After nine rigorous, yet creative days packed with orchestra and chamber music rehearsals, masterclasses, workshops, and more, the third annual Youth Music Culture Guangdong (YMCG) drew to a victorious close on January 19 with a six-hour marathon concert “From Brahms and Sibelius to the Unexpected.” The young musicians performed original arrangements and 16 chamber and symphonic works culminating in Brahms’s Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor with YMCG Artistic Director Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Johnny Gandelsman in the spotlight and Sibelius’s illustrious Symphony No. 5 in E-flat Major, both under the baton of YMCG Music Director Michael Stern.
Yo-Yo Ma describes the marathon concert as, “an opportunity to share through performances everything we – the faculty and the young musicians – have taught each other over nine days together.” He is quick to add surprises are always added to the final program because “we don’t know what we might discover together.”
Public events – which last year attracted more than 5,000 audience members – included two masterclasses led by Yo-Yo Ma and other faculty members, an Arts Management Workshop hosted by Lisa Porter, an Art Education Series hosted by Tina Blythe including Chamber Salons, and an open rehearsal prior to the final concert.
YMCG’s star-studded leadership includes Long Yu – who is also Music Director of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and China Philharmonic Orchestra, and Founder of the Beijing Music Festival – as Chairman of the Artistic Committee, Yo-Yo Ma as Artistic Director, and Michael Stern as Music Director. YMCG invited 14 top artists and scholars to join the 2019 faculty included Mike Block, Johnny Gandelsman, Tina Blythe, and members of the Silkroad ensemble. YMCG Founding Partner from 2017 and 2018, Volkswagen Group China's AEP-China, continued to support this year's project. It was presented by the Guangdong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and hosted by Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and Xinghai Concert Hall.
Open to young musicians of Chinese descent from around the globe under the age of 35, YMCG is nine days of exploration, conversation, and performance, dedicated to the creation of creative and flexible musicians, who think actively about why their music is needed and how to serve that need. In total, more than 200 sessions are held each year. For the 2019 edition, 72 young musicians and 5 fellows were selected from more than 20 cities in 13 countries and regions including Hong Kong, the United States, France, Singapore, Hungary, Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Czech Republic. YMCG is distinguished by its open-mindedness and daring innovation. Musicians from all over the world transcend cultural and racial barriers, their collaboration resulting in many sparks of experience and appreciation.