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23:04 Sep 27 2011

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Tibet Philharmonic Orchestra brings mysterious 'treasure' to Beijing (2)
09:33, April 21, 2010  

It took them 46 hours to get from Tibet to Beijing

All the orchestra members pay much attention to a concert scheduled for April 16 because it will be the orchestra’s first concert outside of Tibet. Two months ago, the orchestra launched “a rehearsal campaign” which lasted 6 hours per day. All of the performers even sometimes worked on Saturdays and Sundays. Long rehearsals pose serious challenges to wind instrument players as due to altitude, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has very thin air. Even some veteran performers who had lived in Tibet for a long time were tired. The performers from the Shannan Prefecture had to live in the offices of the orchestra as it takes 3 to 4 hours to drive from their hometowns to Lhasa. "Other performers had to commute between the orchestra rehearsal location and their homes. None of us complained," said Bianba.

Bianba also disclosed that there is a special mother-daughter pair in their orchestra: the mother plays violin while the daughter plays clarinet. The pair originally planned to come to Beijing together. However, the mother finally decided to withdraw because she had to stay home to take care of her grandchild.

The orchestra members arrived in Beijing 1 week before the start of the Second Symphonic Festival because they are aware that some of them may suffer ill effects from the higher oxygen levels in Beijing as opposed to Tibet. They boarded a train in Tibet on April 8 and arrived in Beijing on April 11 after a 46-hour journey. They began to dedicate much of their time to rehearsals the day after they arrived in Beijing despite of the fact that many of them felt a little sick.

Tibetan musical instruments' "secret treasure" will be put on display

The Tibet Philharmonic Orchestra will present a concert featuring regional and ethnic characteristics, and the symphony "Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon" will undoubtedly become the concert’s biggest highlight. The orchestra will use a series of traditional Tibetan musical instruments to perform the symphony, presenting the origin, spirit and today's new look of Tibet by adopting the ways symphonies are performed in western countries. At the press conference held on April 14, the orchestra's players showcased these unique "treasures" before the formal performance, including the Zhamunian musical instrument, Tongqin, Biwang musical instrument and Dama drum. The names of these instruments are very strange, and the sound from these instruments is also unique. Reporters who attended the press conference were regaled with these musical instruments aurally and visually. According to Bianba, most of the musical instruments are collected in the temples of the Tibetan Buddhism and among the ordinary people. Every instrument has a long history and many stories.


Works gained at the risk of life when collecting folk songs

Bianba also passionately talked about the behind-the-scene story related to the production of "Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon." To complete the symphony, Bianba, along with several composers, went to Ali many times to collect folk songs. "That place is oxygen-poor, and even local people cannot stand it. One day, our car got stuck in the sand, and there was no water and nobody came to our rescue. Because mobile phones were not attainable by everybody in Tibet in 2000, we had to stay there for an entire day. Later, with great effort, the car was pushed out of the sand. Now we feel afraid when we recall that experience," said Bianba. Their efforts were finally repaid with good results. After they went deeper into Tibetan regions to collect folk songs, the symphony is simple, natural and very Tibetan, just like the snow lotus blooming in Tibet.  

Apart from "Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon," "Sherpa Dance Music" is also a representative work. The dance music is inspired by the Sherpa ethnic group, who live in mountainous regions year in year out, and features tones and melodies that characterize that place, something that will bring a new aural and visual experience to the audience. The work that is full of Chinese characteristics will be the biggest highlight of the "Spring of Symphony," and the development of China’s symphonies will be promoted by advertising Chinese-made products, new products in particular. Apart from Tibet Philharmonic Orchestra, several other orchestras will make their debuts later and will play many beautiful Chinese symphonies for the audience.

In addition to the products created in Tibet, the orchestra will also play Dvorak's Symphony No. 9. "We chose that symphony because it is romantic which is in line with the personality of Tibetan people," said Bianba.  

According to sources, apart from the concert, the Tibet Philharmonic Orchestra will also present a brilliant indoor musical instrument performance at the National Center for Performing Arts'petal-shaped hall. Conductor Bianba will explain the performance on the spot so that more people will be able to understand Tibet and Tibetan symphony.

Source: China Tibet Information Center

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