Tibetan music on track

13:11, April 19, 2010      

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Musicians of the Tibet Philharmonic Orchestra play traditional Tibetan instruments at the concert held at the National Center for the Performing Arts. Gan Yuan for China Daily

The Tibet Philharmonic Orchestra has antiquated instruments and problems rehearsing but nevertheless gave a standout performance at the ongoing Spring of Symphony Festival. Chen Jie reports

Classical music is booming in China and even Tibet has a symphony orchestra to be proud of - as shown by the standing ovation it received Friday night at the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA).

Under the baton of its principal conductor, Penpa, the Tibet Philharmonic Orchestra (TPO) performed a program of Western pieces and symphonic works composed by Tibetans.

The concert started with Festival Waltz, not Strauss' version but a festival celebration piece by Tenzin Penuo. Then the concertmaster, Champa Tashi, played the violin concerto Butterfly Lovers - scored by Chinese composers Chen Gang and He Zhanhao - and though not a master of the piece the 57-year-old's performance deserved the applause it received.

The first half ended with the third movement of The Canyon of Yarlung Zangbo, composed by Penpa. In 2000, Penpa and two other Tibetan composers created the 40-minute symphony to portray people's lives on the Tibetan Plateau.

For the third movement, Penpa uses Tibetan instruments such as the 4-meter-long tongqin (ritual horns) and dama drums, both used in rituals at Potala Palace, the biwan (a two-stringed fiddle made of ox horn and popular in Kham areas) and zhanian, the Tibetan six-stringed zither.

After the break, they played Dvorak's Symphony No 9 From The New World.

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