Violinist plans love-themed concert for city

Ma Yue
A four-part recital in February draws on Huang Mengla's personal choices but also his audience's favorites.
Ma Yue

Violinist Huang Mengla will present a love-themed recital at Shanghai Oriental Art Center in February.

A Shanghai native, Huang graduated from Shanghai Conservatory of Music and London's Royal Academy of Music. In 2002, Huang gained international fame by winning the 49th Paganini International Violin Competition at the age of 22.

He has performed with many world-class orchestras such as the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Wiener Symphoniker, the Czech Philharmonic, the Bamberger Symphoniker, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and the NHK Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to a career as an international soloist, the 41-year-old teaches at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Ishikawa Music Academy in Japan.

Violinist plans love-themed concert for city
Ti Gong

Huang Mengla

His recital on February 27 will consist of four parts – Joy of Love, Tenderness of Love, Farewell of Love and Rebirth of Love.

Joy of Love features Prokofiev's "March" from symphonic suite "The Love for Three Oranges," as well as Stravinsky's "Divertimento."

Elgar's "Salut d'Amour" and Ysaÿe's "Child's Dream" will be performed in Part Two.

Part Three will start with Tan Dun's "Sorrow in Desert" from "Hero Sonata," which will be followed by Kreisler's "Liebeslied" and Sarasate's "Zigeunerweisen."

Huang will then play the famous "The Butterfly Lovers" in Part Four – Rebirth of Love.

Pianist Huang Qiuning will join the performance.

In recent communication with local media, Huang introduced his recital programs and shared his view on music education as a father.

Q: Did you choose the recital programs according to audiences' taste or your own preference?

A: These are more friendly programs for the audience compared with the sonatas I performed during this year's tour. But I wasn't totally led by audience taste. Instead, I want to lead them, but also present them with pieces that they want to hear from me.

I used to focus on how to make music melodic and tuneful. Now, I pay more attention to the structure and composer's intention. My feeling for music keeps changing, but what remains unchanged is my effort to introduce what I like to my audience.

Q: Are your students more attracted to pop music compared with serious classical music?

A: Of course they are, including my daughter. It's normal, because what make pop songs popular are their pleasing melody and tempo, which is friendly to most listeners.

But classical music requires a listener to make an active approach. Resonance happens only when a listener has collected adequate life experience.

Q: Then how do you teach classical music and cultivate an aesthetic sense for youngsters?

A: In my opinion, making children practice a musical instrument or listen to classical music is rudimentary education to give them another hobby or life choice.

When they grow up to a certain age, they will feel thankful for the musical education they received at a young age. Aesthetic sense is cultivated subliminally. Time will prove it.

Q: You have a 10-year-old daughter who also practices violin. Which do you think is more crucial for a music learner, talent or hard work?

A: I have never seen a good musician who depended only on talent or only on hard work. Talent is the flame, and hard work is the firewood. Firewood needs flame to start, and flame needs firewood to grow.

In this modern era, children are easily distracted by new entertainment choices. To maintain concentration is the biggest challenge for today's music learners.

Q: Have you ever considered becoming a conductor or a composer?

A: I can compose, but my composition won't be of great value. So why should I do it? I respect my profession, which is simple – to perform well and to teach well.

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