Deutsche Grammophon Launches 120th-anniversary Celebrations With Historic Cross-cultural Concert at Beijing’s Forbidden City
Beijing, Wednesday October 10, 2018: Universal Music Group’s Deutsche Grammophon launched its 120th-anniversary celebrations (DG120) in impressive style today, hosting a triumphant gala concert at Beijing’s Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Globally renowned performers shared the power and beauty of classical music at this exceptional event, presented before the Imperial Ancestral Temple, or Taimiao, for an audience of 1,200 specially invited Chinese and international dignitaries. Maestro Long Yu and Daniil Trifonov led a multi-national cultural collaboration of Deutsche Grammophon artists in the most prominent high-profile live classical event for over three decades.
The DG120 gala concert marked the beginning of Deutsche Grammophon’s year-long series of global events, new releases and revelatory exploration of its historic archives. It reached a vast global following via simultaneous live streams in YouTube’s 360-degree virtual reality and regular formats. China’s leading internet technology company and music streaming service NetEase Cloud Music is offering a delayed live stream starting tomorrow, Thursday October 11, 2018. TV viewers in China can catch up on Sunday October 14, when SMG’s Art and Culture Channel broadcasts the full concert during prime time (7pm and 11pm China Standard Time). Television and cinema sales for the event will be co-produced by C Major Entertainment, worldwide operators in the marketing and distribution of music programmes. Broadcasts and cinecasts are scheduled in the next few weeks and months across the globe, in countries including Austria, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and Latin America.
“The gala concert was unforgettable,” commented Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “The concert’s historic nature was enhanced by its iconic setting in front of the Imperial Ancestral Temple and the walls of the Forbidden City. Those exquisite buildings echoed to the magnificent sounds of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Singakademie and an international cast of soloists under the direction of Maestro Long Yu, the first Chinese conductor ever to perform there.”
He continued: “We wanted to make a bold statement about the Yellow Label’s sense of tradition, its truly international mindset and its vision for the future of classical music, a vision that recognises the appetite for cultural collaboration and for sharing the art form in China, Southeast Asia and globally. Our partners and lead sponsors helped bring an important and truly creative concept to life and we thank them. I cannot imagine a more auspicious launch for our DG120 programme or a better way to inspire new listeners.”
DG’s anniversary concert was the first to be held at Taimiao since Zubin Mehta led a production of Puccini’s Turandot there twenty years ago, an event whose worldwide significance contributed to the 2008 Olympics being awarded to Beijing. Today’s concert and its pioneering online broadcasts set social media channels alight with enthusiasm, the collaborative event looks set to have a similarly global impact as Chinese artists expand their reach and share their creativity with the rest of the world.
Audiences were left spellbound by Daniil Trifonov’s performance of Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. The virtuoso Russian pianist, a leading member of Deutsche Grammophon’s younger generation of artists and part of the evening’s multinational cast of musicians, was accompanied by Long Yu and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.
Maestro Yu and his orchestra delivered an intensely dramatic interpretation of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, created in partnership with the mixed adult voices of the Wiener Singakademie, the Shanghai Spring Children’s Choir, and soloists Aida Garifullina, Toby Spence and Ludovic Tézier, hailing from Russia, the UK and France respectively. The programme opened with a special arrangement for strings of Liu Tianhua’s Enchanted Night and unfolded with “November” from Memoryhouse – a seminal work of neoclassical composition by the world’s leading contemporary composer, Max Richter – performed by Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.
Kuke Music, title sponsor for the DG120 Forbidden City concert, now in its second decade operating in the field of classical music and education services, is set to broaden its commitment to classical music in China “All the hard work and planning were rewarded today with a sensational concert,” observed the website’s founder and President, Yu He. “We share Deutsche Grammophon’s determination to build the next generation of classical music fans in China and to share this amazing art form with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.”
Internationally renowned pianist Lang Lang sent his congratulations: “As my label celebrates its birthday in my native country, I wish them great success. And I look forward to joining the anniversary festival at DG’s headquarters in Berlin alongside Anne-Sophie Mutter in a month.”
Mr Zhu Yiwen, CEO of NetEase Cloud Music, the exclusive online video streaming partner in China for the DG120 gala concert, comments: “NetEase Cloud Music is wholly dedicated to the promotion of high-quality digital music. We are honoured to collaborate with Universal Music Group’s prestigious classical label Deutsche Grammophon on this very special occasion and to enable such a distinguished global classical music event to be shared with audiences in China via our online video streaming service. We are also delighted to have the opportunity to continue promoting classical music education and expanding the development of digital music in the Chinese market.”
Sunny Chang, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group Greater China, praised the teams involved in DG120’s inaugural event: “This breath-taking concert grew out of international collaboration and co-operation,” he observed. “It delivered a clear message of what can be achieved when people work together across cultures to realise a shared vision. Deutsche Grammophon’s decision to launch its anniversary year in Beijing underlines its commitment to further develop classical music in China and throughout Southeast Asia, where there is already a large and enthusiastic young audience. Today, hundreds of thousands of fans were able to experience a wonderfully rich and diverse programme. These important relationships will serve as a gateway to introduce even more Chinese classical artists to a new generation of global fans.”
Deutsche Grammophon’s Taimiao concert marked the beginning of an unprecedented and strikingly ambitious international programme of activities designed to raise awareness of the Yellow Label’s rich legacy, present innovations and future aspirations. The year-long DG120 anniversary programme, presented with global support from Google Arts & Culture and Volkswagen Group, offers everything from newly digitised rare archive recordings (The Shellac Project) and new albums to high-profile performances, international Yellow Lounge classical club nights and extensive online coverage. Tonight’s gala event, organised by Beijing Mingxun Communications Consultants Co., Ltd, was presented with title sponsor Chinese digital platform Kuke Music and in partnership with the luxury watch and jewellery brand Chopard.
Caroline Scheufele, Artistic Director and Co-President of Chopard said it was an honour to work in partnership with DG120. The Swiss luxury watch and jewellery Maison, she noted, shares Deutsche Grammophon’s commitment to the highest standards of beauty in art. “Those qualities were seen and heard at their best at today’s concert, which brought together the power of great music-making, the presence of great architecture, and the thrill of being part of a global event, something not just extraordinary but also life-enhancing. What a glorious start to Deutsche Grammophon’s anniversary year! Chopard has always been supporting arts and classical music as we share the same values of passion, excellence and creation of emotions.”