Chinese New Year culminates with spectacular Lantern Festival Concert

February 23, 2024 - Friday

Chinese Lantern Festival Concert at Spazju Kreattiv.

Chinese Lantern Festival Concert at Spazju Kreattiv.

On Wednesday, February 21, the China Cultural Centre in Malta concluded the Chinese New Year 2024 celebrations with the Chinese Lantern Festival Concert at Spazju Kreattiv. The concert was presented by six musicians who form part of the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra, a major Chinese national orchestra established in Beijing in 1949.

The Chinese and Maltese audience enjoyed a captivating repertoire of traditional Chinese folk music that saw the employment of several traditional Chinese musical instruments including: string instruments – Pipa, Zhongruan, Yueqin, and Jinghu; wind instruments – Suona, Sheng, and Hulusi; and percussion.

Combining a selection of musical compositions, scores, arrangements and ancient music, the programme showcased an indelible variety of fascinating melodies. The high-level prowess of each musician was clearly evident in their skillful and professional performance. The full potential of each musical instrument was utilised to create not only music but also various ethereal sounds, such as the neighing and hooves’ beats of horses in the composition ‘Horse Racing’, and the anxiety, fear and aggression in ‘Ambush from Ten Sides’. Notably, some of the musicians were playing more than one instrument in the same composition. It was also fascinating to hear the adaptation of the Maltese song ‘Il-Festa’ played by the traditional Chinese instruments.

The participating musicians Jiang Kemei, Feng Chaohong, Cui Junmiao, Sui Pingping, and Ma Li are all National Class One Performers, and they have performed extensively both in China and abroad. The youngest musician, Zhang Weiqi, has won prestigious awards in a number of distinguished musical competitions and she has performed in prominent Chinese orchestras.

Jiang Kemei is an Honoured Principal of the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra. She is one of the very few artists who can master all five instruments in the Huqin Family dating back over 3000 years, including the Erhu, Banhu, Jinghu, Gaohu and Zhongdu. Feng Chaohong is a famous pipa virtuoso. She is currently a pipa musician and soloist of the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra. Cui Junmiao is a popular liuqin and zhongruan virtuoso, and is currently the Liuqin Principal and soloist of the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra. Sui Pingping is a well-known suona and sheng virtuoso, and a representative inheritor of China’s intangible cultural heritage “Sui’s Suona”. She is presently a soloist of the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra. Sui has dedicated herself to inheriting intangible cultural heritage, teaching and promoting Chinese wind instruments, and training talented young musicians. Ma Li is a well-known percussionist, and is currently the Percussion Principal of the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra. Zhang Weiqi is a young pipa virtuoso who has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree by the Department of Folk Music of the Central Conservatory of Music.

Peng Yijun, chargé d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Malta, commended the China Cultural Centre in Malta for organising this event. “In the past year, many Chinese professional musical troupes have visited Malta and performed here. This gives a good opportunity for local people to understand more the Chinese civilisation and long cultural history,” he said.

Mary Anne Gauci from Art Council Malta said that: “The Chinese Lantern Festival has become a popular attraction in Malta, merging the creative dialogue of our two different cultures and two ancient civilisations. As a nation, we see China as a beautiful country, its people welcoming, creative, cultured and entreprenurial. It is no coincidence that in the past half-a-century, we have stood by each other. The China Cultural Centre in Malta is truly a catalyst to strengthen the strong ties between our countries, not least within the arts and cultural sectors.”

Yuan Yuan, Director of the China Cultural Centre in Malta, was very pleased to see the increasing interest of the Maltese people to participate in local Chinese cultural events. She said that “It is a joy to welcome the Chinese New Year with such a wonderful concert. I look forward to many other events this year to share the history, art and culture of the Chinese civilisation.”