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Deputy Chairman of European Choral Association conducts PKU Student Choir

Peking University, May 11, 2011: On April 30 and May 1, Jean-Marie Puissant, deputy chairman of European Choral Association and conductor of French National Youth Choir, provided a two-day chorus guidance for Peking University (PKU) Student Choir at Yiyuan. Mr. Puissant heaped praise on the professional chorus quality and high singing standard of these student singers, who also benefited a lot from his choir concept with a global outlook.


Jean-Marie Puissant (File photo)


Jean-Marie Puissant’s chorus conducting videos have been broadcasted on television in many countries. He served as judge on invitation at many international chorus competitions, making an international reputation. In 2011, he will conduct several big concerts in Portugal, Lebanon, China, Estonia, Russia, and so on, communicating with the local choirs. It was a pleasure for PKU Student Choir to communicate with Mr. Puissant.


Mr. Puissant brought a French song Notre Père for PKU Student Choir. He instructed the French lyrics word by word. On hearing the expressive and integrated audition, he said emotionally, “How I wish my French friends and audience could hear this! They would of course be touched like me.” 


Mr. Puissant and the choir practiced several foreign chorus works during the two-day communication. During the rehearsal of Agnus Dei, a Latin chorus work, students were greatly inspired in the backgrounds, pronunciation and emotional expression under Mr. Puissant`s conduct. When practicing Trois Chansons Ⅲ – Yver, vous n`estes qu`un villain, Mr. Puissant required slight French tone changes. Deeply impressed by the choir’s quick response and vivid performance, Mr. Puissant sighed, “So smart of you all! You can so quickly catch my requirements on dynamics, pronunciation and tone that the rehearsal will be very efficient without obstacles.” When it came to Moon Light, Mr. Puissant mentioned that this song, written by Debussy, had baffled many French choirs all this time. Hence, PKU Student Choir’s successful performance showed their higher singing level. He attributed all the aspects of their performance – the beautiful timbre, mellifluous harmonies, rich emotions and resilient techniques – to their tacit cooperation, “Chorus performers should have this valuable teamwork quality, knowing to perform one’s own characters with listening and understanding.”


Mr. Puissant spoke highly of not only PKU Student Choir’s singing skills, but also their professional quality and good discipline. Additionally, he expressed his honor to corporate with their conduct teacher Hou Xijin, associate professor from the School of Art, “Hou can recognize any flaw in the rehearsal – especially on intonation – and provide the correct direction for expression. That’s terrific.” Mr. Puissant enjoyed the communication with PKU, “The conductor and choir members impressed me a lot. I am looking forward to another practice with PKU Student Choir, as well as a possible performance as costars.”


The choir members learned from Mr. Puissant his delicate and precise management of choir works, along with a deeper understanding of the western religious culture and chorus concept. Meanwhile, everyone was touched by Mr. Puissant’s conducting style, humorous but still rigorous. The meeting was short, but the conductor and choir members resonated with each other on the basis of the deepened love for chorus art.


Mr. Puissant’s coming brought precious access towards the frontiers of international chorus art. On another level, his coming reflected the art educational atmosphere of international level provided by PKU, in which PKU students are assured to acquire aesthetic literacy.


Written by: Wang Jingran
Edited by: Arthars
PKU News (Chinese)