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Prepared Remarks by Consul General at Press Briefing on Chinese Music Concert and Exchanges
(Oberoi Hotel, Kolkata, 10 March 2017)

Namaste! I wish to make the announcement that a delegation of selected musicians from the Central Conservatory of Music of China will be coming to Kolkata for exchanges and performances from 13 to 18 March 2017. During the trip dubbed CHINA STORY -- A Music Tour for India, they will give the performance on 14 March 2017 at Tagore Center, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), and visit the campuses of Rabindra Bharati and Visva Bharati in the following days.

This is the first time for a big delegation of Chinese musicians to com to town. It consists of composers; players of such traditional Chinese music instruments as yangqin (Chinese dulcimer), pipa (Chinese lute), gu zheng (Chinese zither), bamboo flute, erhu (Chinese fiddle, two-stringed bowed instrument), and sanxian (three-stringed plucked instrument); and violin, viola and cello players.

The members have given performances in Europe, North America and many other places and have been very well received. Some of them have been recognized for many years and work as educators as well as performers, others are barely twenty years old but are winners of many national and international prizes.

As you know, Chinese musicians have achieved great accomplishment in chamber music performance. So with the delegation are the Amber Quartet (琥珀四重奏) players, who have won international recognition over the years, playing the violin, viola and cello respectively and representing the top standard of Chinese chamber music.

I wish to mention two names in particular. The first one is Mr. Ye Xiaogang, a famous composer in China, who is the man behind the plan for the trip. He is vice president of the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM), and chairman of the Chinese Musicians Association. The second one is Ms. Liu Yuening. Madame Liu is a maestro of Yangqin (dulcimer) and enjoys fame throughout the world. She visited Kolkata three years ago. The introduction materials of all the members of the delegation can be found in the brochures distributed.

I am also very glad to share with you that two Indian maestros will join the Chinese masters in the performances. They are Pundit Subhankar Banerjee, tabla maestro; and Pundit Tarun Bhattacharya, Santoor maestro. Both are big names, and the latter is also known as India’s Global Music Ambassador.

Now, why is this visit special and important?

First, the Central Conservatory of Music of China is the top music institution in China, and the visit of the group from the conservatory marks the new high of the musical and cultural exchanges between China and India, and it is also an indication of the great progress made over the past two or three years in the bilateral relationship and the increasing importance attached to the relations by the Chinese government as well as the various Chinese institutions.

Second, the joint performance signifies that the music exchanges have great prospects with the expanded interactions and friendship between the two nations. The Chinese love Indian music, and the Indians have been fascinated by Chinese music, as is shown in the fact that Rabindranath Tagore drew upon quite a number of Chinese music pieces when writing his songs. Therefore, the musicians can learn from each other to achieve mutual benefit. As I know, the Chinese musicians who have visited India are all impressed with the achievement of the music masters here, and their Indian counterparts have also benefited from the communications.

It is my belief as well that the Chinese and Indian musicians can work together to bring to the world better music, music that would more efficiently enlighten, inspire, cheer up or soothe people throughout the world, and make this world a happier and better place.

Third, the visit will occur at a time when global and regional economic cooperation comes to a crossroads, with China and India still believing in globalization on the one hand, and certain countries ready to reduce or stoop global economic engagement on the other. These music exchanges are in keeping with China's Belt and Road Initiative on increasing inter-connectivity and other interactions between countries in the region. The inter-connectivity of the hearts and minds of the people in the regions, to be achieved by the cultural exchanges, will contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative in a significant and unique way in the months and years to come.

I am now ready to answer your questions if you have any.

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