(Text by Reporter Yuan Wenjun/ Photo by Reporter Xiao Mingliang) In 2016, “Zhangyuan Garden Sees the World” cultural brand was created, and West Nanjing Road Sub-district converted the all-weight Shikumen Community to an immersive space for Shanghai-style lifestyle exhibition and cross-cultural interaction, and held a ten-day cross-cultural art event combing the People-benefiting West Nanjing Road Art Season event, attracting tens of thousands of people to participate in. This year, West Nanjing Road Sub-district Office introduced Shanghai-style cultural innovation into Shikumen in collaboration with institutions including Shanghai Reading School Cultural Exchange Center again and held a Silk Road concert -- The Emperor’s Western Musical Instrument and Zhangyuan Garden in China, on the 2018 World Cultural and Natural Heritage Day.
The classical Shikumen buildings have become a symbol of the cultural relics in Shanghai, but how to activate the cultural creativity of the traditional Shikumen and avoid simply passing it down through commercialization and putting it into museums has long been the cultural topic encouraged by Shanghai Municipal People’s Government. The event this time adapts to the topic of Cultural Confidence and Narrating the Story of China Well proposed by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, reconstructing Zhangyuan Garden into a “large-scale symphonic device” through the four major elements, namely the musical instruments of the countries along the Silk Road and the western musical instruments, Zhangyuan Garden’s lifestyle, Pang Diwo, a Spanish ancient pianist who was presented by the Wanli Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and Kunqu Garden Tour, showing the openness of the overseas cultural innovation through the interaction where the East meets the West. The concert themed The Emperor’s Western Musical Instrument and Zhangyuan Garden in China converges two major bands, one is íliber Ensemble specializing in performing Baroque music by classical musical instruments, and the other is the Spanish Todos los Tonos y Ayres, the first Spanish band specializing in researching and performing the Chinese ancient music and the music history of the East and the West. The event designer specially designed a session to reflect the “garden feature” of Zhangyuan Garden through music in collaboration with Tan Xuya, a young Chinese Kunqu artist; the event will let the audiences travel the time in Zhangyuan Garden, where the classical musical instruments of the West and the East meet with each other, and where the vivid scene of the ancient court band performing music will be presented lively and vividly in front of the audiences’ eyes.
According to the introduction made by Shanghai Cervantes Library, the overseas coordination institution of the event this time, as early as the Tang Dynasty (from the seventh century BC to the tenth century BC), the Chinese court band had been one of the most internationalized bands in the world. Such combination of the East and the West has a special cultural connotation in the on-site performance at the Shikumen in Zhangyuan Garden. “History itself can be a building, and the building can be a musical instrument mixing the sound and the culture. We hope to extend the openness firstly created by the ‘Zhangyuan Garden Sees the World’ brand through the event, and push the Shikumen in Zhangyuan Garden Grand Hall open to see the confident and booming China and world after the opening of the onshore and offshore Silk Road through Zhangyuan Garden Community Concert on the occasion of the 2018 World Cultural and Natural Heritage Day.” the responsible person of the West Nanjing Road Sub-district Office said.
It is learned that following the first performance in Zhangyuan Garden Grand Hall, the concert this time will also be held at Daning Theatre and “let people see the integration of the old and new Jing’an culture and the idea of Shanghai-style cultural innovation.” From Zhangyuan Garden to West Nanjing Road, from China’s Ming Dynasty to the Spanish bands, from the eastward transmission of western sciences to the gradual integration of China into the world, the new-type Shanghai-style cultural innovation event is one of the events of the “The Trace of West Nanjing Road” event series, aiming to further promote the Shanghai-style culture trace and the urban business circle quality cultural brand created with much effort by West Nanjing Road Sub-district, so as to form a cultural feast welcomed by the tourists, citizens and artists. The event is sponsored by West Nanjing Road Sub-district Office, organized by Shanghai Reading School Cultural Exchange Center and the Cervantes Academy, instructed by Jing’an District Bureau of Culture, and supported by Nancy Shang Shu Yuan and Shanghai Conservatory of Music.