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The Theme of the Year

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At the moment when the COVID-19 pandemic is still spreading around the world and leading to an atmosphere full of isolation and precariousness, the warm and inclusive power of music is even more important, because music allows people to live like human beings. All art is telling the stories of people, and music is no exception. Taiwan seems to have successfully kept the COVID-19 virus at bay, but in a busy and fast-moving society, we must learn how to maintain the temperature of life, remember who we are, and get to know how to use our life to create aesthetics. All of these are issues across generations.

The 2021 Tainan International Music Festival (TIMF) will use "Song of Life" as its main theme for the year. It is hoped that music will provide support and hope in this downturn and use art to enable people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to feel the dignity and love of human beings, the temperature of being a human being, and the touch of sharing.

In the post-COVID-19 pandemic era when national borders are still closed, we rethink the definition of "international". In the past, when you mentioned "international", you would think of foreign teams with foreign faces. In this era of globalization, there are countless cases of Taiwanese musicians shining on the international stage. During the preparation period for this music festival, we set out with the principle of "local is international"; thus we checked out all our files to sort out those who are considered “the pride of Taiwan” and consequently invited those musicians living abroad who have won international awards, top domestic musicians, important seniors in Taiwan's music industry, domestic music teams and symphony orchestras with huge international potential. In the opening concert of this music festival, we will even pioneer a series of programs, in which 12 international piano competition winners will be invited to perform 6 pianos at the same time, demonstrating their unprecedented and extremely crazy piano-playing techniques and skills. It is hoped that this music festival will give music fans a glimpse of the “Taiwan Voice” that is internationally acclaimed!

In addition to the wonderful performances in many concert halls, this time, a variety of promotional programs will be launched in conjunction with the unique landscape of Tainan, allowing people to enjoy classical music more easily. In the "Church Concert" held at the Thai-peng-keng Maxwell Memorial Church, the century-old pipe organ, the first of its kind in Taiwan, will be played. In the "Candlelight Concert" held at the Tainan Art Museum, which is endowed with ancient and modern aesthetics, a music feast will be co-created to treat both your visual and auditory sensations. In the wild woods and ecologically rich Tainan Shan Shang Garden and Old Waterworks Museum, a "Forest Concert" will be held to make you feel the duet between music and nature. And the "Puzangalan Hope Choir" will be invited to give a performance at Tainan Public Library. In addition, there will be a "Classical Music Broadcasting Project" to make classical music ubiquitous for your enjoyment this coming fall!

"What can music bring to mankind?" How can we learn to listen again through music? This is an eternal topic for musicians. Due to the global lockdown in the era of COVID-19 pandemic, we are forced to explore, reflect, reshape, and change inward again. What impact can music, as a carrier of art, have on contemporary society?

We live in a fast-moving society. In today’s information explosion, there is a lot of noise in the world, and all kinds of sounds are ubiquitously beating our eardrums along with the Internet and streaming. Our ears are already tired and numb and even gradually take daily noises for granted, and slowly lose their perception and ability to recognize beautiful sounds.
Listening is the beginning of witnessing sound, communicating and speaking, and perceiving music. It is hoped that through this music festival as a bridge connecting all people in society, we can re-listen to the voices of different people. With the temperature of music and the mission of musicians, before the music is played, we can listen to the voices of each other, the land, and society together. We are convinced that the power of listening, just like music, can add tender love and light to the world.

Going through this COVID-19 pandemic, we will better understand the importance of culture and cultural workers and know clearly what we are losing. Through the performances and creations of musicians and artists and under the touch and enlightenment of artistic energy, we can examine our own lives from a more diverse perspective, and we can also be more courageous in facing the nakedness of emotions. We can even feel, reflect, analyze and communicate mentally with our emotions when they flow in our body. We can understand and accept the past with a broader mind and look to the future in a new way.


TIMF / Artistic Director
Pianist Eva Yulin Shen