At the 41st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Poland on July 8 2017, Kulangsu, a historic international community, was officially listed as a World Heritage Site, casting a global spotlight on this tiny island in the East.
Let the world architecture speak for itself, and let the notes of music dance. These are not just ideals; they are episodes of history, and more significantly, they are realities.
Kulangsu, a tiny island of merely 1.88 square kilometers, is a stunning gem on China’s southeast coast. The island is the draw card and cultural icon of Xiamen. This exotic island, off the coast of Xiamen with Kinmen looming in the distance, has exercised a unique hold on the imagination of the outside world, earning a string of nicknames that include “The Garden on the Sea”, “The World Expo of Architecture”, “The Island of Music”, and “The Capital of Music”. Yet, once you descend on the island, you will find that no words can fully capture the unique charm of this magical island.
Over the past century, this tiny island has produced numerous world-renowned figures – Lin Yutang, Lu Zhuangzhang, Ma Yuehan, Lin Qiaozhi, Zhou Shu’an, Li Jialu, Yin Chengzong, Xu Feiping, Hu Youyi, Shu Ting… Generation after generation of musicians, educators, writers, doctors and collectors from Kulangsu have left a mark on the world.
What is the most brilliant part of Kulangsu’s culture? It’s music.
Strolling around the island, you will be mesmerized by the mellifluous music of the piano, violin and guitar and singing of the Trinity Church choir wafting through the air. International musical events, such as the Kulangsu Piano Festival and the Kulangsu Four-Season Music Week, combined with “family concerts”, “courtyard concerts” and “music salons”, make the state-of-the-art Kulangsu Concert Hall the hub of China’s musical art and the mecca of Xiamen’s culture and art.
To celebrate the listing of Kulangsu as a World Heritage Site and to showcase the island’s rich cultural heritage, we are hosting the Kulangsu Music Festival 2017 for the enjoyment of the public. The festival will bring together a large number of celebrated musicians and is set to be a musical extravaganza for the public. Visitors will enjoy a wide array of performances by world-renowned artists, as well as academic lectures, master classes and many other musical events. Tapping into the profound heritage and prestigious reputation of Kulangsu as the “Island of Music”, the music festival is bound to become the iconic event in the musical scene on the island.
The public nature, universality and consciousness of Kulangsu’s musical culture have been recognized by experts around the world as well as local residents. Today on Kulangsu, the musical culture and the stunning natural beauty form an integrated whole, turning the island into a popular tourist destination and a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city. The musical culture on the island will continue to prosper and flourish.