Beijing’s imperial palace, the Forbidden City, was transformed into a gala venue to celebrate classical music label Deutsche Grammophone’s 120th anniversary concert on 10 October. The concert marked the first staged at the Forbidden City since 1998. The evening included an international cast of musicians and performers anchored by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Chinese maestro Long Yu.
The performance was held on the steps of Taimiao, otherwise known as the Imperial Ancestral Temple, located just outside the Meridian Gate in front of the main Forbidden City walls. This was the first time that a live concert had been held at Taimiao since Zubin Mehta led a production of Puccini’s Turandot in 1998.
Performances included a string arrangement of Liu Tianhua’s Enchanted Night and ‘November’ from Max Richter’s Memoryhouse by Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen. Russian pianist, Daniil Trifinov performed Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto.
Dr Clemens Trautmann, the label’s president, said in a press release: ‘the gala concert was unforgettable. The concert’s historic nature was enhanced by its iconic setting in front of the Imperial Ancestral Temple and the walls of the Forbidden City. Those exquisite buildings echoed to the magnificent sounds of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Singakademie and an international cast of soloists under the direction of Maestro Long Yu, the first Chinese conductor ever to perform there.’
In addition to the live audience of 1200 Chinese and international dignitaries, the concert was live-streamed on YouTube’s 360-degree virtual reality platform.