Amazing, famed Yunnan folk song is played by int'l orchestra
“The rising moon shines brightly, and it reminds me of my love in the mountains. Like the moon, he walks in the sky…” This is an excerpt taken from The Stream Flows, a famed Yunnan folk song.
Whenever the band singer Tetyana plays the Yunnan tune with an exotic accent, the audience present would be impressed, especially the Yunnan locals.
The band is formed by expats active in Yunnan, and it’s the International Philharmonic Orchestra of KMCA (Kunming College of Arts).
The orchestra is good at singing and playing the violin and piano, as well as other musical instruments with pipes or strings. Its members come from Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan and others.
When we visited the KMCA rehearsal hall that day, members of the orchestra were rehearsing, and we were greeted by a beautiful symphony.
Founded in 2017, the International Philharmonic Orchestra of KMCA is committed to presenting the world music with Chinese and Yunnan elements.
They present international audience the Yunnan music created by local young composers, while bringing more authentic Western music into Yunnan. In this way, the band bridged musical exchange between China and the world.
Oleg, who used to be member of the Ukrainian National Philharmonic Orchestra, is now the deputy head of the Kunming international orchestra. “To be a member of the orchestra, you need to hand in an application, do a trial play and pass the assessment by a professional committee,” said Oleg.
At present, the orchestra has 60 members, all foreigners. Before joining the orchestra, they were experienced orchestra performers, excellent soloists or teachers at musical colleges.
On December 28, 2017, the new-year concert by KMCA International Philharmonic Orchestra was staged at the Yunnan Grand Theatre.
The orchestra played internationally classical music in 11 styles that night, winning widespread praise. The played pieces involve: Red Flag Canal, Morning Mood, The Nutcracker, On the Field of Hope and The Yellow River Piano Concerto.
“In 2016, I came to Kunming. Now my wife and children are with me, and I’ve settled here in Yunnan.” Oleg said with a smile.
Oleg first knew about Yunnan via the Internet. When he came to the Chinese province in person, Oleg was impressed by its ethnic customs, fresh air, pleasant climate, economic openness and social inclusiveness. All are impetus for his stay here.
Like other members of the orchestra, Oleg got through slight culture shock due to differences in language, customs and diet. But they managed to overcome it.
“What a musician needs is a place that is culturally diverse and inclusive for it allows them to focus on music,” said Oleg. “And by showing their best they aim to win big applauses from the audience.”
Therefore, the Kunming international orchestra gives them a sense of fulfillment.
Because of Yunnan's openness and its unique customs and sights, the musicians chose to bring their families and settle here. As time goes by, the fall in love with Yunnan spicy dishes like locals.
Up to now, the orchestra has staged 70 performances home and abroad. And by putting together symphony and Yunnan folk music, they can always make a difference on varied occasions: art festivals, conferences, art exhibitions or fashion shows.
“Yunnan ethnic music sounds thick, original and unique,” said the orchestra members.
Oleg said that Yunnan is a multi-ethnic province with 25 distinctive ethnic minorities. In the future, they will put more Yunnan elements into their music or re-create tunes for Yunnan folk songs.
“Via re-creation with western style, we hope to better present Yunnan music to the world, while telling stories of the beautiful province,” he said.
By Li Hengqiang; translating by Wang Shixue