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Beijing Forest Music Festival to celebrate homegrown talent in 2012

By Jiang Yuxia (Global Times)

09:06, August 24, 2012

Despite some music festivals in the capital having a rough time this year due to cancellations, there's cause for excitement among classical music lovers ahead of the Beijing Forest Music Festival, which opens this Saturday in the northwest county of Yanqing.

Bearing the slogan "Sound of the Great Wall," the open-air venue will be staged near the scenic site of the Shuiguan Great Wall. The four-day festival, held over the following two weekends, consists of a series of concerts including symphonic, percussion and string music. Hosted inside the Great Wall Music Park near the Badaling section, the festival is expected to attract a 20,000-strong audience over its duration.

Embracing a wide repertoire ranging from Mozart, Strauss and Mendelssohn to a jazz concert titled "CD Blues," the festival is to be led by rising local orchestras including the Dunshan Symphonic Wind Orchestra, with performances also by soprano Wu Bixia, tenor Cheng Zhi and flautist Zhang Weiliang.

"Listening to classical music in an open space is a totally different experience from sitting in a concert hall dressed formally," said Zhang Yan, the festival's public relations officer.

Outdoor music festivals have grown in popularity in China over the last decade, but most are confined to the realms of rock or pop music attended predominantly by younger audiences. Zhang noted there's a big market for classical music in China, but the problem is a lot of concert halls prohibit children from attending concerts.

"What we're doing is promoting an event targeting the whole family, including the elderly and children. All can enjoy refined music in a natural environment," she said.

Now marking its third year, the festival aims to build itself into an influential platform like the Aspen Music and School Festival in the US. Besides performances, it also partners with top music academies in the country, hosting master classes and sessions for amateur music lovers to show their expertise. "The festival is more about popularizing classical music and that is why all the orchestras are homegrown and there aren't any foreign acts this year," said Zhang.

When: August 25-26, September 1-2

Where: Great Wall Music Park, Xiaozhangjia village, Yushu town, Yanqing county

Tickets: 380 yuan per day

Contact: 4006-228-228
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