A Tribute to an Extraordinary Man - Prof. Yang Hongnian

INTERKULTUR honors the life's work of its Honorary Artistic President


Prof. Yang Hongnian (*1934 in Nanjing; † 26.07.2020 in Beijing) was a Chinese conductor, choral educator, composer and Honorary Artistic President of INTERKULTUR and the World Choir Council (WCC). He was one of the leading figures of the Chinese choral community and was among the most famous choral conductors and educators in the world: a dedicated ambassador for choral music, in which he believed lay the key to connecting people with each other and to peaceful coexistence.

In his honor, in deepest gratitude and remembrance of his person, his philosophy and his work, INTERKULTUR honors the lifetime achievements of this outstanding artist and exemplary human being with the film "A Tribute to an Extraordinary Man".

"Prof. Yang Hongnian's philosophy and conviction that especially young people should go out into the world to meet other people and thus broaden their horizons was the key for him to bring people together," said Günter Titsch, President of INTERKULTUR and the WCC, "and if you bring these people together with the help of choral music, you are at the same time doing something for peace in the world through this instrument. Dear Prof. Yang Hongnian, we will never forget you!"

Popular juror at worldwide choir competitions such as the World Choir Games

Since 2002, almost from the beginning of the World Choir Games, Prof. Yang Hongnian, with his expertise and passion for choral music, has supported the work of INTERKULTUR and especially its various educational activities for the international choral community. Through his support, the World Choir Games have also grown steadily. In Gangneung, Korea, the Olympic Games of Choral Music will see its twelfth edition in 2022.

During his first personal visit to the World Choir Games in Bremen in 2004, Prof. Yang Hongnian recognized the great impact that this event has on international understanding under the motto "Singing together brings nations together." "We will always have fond memories of him," said Günter Titsch.

"Singing is the most direct way to express human feelings" (Prof. Yang Hongnian)

Prof. Yang Hongnian described music as "the art that touches our soul the most, especially singing. Singing is the most direct way to express human feelings, and it is incredibly contagious."

Promoter of choral singing and international understanding

Unforgettable Prof. Yang Hongnian's remarkable achievements in choral pedagogy, his motto of "Love and Devotion" and his enthusiastic, graceful and extremely expressive conducting style.

Founded in the mid-1980s by Prof. Yang Hongnian, the "Beijing Philharmonic Choir", now conducted by his son, Prof. Yang Li, is still considered one of the top children's choirs in the world with performances around the globe.

As a conductor, Prof. Yang Hongnian gained worldwide reputation through numerous performances on national and international stages. He has also repeatedly served as a juror for various choral music competitions. The Honorary Artistic President of INTERKULTUR and the WCC was also elected Vice Chairman of the International Society of Children's Choral and Performing Arts (ISCCPA) three times in a row by conductors from different countries. In doing so, they paid tribute and respect to his outstanding artistic achievement. In 2014, Prof. Yang Hongnian was awarded the honorary title of 'Chinese Cultural Person'.

The international choral world misses Prof. Yang Hongnian

"In China, there is a well-known saying: all rivers flow into the sea. Prof. Yang's pedagogy has exactly this character. It is not only based on Chinese folk music", Wang Qin, 1st Vice President INTERKULTUR & WCC as well as General Director of INTERKULTUR China, describes the systematics of his choir training, "but also takes other choir cultures and uses them."

Günter Titsch, President of INTERKULTUR and the WCC, once again emphasizes the great importance that Prof. Yang Hongnian's work had, has and will have for the choral world in the future. With his passing, he said, the choral community has lost a valuable person, INTERKULTUR and the WCC a good friend and supporter. "With this film, on behalf of INTERKULTUR, the Word Choir Council and the entire choral family, we would like to bow and thank Prof. Yang Hongnian's outstanding contributions to choral singing worldwide and the love and dedication he showed to international cultural exchange."