Artists from China and the United States perform in the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, the United States on March 28, 2018. (Xinhua/Gao Shan)
by Julia Pierrepont III, Gao Shan
LOS ANGELES, March. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Dolby Theater, recent host to Hollywood's star-studded Academy Awards, hosted entirely different types of stars Wednesday night: a performance of "Enchanting China," a genuinely enchanting Chinese folk music concert with a surprise Hollywood guest star.
A mixed crowd of elegantly dressed Chinese and American attendees turned out to enjoy the unique fare, and ended up giving the performers a standing ovation at the end of the evening, cheering and clapping for multiple curtain calls.
"It is the first time that the highest level Chinese folk music has been performed in Hollywood," said Zhang Ping, Chinese Consul General to Los Angeles.
As the China Broadcasting Performing Arts Troupe opened their Hollywood concert tour on the Dolby Theater's "Oscar" stage Wednesday night, Consul General Zheng told Xinhua, "With Chinese and American artists playing together on stage...the increasing music exchanges will effectively improve mutual understanding and friendship."
He was referring to the mixed program of reimagined Chinese Folk music conducted by China's imminent conductor, Peng Jiapeng, combined with Western film scores composed by BAFTA-nominated film composer and rising Hollywood music star,
Brian Tyler, voted "Composer of the Year" at the 2014 Cue Awards.
The performances were electric crowd-pleasers. Sometimes strident, sometimes soft and emotionally-resonant, and set against animated visuals that heightened their tone and emotional content, the evening's program brought a unique taste of China to the Hollywood stage.
A venerated Guest Conductor for the Mozart Symphony Orchestra of Salzburg, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine, Peng conducted the evening's program with an evocative combination of delicate precision and energetic vigor.
The evening included such Chinese favorites "Deep Night," "Flowers Thoughts," "Moonlight of the Spring River," "Dance of the Golden Snake" and ethnic folk songs from more rural regions of China, such as Tibet's "Road to Heaven," Kazakh's "Lovely Rose," Miao's "Good News Reaches Borderlands" and Mongolia's "Horse Racing."
The cutting-edge performances combined such disparate instruments as the Western cello and Chinese Banhu (an ancient traditional Chinese stringed instrument), brilliantly performed by famed honorary principal soloist, Chinese Huqin artist, Jiang Kemei.
Jiang Kemei told Xinhua, "It sounds like a dialogue between Chinese and Western culture, which creates splendid sparks and full-bodied emotional atmosphere."
Audiences concurred as they basked in the exquisite intertwining melody the two instruments created together.
The eclectic program also featured the live world premiere of Brian Tyler's famed soundtrack theme from "Assassin's Creed IV: The Black Flag," one of the most popular videogames in the world, and his touching "Love Theme" from director Jon Chu's new film "Crazy Rich Asians."
As Guest Conductor-Composer, Tyler stepped in mid-way through the rousing program and brought his popular compositions to life with stunning new arrangements that rocked the house.
"This music has never been heard before," he told Xinhua with excitement. "It exists as a totally different merged style. The Chinese instruments add another dimension of emotion and nuance."
He admitted that he has long had a soft spot for Chinese music: "I've been drawn to Chinese music ever since I was young," he revealed. "Beautiful Chinese folk music and opera. The compositions we are doing tonight have pieces written for both Western and Eastern instruments, which was an exciting challenge."
A fixture in the Hollywood firmament, Tyler has scored such iconic blockbusters as, "Thor: the Dark World," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Iron Man 3," "Power Rangers," "xXx: Return of Xander Gage," and "Fate of the Furious," the biggest worldwide box office opener of all time.
"xXx: Return of Xander Gage" Director D.J. Caruso, who brought his family with him to the concert, said, "Brian really gets it and we're here to support him." Caruso's young son, who later delivered a congratulatory bouquet of flowers to the conductor on stage, chimed in, "I traveled all over China with my mom and I think the music is really interesting."
When asked about the evening's concert, Tyler's mother, Carolyn Tyler, said, "We've always taken a strong interest in what our children do. We want to understand his music and his world."
Tyler, nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2014 and inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2010, is the grandson of legendary Hollywood Production Designer/Art Director and Academy Award-winner, Walter Tyler ("The Ten Commandments," "Roman Holiday," "Samson and Delilah," "A Place in the Sun" and the Emmy nominated, "The Execution of Private Slovik" ) who was recently inducted into the Art Directors Guild's Hall of Fame.
Other standout soloists included Xue Haoyin, the virtuoso tenor soloist for the troupe, is a contract artist with the British Royal Opera House and winner of the Top Prize at the prestigious Rimski-Korsakov Int'l Voice Competition. His stirring performance of the iconic "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's opera, "Turandot," brought down the house, leaving many a teary eye in the audience.
"Five minutes ago, I was passed out backstage with jetlag," Haoyin joked following his performance. "But if you like what you heard here (referring to the whole orchestra), use your hands," he suggested with a smile.
This brought an enthusiastic ovation, as did the performances of famed Chinese singer, Gong Linna; dancer, Jinga Feng for her evocative Peacock dance, and performer, Fei Dong, who masterfully played a noble woman in his Kun Opera piece.
Tyler eloquently summarized the successful evening, "I don't speak Mandarin, but I do speak music... We all do. And tonight we are bringing cultures together through the one thing we all share - the unspoken language of music."