Grzegorz Niemczuk about the concert in Fuzhou and visit in Quanzhou:
The concert at the Fujian Grand Theater in Fuzhou city (24.10.2019) exceeded my expectations. First of all, we had a full house, many musicians in the audience – teachers and students of Fujian Normal University, as well as a lot of people from the talent school in Quanzhou. It’s great to play at full house cause there is a lot of energy. But I have to say that I didn’t have such ovations in China yet – of course I was applauded, but what happened after this concert I will remember for the rest of my life, because I felt like in South America, it did not seem possible to me in China. I thought that the Chinese were rather toned and a bit shy, and here it turned out that they are not. There were cheers like on football game or at a pop concert. It was really amazing and beautiful! I gave two encores and they still wanted more! And I would probably keep playing if it wasn’t for the late hour. I’m delighted.
The next day (25.10.2019 r.) I visited Quanzhou Art School in Quanzhou city. The hosts received me extremely warmly and pleasantly. They showed me school and talked about school activities. I visited, among others handicraft workshops where they create beautiful lanterns and masks that are used for opera and theater performances, as well as traditional movable wooden puppets used for performances. During the tour I could learn the process of creating these objects and I had the pleasure to meet the greatest local sculptor who also teaches students. I got a beautiful gift: one of those movable wooden puppets.
Preparing children for performances in traditional Chinese opera (singing and dancing) lasts 6 year. I had the opportunity to observe some of the exercises – girls preparing to dance with two swords. The instructor showed me how to turn these swords and I even managed. In the next class I saw young people practicing on traditional Chinese instruments. Then, especially for me, a group of six young musicians performed two songs from over 1000 years ago. It was an unusual spiritual experience for me. I know this music, I listen to such music and I even wrote PhD thesis about it but something strange happened and I can’t even name it – but it was some kind of magic. The young singer had such a voice that I just felt like in another world. Listening to songs that were created more than 10 centuries ago, performed by young Chinese, it was really beautiful and unique. I think that cultivating this tradition is truly wonderful.
At the end of the visit, I conducted a workshop with three students and a teacher who performed parts of the song for me in the presence of other students in the room. I focused on technique – I tried to teach them how to practice and how to learn songs. It was a very successful workshop.