Peking University Chinese Orchestra visit St Aidan's High
Pupils at St Aidan’s High School got the treat of a lifetime last week as some of China’s top young musicians performed for them.
The world-renowned Peking University Chinese Orchestra are travelling outside their homeland for the first time and dropped in on the Wishaw school as part of their groundbreaking tour.
Professor Nigel Osbourne from Edinburgh University, whose own works have featured in many major international festivals, is accompanying the orchestra on their visit.
And he gave the Wishaw Press an insight into just how accomplished the visitors are as musicians.
He said, "Peking University is the top learning institute in a country of over 1.4 billion people and this group represents some of China’s elite students. "
"This historic trip has captured the imagination of all the students and schools they are visiting, and the Chinese media who are watching this trip with great interest. "
"The orchestra is presenting concerts of traditional Chinese music in celebration of strong links being developed between China and Scotland. "
"The visit of the members of the orchestra is a great opportunity for the pupils of St Aidan’s to get to know what a young generation in China is like, see their interests, share knowledge and experience a different culture."
Around 30 members of the 70-strong group performed a concert featuring traditional Chinese instruments such as Chinese flutes, erhu (Chinese violin) and yangqin (Chinese dulcimer). The group play music from all regions and traditions of China and also created history by performing a Mozart composition with the North Lanarkshire Schools Symphony Orchestra.
It was organised by the Tapestry Partnership in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council and supported by the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and the Confucius Institute. The trip contributes to the Silk Road project, an innovative educational programme relating to pathways of commerce, thought and knowledge stretching from China to Scotland.
St Aidan’s pupils also had the chance to showcase inter-disciplinary learning to their Chinese visitors, which took the form of a CSI-style investigation developed by the school’s social science department. It focused on subject areas including debate, talk and moral values, explaining overlaps between subject areas, common threads of learning, and how the active aspects of such activities enhance learning.
Tony Rooney, head teacher at St Aidan’s, said the visit was a major success and added: “This was a wonderful occasion for the school.
"St Aidan’s has one of the largest Higher music groups in Scotland and this was a tremendous experience for them. "
"I was delighted to be able to display inter-disciplinary learning at work within the school, breaking down subject barriers and to see pupils using the skills developed in one area of the curriculum elsewhere. This is an integral part of the Curriculum for Excellence thinking."
The Peking students finished their week-long tour of Scotland with a full orchestral concert last night at Edinburgh’s Canongate Kirk.
Councillor Jim Logue, the council’s convener of learning and leisure, said: “We were absolutely delighted to welcome such prestigious visitors to North Lanarkshire. As a council, we are very proud of our musical talent and invest heavily in developing our pupils’ musical skills.
"Learning to perform together helps youngsters develop their self-confidence and enjoy being part of a wider group. "
"China plays a huge role in global affairs and it is important that our pupils are aware of the language and culture of other countries to widen their future horizons."
Reported by: Robert Mitchell
Source: Wishaw Press
Edited by: Arthars