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We lured it as we could or the sounds to call on the spring

«We lured it as we could or the sounds to call on the spring»


On January 6th during the concert in honor of the 25th anniversary of Ukrainian-Chinese diplomatic relationships lovers of classical music had an exceptional opportunity to enjoy the performance of a famous Chinese musician Dan Zhu. The concert "Spring Festival" introduced Ukrainian audience to the masterpieces of Chinese composers. In National Philharmonic of Ukraine the renowned Prokofiev Violin Concerto no.2 and the new Chinese violin concerto Yi by Guan Xia has been heard for the first time in Europe.

Dan Zhu is widely recognized as one of the finest Chinese musicians on the international stage today, praised as "an artist of affecting humility and beautiful tone production" by The Strad magazine, performing internationally in North America, Europe, and Asia. His recent triumphant performance with the Boston Symphony at the Tanglewood Festival has been raved by the critics as "truly brilliant, compelling, and polished". A native of Beijing, Zhu made his first public appearance at the age of nine, performing Mendelssohn's violin concerto with the China Youth Chamber Orchestra. At age twelve he entered the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where he studied with Xiao-zhi Huang. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with Tchaikovsky violin concerto at the age of eighteen.

We asked Dan Zhu - charming soloist and the most talented violinist of China to share his impressions about the event.


Question: You were in Ukraine first time and your music performance on big scene of Ukrainian National Philharmonic Hall. You played together with Kyiv National Orcestra of Ukraine the new Chinese violin concerto Yi by Guan Xia and Prokofiev Violin Concerto no.2. Tell me please about this experience and how you can estimate qualification of our musicians?

Answer: It was such a memorable experience for me to perform in Kiev for the first time, in celebration of China-Ukraine's 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations, also I understand that evening was the Christmas'eve for Ukrainian people, all these special occasions together made this concert even more unique and historical! I enjoyed every moments of my collaboration with the National Philharmonic of Ukraine from the first rehearsal we had together for this concert, the musicians of this orchestra demonstrated very high artistry and professionalism in their beautiful playing, I was also impressed by how well and quick they adopted the style of playing the Chinese pieces.  

Question: What was a reason for you to choose a profession of violinist?

Answer: Music is my language and the most convincing way to express my emotions, and violin is the media for me to share these expressions with the public.  

Question: Are you composing music by yourself?

Answer: I have written some music for the solo violin, including arranging encores and writing my own cadenzas for various concerti. I would like to do more compositions in the future. 

Question: How do you think, is knowing of music canons enough to compose music things or something more needed? Can I write something great if I know solfeggio and can play on some music instrument?

Answer: I always believe music is for everyone, whether you are a professional or amateurs, and if you have a melody or even a fragment of a tune in head, then write down. Music is not distant from us, it's at our heart and always around us.

Question: Kapellmeister getting a leader part in playing of orchestra together. As an lead soloist, do you usually  have any requirements to him? His skills can help you? Or, maybe, it can be a trouble for you if Kapellmeister is, unfortunately, nonprofessional?

Answer: When I play with orchestra, everyone involved on the stage is equally important, the conductor, concertmaster, and individual of each sections, all must be an unity when we play together. Of course the concertmaster is the leader of the orchestra, so he/she carries the responsibility to transmit the messages from the soloist and conductor to the rest of the orchestra members. It's important the soloist and concertmaster understands and agrees musically. 

Question: Chinese music culture is worldwide precious. We was hear beautiful compositions of Chinese masters here. Heating soul melodies touched my feeling as anyone who was there. Your solo one more time showed us that you're great music professional. Tell me, please, what kind of methods of musicality development used for Chinese citizens at basic education level? Do you have a music lessons at school?

Answer: Chinese people coming from a very musical background and history, we have strong and rich traditions of our own music from all over the country, different folk and ethnic cultures. For example the first piece I played at this concert, the elements and influence of this piece was coming from the Yi minority group mainly living in Yunnan province, based on their vocal and dance music. School offers music class, and many parents brings their children to private lessons to learn Chinese and Western musical instruments. 

Question: What music instruments are favourite in Chineses? On what instrument youths dreaming to play?

Answer: Piano and Violin are the favorites among the Western instruments, also Voice as well. Erhu is the first choice from Chinese instrument.

Question: I was thinking about listeners of different music genres. Its ok to criticize a rock, pop or any other music excepting classic. But when classic sounds, a person who listening it will not discuss composition at a bad key, whatever that person is great on music or outsider. Society thinks that do it - bad manners, anyone scares to look stupid, because a classic is, like an religion, untouchable. It is a vantage place for classic between other genres. How do you think, is it ok to offer a bad opinion about works of great composers of past ages? If not, please, let me know your point of view.

Answer: To me, there're good and bad music in all genres of music, classical, pop, rock, etc... even a great classical composer from the history also composed some second class pieces.

Question: If you could be born as great composer of past, who you will be and why?

Answer: It's difficult to imagine to be born in another figure, as I enjoy so much of playing great music from different composers all the time. When I am working on the piece of one composer, I could totally imagine myself going into his time and life. This week I'm performing Prokofiev, I could say it's him, next week Bach, Berg, Beethoven, etc... It's a luxury choice:)

Thank you for awesome interview! We hope that music cultures of our countries will meet together at one scene again and it will be as great as this time!

I wish you more and more professional advances, mr Dan Zhu.

Welcome to Ukraine again!

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Writen by  Irina Mikolaichyk

Photo by Salzburg Festspiele



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