YMCG - Youth Music Culture Guangdong

The Inaugural Youth Music Culture Guangdong (YMCG), led by artistic director Yo-yo Ma and Maestro Yu Long and held in January 2017 in Guangzhou, was a huge success!

  • 3 months ago

The inaugural Youth Music Culture Guangdong (YMCG), a collaboration by artistic director Yo-yo Ma and Maestro Yu Long, was held in January 2017 in Guang Zhou, China. Eighty Young budding musicians between the ages of 18-35 from China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan joined the two-week program which included a final concert, two nights of chamber performances, and touring Taiwan and Hong Kong with faculty members from the Silk Road Ensemble to end off the event. The orchestra is led by conductor Michael Stern of the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra and hosted by the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra.

Apart from learning the usual classical repertoire which includes Beethoven's 8th Symphony, Stravinsky's Firebird, Dvorak's Cello Concerto (with Yo-yo Ma as the soloist) and Ravel's Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, participants also had a great time learning free improvisation from the masters from the Silk Road Ensemble such as Mike Block, Johnny Gandelsman and Wu Tong. Also, to prepare for the chamber concerts, the participants were separated into smaller groups to work on pieces such as the Beethoven Septet, Debussy's Sonata for Flute, Harp and Viola and Brahms's Horn Trio.

Nightly talks were held for participants and the public, hosted by Yo-yo Ma and Michael Stern with the help of the Silk Road Ensemble faculty, to discuss topics outside of the usual musical knowledge and touching on issues such as music and its implications to society and also daily issues musicians might encounter such as performance anxiety and stress.

The orchestra toured and performed in Taipei and Hong Kong to a well-receiving audience and had a mixed program of all the music covered during the two weeks. Selections from the symphony orchestra concert and chamber concerts were chosen to bring a well rounded program highlighting what the participants had learnt and had achieved in the short period of time.

It was a tremendous journey with months of planning involving a huge administrative team led by YMCG Secretary-general, Jing Huan (resident conductor of Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra). The event would not have been possible without Yo-yo Ma and Yu Long's vision of a better music culture for the young generation of musicians of our time. Kudos to everyone involved and we hope to reach out to more youths next year in the second instalment of YMCG.

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