Wang Xilin's Symphony No.9 "Requiem for War of Chinese People's Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascism War" 王西麟 第九交响曲 “抗日战争安魂曲”


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    • Wang Xilin
    • 王西麟

National Centre of the Performing Arts of China 中国国家大剧院

Κυριακή, 13 Δεκ 2015, 7:00μ.μ.

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China National Symphony Orchestra


Symphony No.9 "Requiem for War of Chinese People's Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascism War"


Wang Xilin(1936-)is a Chinese national-level composer. He was born in Kaifeng, Henan, but his family was originally based in Jishan, Shanxi. Wang spent his childhood in Gansu, a poor and underdeveloped region in northern China. There he went to a missionary school for his primary education. Wang’s father died early. Since his family was poor, he joined the performing troupe of the People’s Liberation Army’s Eleventh Division in September, 1949. In 1955, he was sent to the Vocational School of Military Band Conducting, which belonged to the Central Military Commission of China, and later he graduated from the Normal School affiliated to the Vocational School of Military Band Conducting in Shanghai. In 1957, he entered the composition department of the Shanghai Conservatory. There his teacher included Liu Zhuang, Chen Mingzhi, Ding Shande and Qu Wei. In 1962, he graduated from the Conservatory with the first movement of his Symphony No.1 (Op.2) as a graduation project. He then was assigned the position of resident composer at the Beijing Central Broadcasting Orchestra. Soon he finished the rest two movements of Symphony No.1. In 1963, he composed Yunnan Tone Poem (Op.3), an orchestral suite that won the top prize of China’s Symphony Composition Competition 18 years later. In 1963, he was encouraged by the government to make suggestions, so he gave an almost two hour long speech in a public meeting, in which he criticized the government’s cultural policy. It led to a reprimand, followed by an exile to Shanxi for 14 years. From 1964 to 1970, he was a menial in the Yanbei Art Troupe in Datong, Shanxi, and during the Cultural Revolution, he was criticized publicly in struggle sessions, tortured, thrown into jail, and subject to brutal questioning. From 1971 to 1977, he was appointed as the conductor of Jindognan Troupe in Changzhi, Shanxi. It was in Changzhi that he researched the area’s local music, and composed Shajiabang, a symphonic work in the style of Shangdang Bangzi.
Wang was brought back to Beijing in 1978 after the Cultural Revolution. At the time, Wang Xilin was 42 years old. Only then had he the opportunity to encounter contemporary composition techniques of some influential Western composers such as Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Penderecki, to name a few, whose music was banned in the PRC from 1949 to 1976. From then on, Wang Xilin taught himself many contemporary composing techniques such as serialism, minimalism and cluster. He applied these modern techniques as well as elements of Chinese regional operas to his own music. Consequently, his aesthetics and musical language went through enormous development, and he composed several dramatic, tragic, deep and emotional symphonic works, which were full of conflicts. His music is considered to be embodying the vicissitudes and tragedies of China’s contemporary history. He becomes the most unique and significant composer in China. However, in November 2000, Wang Xilin was invited to talk at the first rehearsal of his Symphony No.4. He said that “The twentieth century is now gone. The biggest thing in the twentieth century is that Communism was pursued hard at first, and abandoned ruthlessly in the end. “This statement irritated the government and the concert was canceled.
Wang’s oeuvres has included over 60 compositions with opus numbers, including eight symphonies, three concertos for the piano, violin, and voice respectively, and various orchestral and chamber works. In addition, he has also composed more than 40 pieces of TV and movie music, which are without opus numbers. He has published some articles about music as well. In recent years, Wang’s music has been performed many times in Europe. Wang’s “Torch Festival,” the last movement of Yunnan Tone Poem (Op.3) is the most representative Chinese works, and it has been played in about 40 cities of 20 countries. In the PRC, there has been seven concerts dedicated solely to his works, and he has won the National Composition Prizes for three times. Both Penderecki and Gubaidulina spoke highly of his music. In 2010, his piano concerto, commissioned by the Tenth Switzerland Culureseapes International Arts Festival, was premiered in Switzerland, and it was a big success. He has an entry in the volume 17 of Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (2007), and in 2014, Schott Music contracted with him to publish his works.


No.2 West Chang'an Avenue, Xicheng District, Beijing, P. R. China

Posted by Chin Cheung