In Hong Kong, concert breathes new life into world heritages

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Accompanied by an orchestra of traditional Chinese instruments, the murals of the Mogao Caves came to life in an animated film showcased at the Xiqu Center in Hong Kong.

With the sound of drumbeats, the cheerful and brisk tone suddenly turned solemn, as the symbolic Forbidden City appeared on the screen, touching the audience by its grandeur architecture.

Young musicians from the Hong Kong Gaudeamus Dunhuang Ensemble are trying to reinterpret the arts and culture of two UNESCO world heritages, the Mogao Caves of Dunhuang in northwestern China's Gansu Province and the Palace Museum in Beijing, through Chinese classical music.

As part of a cultural event on Tuesday celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland and the opening of the Hong Kong Palace Museum, the concert brought together two world heritages of different times and spaces, a meaningful combination that tells the long history of Chinese civilization, said Louis Ng, director of the Hong Kong Palace Museum, which co-organized the event.

Ng was excited to be able to invite his two old friends to Hong Kong. Wang Xudong, head of the Palace Museum, and Zhao Shengliang, party secretary of the Dunhuang Academy, were at the event to share with the public of the history and value of Chinese arts and culture.

"Dunhuang culture has been so brilliant for more than a thousand years, partly because it is located at the intersection of Chinese and foreign cultures. It has absorbed all aspects of Eastern and Western cultures with an open and inclusive spirit, and finally created the crystallization of culture for the humanity," Zhao said.

"Hong Kong, like Dunhuang in ancient times, is also a place where Chinese and foreign cultures meet," he said.

Wang agreed that Hong Kong should play a vital role in protect and inherit the traditional Chinese culture while at the same time absorbing and carrying forward the achievement of other civilizations.

With the support from the central government, the Hong Kong Palace Museum is well positioned to fulfill the mission, Wang said.

Scheduled to open to the public on July 2, the Hong Kong Palace Museum is expected to display on rotation more than 900 treasures from the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing.

Ng said that the museum would endeavor to host a set of cultural events and apply technologies to allow traditional culture to better resonate with the public, just as the concert did in ringing the interest of Hong Kongers.

The final part of the concert was dedicated to appreciating the time spent on protecting the cultural heritages by "cultural guardians" just like Zhao, Wang and Ng.

Named "thank you for your time", the final movement of the concert brought a big round of applause at the concert hall, with the screen reading:

"Music is the art of time. Culture is the accumulation of time. Life is a flow of time. Thank you for your time."

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