Baroque at its best – the Academy of Ancient Music in China
In 2011 the KT Wong Foundation supported a series of performances in Beijing and Shanghai by the world-renowned Academy of Ancient Music. The orchestra performed the Brandenburg Concertos at Shanghai’s Music Hall and featured acclaimed soprano Sumi Jo at Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts. The warm response reinforced the Foundation’s goal to encourage cross-cultural conversations using the very best Chinese and Western talent.
Jo’s performance was truly unique as, together, she and the Academy performed classical songs by Handel, Vivaldi and Purcell, rather than opera.
The Beijing event was the first time Jo had ever ‘touched’ baroque music. Lady Davies, chairwoman of both the KT Wong Foundation and the board of trustees of the Handel Society, said:
‘Our Foundation is honored to be able to support this top baroque musical event in Beijing as it strives to build bridges between China and the rest of the world. I truly hope that Chinese music lovers will appreciate and enjoy baroque music and further their understanding of Western music. Through communication and exchange, we firmly believe more Chinese musicians will make an impact on the world stage’.
‘We have realised that compared with Europe, audiences of ancient music in Asia, and particularly in China, are much younger and more energetic,’ said Richard Egarr, director of harpsichord at the Academy of Ancient Music. ‘With the ongoing support of the KT Wong Foundation, we plan to conduct master classes at the Central Conservatory of Music to promote baroque as well as classical music. We also look forward to the opportunities of collaborating with Chinese musicians’.
‘Sumi Jo set the scene on fire with her Baroque style’
‘[Sumi Jo] garnered attention in her unique way and became the hot potato again in Beijing. Among divas worldwide, Jo really knows how to catch audiences’ hearts and when to catch appropriately, which few others can achieve’.
‘Jo’s perfect performance precisely follows the beats. The audiences gave great applause and cheers’.
Beijing Morning Post, 2011
‘South Korean soprano in Beijing’
‘The Academy of Ancient Music (AAM), one of the best orchestras in the UK, teamed up with South Korean Soprano Sumi Jo to present an unforgettable night for Beijing classical concert-goers at the National Center of Performing Arts’.
Global Times, 2011
‘Lady Builds Bridges of Harmony’
‘Philanthropist Lady Linda Wong Davies uses her influence to connect China musically with the world’
‘The recent staging of a unique baroque music show was a major success, judging by the long standing ovation and the beaming smiles on concert-goers’ faces as they left the National Center for the Performing Arts’.
‘The concert’s success was thanks to the effort of one person, Lady Linda Wong Davies, who is devoting a large part of her life to building cross-cultural bridges between China and the rest of the world’.
China Daily, 2011
‘Sumi Jo teamed up with the AAM in Beijing’
‘The Academy of Ancient Music’s director, Richard Egarr, indicated that Asian audiences are younger and more dynamic than their European counterparts, especially Chinese audiences’.
‘Sumi Jo and AAM showed the beauty of classical music’
‘The orchestra surprised the audience with authenticity: violins without chin rests, trumpets without valves and even Viola Da Gamba without stands. Some of the instruments are antiques themselves. Displayed on the stage, the instruments are like a museum of classical music’.
‘The parts played in harmony made the Handel’s masterpiece flow spontaneously. Other works, including oboe concertos, led the audience to appreciate the beauty of baroque’.
‘As one of the world’s most famous coloraturas, Sumi Jo earned great applause from the audience’.