In celebration of the Year of the Monkey, orchestras around the world held concerts featuring festive music from East and West. Tan Dun led the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in a performance of music inspired by the Silk Road on the sea, highlighting The Map alongside Wu’s Southern Music: Silk Road on Water, Smetana’s Má Vlast Vltava and Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes. The New York Philharmonic performed his Nu Shu – The Secret Songs of Women, and the San Francisco Symphony presented his Water Concerto.
“The Lunar New Year (Spring Festival) is tightly linked with nature and the life cycle,” says Tan Dun. “I think this appeals to Western and Eastern thinking, and on a philosophical level ‘Spring Celebrations’ around the world are successful.
“Ancient Chinese philosophy, whether that of Confucius or the I Ching, can be a universal language to all through artistic presentation. It is the responsibility of the Chinese people to spread this language throughout the world.
“Symphonies are a global platform. When I promote Chinese composition to the world, it is new, an unprecedented Eastern language in the West. By incorporating ‘visual music,’ which is growing quite a following among young music fans, Chinese culture can be established as an integral part of the future of world music, and China can be a trendsetter in the world scene, not just a follower.
“This year, we collaborated with Maestros from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in both New York and Australia. Next year, we will connect with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Opera House for visual, technological and organic art to further discover and share Lunar New Year stories. Will we see you there?”