BEIJING — On a bone-chilling night in the Chinese capital, a giant Communist red star chandelier glistened amid the galaxy of ceiling lights as thousands of people filed into the main auditorium of the Great Hall of the People. But this was not your typical gathering in the colossal building on the western edge of Tiananmen Square. There were no solemn-faced bureaucrats in dark suits, no reports on economic growth targets to be delivered.
Instead, for more than two hours, China’s main legislative chamber reverberated on Saturday with the sounds of violins, electric bass, French horns and drums for a rare event: a joint concert by a group of the country’s leading classical and popular musicians.
“There is sort of an invisible rule in China that rock musicians cannot perform in big concert halls or opera houses,” said Tan Dun, the Oscar-winning composer of the score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and de facto star of the concert. For the performance, Mr. Tan, 58, wrote, rearranged and conducted symphonic accompaniments to songs by three top headliners: the punk band Reflector, the Mongolian folk-rock group Hanggai and the folk singer-songwriter Song Dongye.