Xi'an is one of the most important cities in China. It has served as the capitol of the nation for 13 of 24 dynasties in Chinese history. Along with this the city has invested in rediscovering itself as a cultural center of the country. Part of this effort includes the Zhenguan Cultural Plaza.
This plaza, with nearly 1 billion yuan invested (~160 million USD), contains the Shaanxi Literary Hall, Shaanxi Artists gallery, Quijang Cinema Town, Xi'an Theatre, and the Xi'an Concert Hall. That later of the aforementioned list is where we are playing our concert while in Xi'an.
The Xi'an Concert Hall opened in 2009 and was designed by DDB International. The auditorium seats 1,250 people. The concert hall is the performance focus of the cultural center and is situated on the south side of complex. It is designed in a modern Tang style and actually has a very traditional exterior. The interior, however, is renowned for its state-of-the-art acoustic setting that offers an intimate performance venue.
Today we actually played inside the Xi’an concert hall. We had a little break in the afternoon, so people were really ready to come see the hall. It seemed that most people on the trip didn’t understand exactly where we were playing until we drove through the plaza park. There were large bronze statues that our guide told us all represented a real person in Chinese culture. This was really cool to see that different types of people that they considered important. There was an equal spot for scholars as well as warriors among the statues we saw.
As we got off the bus we were handed what was essentially backstage passes for the concert hall. This was a really cool status thing that really drove home the fact that we were about to rehearse and play in a world class concert hall. We didn’t have to wait very long because as soon as we walked in there was nothing left to wonder. The hall is HUGE! It has three stories of seating with amazing wood accents all the way around the hall. We got right down to work and set up and rehearsed for about an hour and a half.
The concert experience was something that no one will forget. The crowd was very responsive to our music and they clapped and cheered after we got done playing. There was a little girl in the front row who put her hands over her ears as Dr. Wachmann played his clarinet feature piece. Even if the little girl didn’t like the piece, it seemed to win over the crowd in a major way.
The Xi’an concert hall was an amazing experience for our group. We have all played in nice auditoriums, but it is not often that a group can say they played in one of the premier concert halls in the world. Tomorrow we go see the Terracotta Warriors before we fly out, it should be a lot of fun!-Adam Kucera