Inside IMCH #2 : The Chairman of the Jury- Ye Xiaogang

Jan. 2, 2018, 3:59 p.m.


The long-anticipated opening of the First International Music Competition Harbin (IMCH) will soon arrive! Leading the competition’s jury will be Ye Xiaogang, the legendary Chinese musician known as "one of the four prodigies of Central Conservatory of Music." Described by writer Chen Jie as someone whose "melodies [are like] the flowing water, life [is like] the undulating waves", Ye believes that reading can bring out the innate love in one’s nature and in one’s creations. He says: "I buy a bunch of books every week. Sometimes I buy a book because I’m in love with just one sentence in it. I still stick to my habit of listening to music of different genres every day: classical, contemporary, folkloric, pop, and even rock."

Born into a musical family, Ye was deeply influenced by his father, one of the pioneering musicians of the People’s Republic of China. He always dreamed of becoming a musician, but in order to make a living was obliged to work in a factory for six years.  Luckily, the early education he received from his father in childhood enabled him to quit his job and pass the entrance exams for the Central Conservatory of Music. In 1980 he attended the masterclass of Alexander Goehr at the University of Cambridge, and then in 1987, he continued his studies at Eastman School of Music in the United States as a scholarship student. He gained his international renown through participation in famous international musical events, and through original musical compositions, including musicals like The Snow is Red, When The Dream Fades, chamber music pieces like Threnody, Tripdus, and Tribasic, and other works of contemporary music like The Last Paradise, The Silence of the Sakyamuni, The Silence of the Red Poppy and The Erosion of Death, among others.

At the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Ye was enchanted by a theatrical rendition of George Gershwin’s masterpiece Rhapsody in Blue performed simultaneously on 80 pianos. 24 years later he had the honor of composing Starry Sky for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Lang Lang, the eminent pianist who performed this music, joked about their collaboration: “Ye really wanted me to play until my fingers cracked down because this piece was almost an impossible challenge.” Ye, in return, commented, “apparently, without supreme dedication, there is no art.”