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RAW talent given chance to shine at city arts festival
By Nie Xin

THE Shanghai International Arts Festival is hosting, for the first time, Rising Artists' Works (RAW), a project it is involved in to support young artists.

Nine artists supported by the scheme from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in south China's Guangdong Province, working in the fields of music, dance, drama and film, will present their works on October 19 and 20 at the D6 Space at Shanghai Drama Arts Center.

The RAW project is organized by the Organizing Committee of the Shanghai International Arts Festival and SMG Arts Channel to provide a platform for young Chinese artists.

Support does not merely include funds, but the backing of a heavyweight committee, headed by chairman Tan Dun, the Oscar-winning Chinese contemporary classical composer most widely known for his scores for the hit movies "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Hero."

Other members include drama director Lin Zhaohua and Wang Yuanyuan and Huang Doudou, both China's leading modern dance choreographers.

In addition, famous Chinese drama producers Hang Jiang and Yu Rongjun, literature critics Mao Shi'an and Hong Kong arts festival producer Su Guoyun are also consulted by the RAW team.

"As the most important arts festival in China, we are now taking the social responsibility for supporting talented young artists by providing a good platform," says Liu Guowen, art director of the festival. "And of course, the Shanghai International Arts Festival always welcomes new blood, and these young people fit the bill."

The nine supported artists were selected from more than 60 candidates this year. They were assigned to create a work themed "Shanghai Dream" for the festival.

"Young artists are the future of China and the world. The reason why I am so passionate with this RAW project is that I am impressed by the organization with a huge dream as well as the young artists with talent," says chairman Tan.

Wang Chong will present Shanghai classical literature "Flower of Shanghai" through film, drawing inspiration from the French New Wave Movement.

Tan praised the young filmmaker's skills.

"Watching Wang's film is like watching a good chef cooking at kitchen," Tan says.

Dong Jie and Zhao Lei will present "Guan Ju", a chapter of Chinese classic text "The Book of Odes" playing the erhu, a Chinese two-stringed bowed instrument. Zhao's playing is described as "unassailable" by Tan.

"The erhu is the musical instrument that closest to the human voice. This work is inspired by Jewish music and simulates beautiful women's voice and moods," Zhao says.

Other young artists and their works include Zolan's chamber music "Death and the Maiden;" Yin Fang's modern dance piece "Photographic Plate," inspired by Chinese author Wang Anyi's famous work "The Everlasting Regret;" Qin Yi's "Artistic Conception," which combines drama, percussion and electronic music; Luo Bingyue's body drama "Half Awaken," created with modern choreographic style; Tian Jinglun and Li Zeyu's violin concerto "Three-and-a-half Sentences," which is the mixture of Paganini and Chinese traditional operas.

Li graduated from Shanghai Conservatory of Music and now studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in the United States. At the age of only 12, he was described as "a musical genius" by leading violinist Pinchas Zukerman.

"We cannot say that the works of these young artists are at the level of masters, but they do have irreplaceable personal characteristics in their creation and performance," Tan says.

Their audience for the upcoming Shanghai performances will include the professional talent-spotting teams from Salzburg Festival, Belgium's Flanders Arts Festival, Spring of Prague Arts Festival, the Associate of European Arts Festival, the Associate of Asian Arts Festival, IMG Artists Manager Company and the Association of International Performing Manager.

"Those professional organizers and managers have shown big interest in our young artists and we have made agreements for some to perform overseas," says Liu, local arts festival's art director.

Similar projects are already an important part in prestigious overseas arts festivals, such as the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and the Melbourne Arts Festival in Australia.

"This is the first time that Shanghai International Arts Festival has been involved in this important project, and we will continue to develop it," says Chen Yuren, director of SMG Art Channel. "RAW is like an incubator for talent."


Date: October 19-20, 7:15pm

Venue: D6 Space of Shanghai Drama Arts Center, 288 Anfu Rd

Tickets: 100 yuan, 150 yuan (70 yuan for students)

Tickets center: 211 Kangding Rd

Hotline: 6272-0455, 6272-0702

For more information of the arts festival, check www.artsbird.com.

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