Legendary performer Yanni to play at Beijing Pop Festival
In 1997, Greek composer and performer, Yanni, was the first Western artist to perform at the historic Forbidden City in Beijing, which made him one of the most popular Western musicians among Chinese fans. Between 1997 and 2015, the Grammy-nominated musician launched five tours to China that have included visits to more cities, including Shanghai, Chengdu in Sichuan province and Guangzhou in Guangdong province. On Nov 9 and 10, Yanni will return to China with two performances at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing that will feature one of his most famous songs, Nightingale, which he wrote for China after that first concert in 1997.
Yanni's performances will be part of the upcoming annual Beijing International Pop Music Festival, which will be held in the capital from October to November.
Featuring live concerts, master classes and forums, the festival will gather together international acts including German piano duo Olha Chipak and Oleksiy Kushnir, Inner Mongolian rock band Hanggai, and Beijing-based folk band Xiaojuan and Residents From the Valley.
Jiang Tao, general manager of Chia Tai Music Group, the organizer of the festival, notes that the event was first launched in 2015 with six indoor concerts held in the capital.
From 2015 to 2018, the festival has hosted 35 groups from across the globe and has, so far, attracted a total audience of over 8 million both on the internet and at the festival's live venues.
"This year, we present the festival with the theme 'crossover'. We've confirmed four acts so far, but more will follow and will cover a diverse range of music genres," Jiang says in Beijing.
The eponymous lead vocalist of the band Xiaojuan and Residents From the Valley, is known for her soothing voice and original folk sounds. Founded 10 years ago by Xiaojuan and her husband, guitarist Li Qiang, the band performs in Beijing every spring on the day of Guyu, which literally translates as "grain rain", one of the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms.
"This year, we perform during autumn and the theme of our show will be to use music to portray a man's entire life, from his childhood to his twilight years," says Xiaojuan, adding that, as well as the four members of the band, a contemporary dancer and an electronic musician will join the group for the performance.
In 2018, about 24,000 indoor concerts were held around the country, an increase of more than 8.5 percent compared to the previous year, showcasing the booming market for live music performances, says Song Guanlin, deputy director of the China Association of Performing Arts.
Song adds that Chinese audiences have embraced a variety of music styles ever since the country started to produce its own original pop material during the early 1980s.
"We will also bring international musicians to campuses to host master classes and forums, providing the next generation with the latest information about, and developments in, the world of pop music," Song says.