Chinese Buddhist symphony welcomed by Malaysian audience

Xinhua News, May 10, 2007

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- China's first Buddhist symphony, "Chinese Harmonious Music", resounded Wednesday night here, drawing thunderous applause from the Malaysian audience.

Some 1,500 audience, including both Buddhists and people of other religious beliefs, gathered at the Wisma PGRM complex in the Malaysian capital for the grand concert, presented by a Chinese delegation comprising more than 160 performers.

The 80-minute symphony is a perfect combination of Western orchestra symphony and traditional Chinese Buddhist music. Themed "harmonious society begins in the mind," it is a ritual music masterpiece dedicated to the world by China, a country advocating harmony both at home and abroad.

"The Chinese Harmonious Music now arrives in Malaysia, carrying the friendship of the Chinese people and our best wishes for the world peace," said Jiang Jianyong, Vice President of the China Religious Culture Communication Association (CRCCA).

Jiang, head of the Chinese performance delegation, said he believes the close ties and exchanges between Buddhist organizations of the two countries will further contribute to the friendly relations between China and Malaysia.

Malaysian Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Tan Chai Ho, in his speech, gave a big welcome to the Chinese performers.

Tan described the symphony concert as a "very meaningful" and " generous" gift, which was jointly presented by Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, Chorus of China National Opera House and the Sangha Chorus of Shenzhen Hongfa Monastery.

The "Chinese Harmonious Music" is a big musical work of symphony consisting of chorus, vocal solos and orchestra. Traditional Chinese musical instruments find their place in the symphony and it also has a strong line-up, with Yu Feng as conductor and Tang Jianping as composer.

When the finale titled "the Lotus Radiance" came to an end, audience rose to clasp their hands. For minutes, the concert hall was echoing with several rounds of applause. Performers on stage, in return, played one more piece to reciprocate the warmth and appreciation of the audience.

A Malaysian businessman surnamed Tan, who came for the concert together with his wife, said he was deeply touched by the Buddhist symphony, a musical form which he heard for the first time.

"I am a pious Buddhist. It is really worthwhile to spend the night enjoying the concert," the some-thirty-year old Tan told Xinhua after the performance.

Marappan Raman, a Malaysian man of Indian origin, also lauded the concert, saying it was "very healthy."

The "Chinese Harmonious Music" made its debut last year in the First World Buddhism Forum held in China. As it has been well received by the public, the CRCCA then decided to stage it outside China's mainland.

Malaysia is the second stop during its May tour, which also brought the music to Singapore. The unique Buddhist symphony will also be played in Indonesia and Hong Kong of China.