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Hutongs (traditional alleyways), courtyards and historic buildings all come to mind when people think of Beijing. In Beijing, how the old city can integrate well with modern life has become a topic of constant discussion among many architects and designers. This time we focus our attention on the Baita Pagoda and the Qianmen area, where the fusion of old and new buildings provide a wealth inspiration for musicians.

It is worth mentioning that there were two special places among the buildings we surveyed this time: Zhihua Temple and the WF Central Serpentine Pavilion Beijing. The temple is no longer used for religious functions but still remains a classic example of Ming dynasty architecture, creating a stark contrast of old and new Beijing when juxtaposed with the nearby SOHO. The ethereally simple melodies of jingyin, a style of music unique to Beijing that combines Tang and Song Dynasty songs with folk and court music, are still regularly performed here. The WF Central Serpentine Pavilion Beijing is a new work of WF Central’s art district. The pavilion was unveiled in May and will be on display until October.  When the pavilion is gone, the music will still remain.

As China’s cultural capital, Beijing also once witnessed a vibrant music scene.  This time, we’ve invited three local musicians to participate in Musicity Beijing: rock and roll old hand Zhou Fengling, AI+ Alan Ip and up-and-coming electronic music star Fishdoll Yu. In addition to Nick Luscombe, we’ve also invited British AI music composer Ash Koosha and cellist Abi Wade. Ash and AI+ band will also be dedicating a piece of music they composed together to one of the venues.

Special thanks to Beijing International Design Week, Baitasi Remade Project, Zhihua Temple, WF Central, Beijing Fun, and Da Mo Chang for their support.

Musicity Beijing is a collaboration with the British Council China which will also explore music and architecture in Shanghai and Shenzhen during 2018.

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