Frederic Franciszek Chopin never visited China during his short yet productive life. He may never have imagined his work would now be played so often and loudly 200 years after his birth in the faraway nation in the East. Interesting ties between China and the composer who is the pride of Poland will be on show this year.
On January 7, Chinese pianist Lang Lang opened a year of Chopin celebrations in Warsaw. On May 22, a total of 100 pianists will play Chopin's work on 100 synchronized pianos in the Poland Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010. On August 29, all together one Polish and 99 Chinese children will present a musical spectacle for 100 pianos in Warsaw entitled Chopin Lives. On September 4, the concert 4Cities4Chopin will be organized simultaneously in Shanghai, Warsaw, Paris and London. During the year, 14 world-renowned pianists will play 15 concerts consisting solely of Chopin's music at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.
Obviously, behind the celebration is Chinese music lovers' affection for Chopin. His music transformed folk sources from Poland into truly international art. His works, deeply rooted in the soul and tradition of his country, crossed national boundaries and became universal expressions of sorrow, passion and patriotism for generations of people all over the world. His music, its incredible power inspired by war and exile, still inspires those who have lost their homeland and faith. For those who share similar suffering, Chopin's music has special meaning. The Chinese people cannot resist music written by a staunch patriot whose repertoire is infused with nostalgia for his homeland.
In a country with more than 30 million children learning to play the piano, love for Chopin has a huge base. Through the decades, young Chinese piano learners have sharpened their musical skills through etudes and other pieces derived from Chopin's compositions.
Now Chopin's music is undoubtedly recognized as a world cultural heritage. In an entirely new context, Chinese audiences will hear the composer's music come alive in China through varied, creative interpretations, in both traditional and contemporary presentations. Chopin's work will be rediscovered and revitalized in a foreign nation. What remains unchanged is that the audiences will be equally delighted and enchanted. The affection of the Chinese for Chopin's music still lives.