Swiss musicians tune up on Sijing visit
Students and teachers from the Geneva University of Music in Switzerland visited Sijing Old Town recently and learned from its musicians Jiangnan sizhu (string and wind music) and Songjiang ancient music.
As officials in Sijing Old Town strive to preserve and promote its intangible culture heritage, a batch of heritage items represented by the national-level Sijing drum and gong music are becoming known to people outside the town.
The Sijing drum and gong music stands for traditional Shanghai music and its musicians have been receiving international music experts and scholars since 2017.
Recommended by teachers from Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Shanghai Normal University Music School, musicians from the Geneva University of Music came to Sijing for a study exchange in mid-September.
The music conservatory, renowned in Europe and which once had Franz Liszt as one of its faculty members, was founded in 1835.
The foreign delegation listened to Sijing drum and gong music, Songjiang traditional religious music and Songjiang ancient music at the Sijing Intangible Culture Heritage Teaching and Learning Base.
The pieces of music, reflecting the evolution of Songjiang’s folk customs and renovation by generations of local musicians, won applause from the group of foreign students and teachers.
They in turn played traditional Chinese music and exchanged their understandings about music with local musicians, though the two sides spoke different languages.
“I visited Sijing two years ago and I’m quite fond of the Jiangnan sizhu performance. The musicians create a vivid atmosphere which I am eager to usher my students into. The Jiangnan sizhu performances are peaceful and relaxing. We enjoy music from those instruments,” said Xavier Bouvier, the Geneva University of Music’s deputy director.
Afterward, students and teachers also watched a Songjiang shadow puppet performance, visited Sijing ancient buildings and tasted tea and delicacies to experience the charm of Sijing’s Jiangnan culture.