Beijing Irish Festival, a huge success.
The Beijing Irish Festival concluded yesterday with a concert of modern music – the result of a collaboration between Irish and Chinese musicians and composers – at the Central Conservatory of Music.
This brought to an end two weeks of Irish cultural activities, spanning 17 different events, which covered traditional, classical and modern music, visual arts, literature, academic exchanges, children’s activities and Irish dance. All of the events were very well attended – the opening Irish Connections concert attracted a capacity crowd of 1400, and reached tens of thousands more through publicity for and coverage of the event (the event was publicised, inter alia, on the TV screens on Beijing buses).
The festival this year had a particular focus on developing collaboration between Irish and Chinese artists. This included, for example, a piece performed jointly by the Royal Irish Academy of Music Chamber Ensemble and musicians from the China Conservatory; leading Irish modern music composers working together with composers from the Central Conservatory in Beijing to develop new music; joint exhibitions of Irish and Chinese contemporary art; and an Irish language corner which brought together local Irish and Chinese traditional musicians. The Festival also involved collaboration with a wide range of prestigious Chinese cultural institutions, such as the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing Dance Academy, the Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing Foreign Studies University, the Bookworm, various art galleries and the city’s two music conservatories. The Irish Connections concert also represented the first significant Irish cultural event which was jointly supported by the Hong Kong SAR Government, and which involved Irish and Chinese artists from both Hong Kong and Shanghai performing in Beijing.