A photo of Suzhou Chinese Orchestra and conductor Pang Kapang (center). [Photo provided to english.snd.gov.cn]
The Suzhou Chinese Orchestra and its conductor Pang Kapang were both awarded the 2021 Austrian Music Theater Prize on Aug 3.
The Chinese orchestra is the first non-Austrian orchestra to win the award. Pang is also the first Chinese musician to bag the accolade.
The Suzhou Chinese Orchestra, a professional orchestra jointly founded by Suzhou New District and Suzhou Municipal Government in 2017, has performed 403 concerts in China and other 12 countries like the United States, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Hungary, Poland, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Liechtenstein. They have also held four international tours.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the orchestra cooperated with more than 10 influential European mainstream media platforms such as the Austrian national television and German classical music groups to perform online and promote Chinese culture through music.
The orchestra has performed four original national orchestral works - Symphony of Sizhu, Misty Rain on Maple Bridge, Four Seasons in Lingering Garden, and Fantasia of Gan Jiang Mo Ye - to overseas audiences.
Pang Kapang, artistic director and chief conductor of the Suzhou Chinese Orchestra, had conducted Chinese symphony concerts in the Vienna Musikverein for 13 years since 2000. Pang is well-versed in both Western symphony and Chinese national traditional orchestra.
"Music belongs to all mankind. I hope that this award can promote more exchanges of outstanding music works between China and Austria so that music lovers from these two countries can have more opportunities to appreciate each other's creations," Pang said.
The Austrian Music Theater Prize, also known as the "Austrian Oscar Music Award", is among the most prestigious in the world. Prizes are given to outstanding works in opera, ballet, musicals, classical music, media, and other fields.