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Wang Xilin: German Premiere of Symphony No. 5

Mid-July 2016 sees the first German-Chinese Classical Music Festival in the south-Hessian town of Langen. From 12 to 17 July 2016, the festival offers music from a variety of eras, styles and themes, including programmes entitled “from Taoism to Bach”, “from Bach to the Great Wall”, “Orient meet Occident”, and “Music of Mourning Strings”.

A special highlight of the festival will be the final concert, featuring the German premiere of Chinese composer Wang Xilin’s Symphony No. 5 with the festival orchestra conducted by Muhai Tang. The Symphony for 22 solo strings was written between 2001 and 2006 and was its world premiere in 2006 by the Beijing Symphony Orchestra at the Chinese capital. In the concert at Langen, it is presented alongside Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings and Franz Schubert’s Rondino for violin and strings.

Wang Xilin is one of the most significant composers in China, distinct for his expressive and dramatic musical language and his subversive politics. Wang was born in Kaifeng in Henan Province of China. In 1957, he was admitted to the department of composing and conducting of Shanghai Conservatory of Music where he studied with Liu Zhuang, Chen Mingzhi, Ding Shande and Qu Wei. Wang composed his Symphony No. 1 as his graduation work in 1962. This was followed by an appointment as Composer in Residence with the Beijing Central Radio Symphony Orchestra. Wang’s 1963 symphonic suite Yunnan Tone Poem was later awarded the highest prize given by Chinese government. Wang’s extensive oeuvre comprises eight symphonies, numerous concertos, symphonic suites, overtures, and music for film, as well as a body of chamber and vocal works.