of Hangzhou, boasts to become the largest conservatoire in the world with a capacity of up to 5,000 full-time students based on a futuristic campus where each building takes the shape of a musical instrument.

For many of the Zhejiang students, the visit is their first to the UK and Southampton and an important return to the UK for professors from the Conservatory.

Zhejiang student cellist, Dekai Liu, said that one of the purposes of the performance is to encourage audiences to “feel the happiness of the music. We played songs from Inner Mongolia to the Northwest of China – the country is so big but we wanted to bring a flavour of traditional folk music to represent the whole of China.  

“Coming to the UK has been an eye-opening experience,” he continued. “The UK is considered the best place for classical music on a number of levels to being here to have this opportunity, to talk to students and staff at the University and to learn from their point of view here in the UK is very special.”

Violinist Shi Shuai, one of the professors accompanying the students from Zheijang who performed in Southampton as part of a string quartet, welcomed the opportunity to return to the UK where she has previously performed and studied. Shi hoped the audience would be able to “see the Chinese countryside as we played a number of traditional songs from our country.”

Shi added that for her students, the opportunity to perform and visit in the UK would give them a transformational experience and provide a new outlook on their music.

This special event was made possible by the Confucius Institute Southampton in association with the University Music Department and Turner Sims Southampton. Music at Southampton is among the largest and liveliest music departments in the UK. The department’s innovative and eclectic curriculum and diverse and vibrant community create a flourishing environment for studies in performance, composition and musical studies of all kinds.

 

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Robin Browning, Southampton’s Specialist Teacher for Conducting in Music, led a joint Zhejiang-Southamptonworkshop involving student musicians from both institutions.
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This special event was made possible by the Confucius Institute Southampton in association with the University Music Department and Turner Sims Southampton.
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The programme of traditional folk songs and contemporary music by Chinese composers featured string and wind quartets from Zhejiang.

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