Commissioned by the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra

  • 1+pic.2(II:ca).2.2(II:cbn)/2.3.2+btbn.0/timp.3perc/hp/str
  • 10 min

Programme Note

Composer Note
Suzhou is one of the oldest cities in China with nearly 3,000 years of history. Remarkably, not only the remains of the ancient city have been preserved to this day, the location of the city has not moved for thousands of years, and the prosperity not declined — quite a miracle in the history of world city. More priceless is the comparable development of Suzhou culture which has a profound heritage. This unique cultural chronicle enabled Suzhou to connect the past to the present (such as in poetry, painting, language, gardens, music, religion, embroidery, crafts, etc.). The people of Suzhou love and respect tradition with critical flexibility, evolution and renewal of cultural heritage. Suzhou culture is deeply rooted in the daily lives of the people.

The modern civilization of Suzhou is built under the same philosophy. Today, modernity and the past coexist and complement each other. The new regenerates the old and the integration of the two creates fresh power, ambition and inspiration. Like the world-renowned Suzhou double-sided embroidery, she is a city that fuses present and past, enjoys quiet and leisure in the vigorous 21st-century modernization. A stunningly beautiful picture indeed.

In Suzhou Overture, I also tried to embody this old-new sentiment: traditional nostalgia and lyrical melodies move with modern rhythmic vigor, from slow to fast all in one long phrase, reflecting Suzhou's continuous cultural creativity from the ancient to the present.

— Bright Sheng