East Meets West At The Beijing Music Festival

East Meets West At The Beijing Music Festival

Editors Choice

Dolly Bagnall

October 08, 2021

Long lauded as China’s most important cultural event, Beijing Music Festival (BMF) kicks off more than 20 in-person concerts and events tomorrow with select performances available to stream on their Facebook and YouTube pages. Founded in 1998, BMF has developed an enviable legacy that has enriched the capital’s cultural offerings; and throughout the past decade, the festival has firmly established its name and reputation on the international music scene. The Beijing Music Festival presents a broad array of musical genres including opera, symphonic, chamber, solo recitals, Chinese traditional, and contemporary.


BMF’s theme for its 24th edition is “Masters and Celebrations,” presenting the vast literature and the cutting-edge visions of classical music in the world while showcasing the meeting of East and West, old and new that BMF embodies each year. 


BMF’s events as a whole highlight China’s groundbreaking artistic voices who have created works and curated concerts for this festival, alongside traditional Western repertoire. October 11, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra commemorates Saint-Saëns while celebrating living Chinese composer Qigang Chen; and on October 14, the festival honors the 110th anniversary for both Gustav Mahler and Chinese composer Ding Shande.


BMF is committed to introducing 20th and 21st-century avant-garde music to China. The festival has made a great impact in the Chinese music industry presenting performances of Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder, George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, Richard Strauss’s Elektra, and more in previous festivals. 


This year also sees the introduction of two impressive theatrical works, the first of which is the much-anticipated Chinese premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress as a semi-staged production featuring young Chinese vocal artists in its cast on October 12. Then, on October 16 and 17, Songs of Nature features music by George Frideric Handel interspersed with short new pieces by contemporary Antwerp composer Wim Henderickx. The resulting music theater work – directed by BMF’s Artistic Director Shuang Zou – is performed by soprano Li Jingjing and six musicians from Shanghai Camerata. 


If you’re not able to make it to Beijing this month, you are in luck. The following evening performances will be available to stream for free on BMF’s Facebook and YouTube pages the evening following the performance at 19:30 ET:


October 10: “A Journey through Lands and Sounds: China Philharmonic Orchestra Performs Symphonic Concert of Guo Wenjing’s Music”

October 11: “Itinerary of an Illusion: Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra Commemorates Saint-Saëns and Celebrates Qigang Chen”

October 14: “The Songs of Life: 110th Anniversary Concert for Gustav Mahler and Ding Shande”

October 18: “A Breakthrough and A Retrospect: Novus-Classica Camerata Performs Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Bach”

October 24: “The 24th BMF Closing Gala A Premiere and A Memorial: Tan Dun Conducts China Philharmonic Orchestra in Conversation with Stravinsky”



  • John Borstlap says: