Nottingham and China align in a concert to perform Holst's magnificent The Planets

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05 Nov 2018 15:07:13.420

Musicians from the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music in China are to join with the University of Nottingham’s Philharmonia and Choir for a week-long programme of events, which will culminate in a special gala public concert, to mark the end of their first ever UK tour.

Performing at Nottingham’s Albert Hall on Saturday 24 November at 7.30pm, the combined large-scale ensemble of choral and orchestral musicians, will open with Li Huanzhi’s Spring Festival Overture, often performed at Chinese New Year festivities;andRachmaninov’s The Bells, a choral symphony based on a Russian poem adapted from Edgar Alan Poe’s famous poem of the same name, marking the passage of life.

The concert will conclude with the complete suite from Holst’s awe-inspiring, tour-de-force The Planets. Gustav Holst’s seven-orchestral movement represents all the known planets of the solar system seen from Earth at the time, and the astrological character of each planet. The large-scale combined ensemble of orchestral musicians from the Zhejiang Conservatory and the University Philharmonia, will perform the powerful and haunting finale, bringing together Holst’s imaginative use of a large orchestra.

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Providing an additional dimension to the concert, a video show using astrological images and lighting is to be projected above the stage during the performance of The Planets. Created by digital artist Barret Hodgson of Vent Media — who has worked with Lakeside on a number of creative projects including the light projections onto Trent Building for Chinese New Year — the light show is sure to add an ‘other worldly’ dimension to the majestic closing performance.   

21 guest musicians from the Conservatory will take part in the week-long UK tour, which will see them deliver performances and special musical events in Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton.

The Zhejiang Conservatory of Music (ZJCM) — a publicly funded institution located in the south-west of Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province in east China  — offers a wide range of music and arts teaching for talented students from China and beyond. Programmes range widely from composition and conducting to music technology and dance performance, and ZJCM currently accommodates over 2,500 full-time students. The Conservatory is renowned as a premier music education provider committed to academic and artistic excellence. 

The appetite for the UK tour has grown from successful collaborations between the University of Nottingham and the Conservatory. In 2017, 10 music students and professional conductor Calum Fraser from the University, were warmly welcomed on a visit to the Zhejiang Conservatory and joined the ZJCM orchestra for a rehearsal of Edward Elgar’s Nimrod from Enigma Variations.

Building on the experience the students enjoyed during the visit to Zhejiang, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, the University’s Nottingham Confucius Institute, and the Asia Business Centre extended an invitation to students and professors from the Conservatory to visit the UK for a short tour, providing the opportunity for further engagement, enhancement and cultural exchange between Nottingham and China.

The Conservatory musicians packed itinerary for the week will include a concert at the University of Sheffield; an evening performance at the University of Nottingham’s Knowledge Exchange Awards; a civic performance at Nottingham’s City Hall, led by Sir John Peace as a symbolic start to a trade mission to Zhejiang later that day; a lunchtime concert in the University’s Recital Hall for the public and Confucius Institute schools; a rehearsal with the BBC Symphony Orchestra featuring cellist and Young Musician of the Year (2016) Sheku Kanneh-Mason at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall; and a concert at the University of Southampton.

The highlight of the visit and tour will be the public gala concert, bringing together this unique collaboration of musicians from China and Nottingham, which is expected to fill the 700 audience capacity Nottingham Albert Hall.

Tickets for the Albert Hall Concert on Saturday 24 November at 7.30pm are available to book online or by calling the Box Office at Nottingham Lakeside Arts on 0115 846 7777. Ticket prices are £15 (£13 concessions, £6 students).

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Notes to editors: 

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the 2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Tim Rushby, Head of Audience Development and Marketing, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, on +44 (0)115 846 7379,; or Dr Catherine Hocking, Head of Music Programmes, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, on +44 (0)115 951 3959

Liz Goodwin - Media Officer

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 95 15798 Location: University Park

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Published Date
Wednesday 22nd October 2014

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