Interview: ChinaAustria music cooperation to boost Chinese choirs


BEIJING, Oct. 29 — “I am very glad to see more and
more Chinese enjoy choral music and hope China-Austria music
cooperation will help China in developing choirs,” said Gerald
Wirth, President of the Vienna Boys Choir (VBC).

Wirth, also the Artistic Director of the VBC, made the remarks
in an exclusive interview with Xinhua after the inauguration
ceremony of the “Friends of the VBC” club at the Austrian Embassy
in China on Monday night.

Known as the “Austrian national treasure” and the “singing
angels,” the VBC has a nearly 600-year-old history and is one of
the most prestigious and oldest choral groups in the world.

Wirth said that Friends of the VBC, a non-profit organization,
aims to strengthen choral exchanges between the VBC and Chinese
choral professionals, children and youth.

The club will support the tours and activities of the Vienna
Boys Choir in China and develop education and training for Chinese
choirs.

“In the next year, the club plans to select three excellent
Chinese chorus conductors to visit Austria for further study,” said
Wirth.

Last year, students from the Beijing No. 2 Experimental Primary
School went to Vienna for the World Peace Choral Festival.

Wirth described the Chinese children as “smart,” “full of
passion for choir” and “devoted to singing.”

After their performance, the children were invited to stay and
study in Wirth’s Alpine valley hometown for several days.

“I conducted a master class with the students, and they
experienced typical Austrian music, scenery and lifestyle, which
deepened our friendship,” Wirth said.

Seeing more Chinese children take part in choir, Wirth said that
the most important lesson children should learn from choir is not
only achievement in choir competitions, but also fostering an
understanding and appreciation for music.

Wirth recalled that he loved music as a child and was determined
to become “somebody” in the music field.

“I learned a lot during my happy times in choir, and it made my
dreams come true,” he added.

Wirth said that the VBC has always regarded conductors and music
teachers as the foundation of the choir and called on conductors to
guide children to enjoy music so that they can exert their
talents.

“Good conductors and teachers can lead children to achieve the
most from choir in the shortest period of time, and allow the choir
to develop in a sound way,” Wirth said.

Wirth also stressed that conductors should understand that
choruses require well-rounded skill development, including
gestures, pronunciation, tone, intonation and understanding of
music.

China, like other countries, has many outstanding choral
teachers, but there are also teachers with vast room to improve who
can make rapid progress with professional training and government
encouragement, he said.

During the interview, Wirth expressed great interest in foreign
musical elements, including Chinese folk music.

He said that he had adapted several Chinese folk songs into
choral arrangements and his choir has several Chinese songs in its
repertoire.

Just two months ago, the VBC held a concert to perform Chinese
musical works.

“In the future, I will continue to keep an eye on Chinese music
and plan to compose works integrating Chinese calligraphy and
poems,” Wirth said. Enditem[db:内容2]