Radio 3's Focus on China, 15-26 June
BBC Radio 3 looks east between 15 and 26 June with Focus On China, a season of programmes across the schedule exploring the music and culture of the world's most populous country, part of a pan-BBC look at China throughout the year.
Highlights include an exploration of the electronic music scene in Shanghai in Hear And Now and two World Routes programmes examining the traditional music in some of China's most remote regions.
The season also includes an examination of the Chinese media on Night Waves and two weeks of China-themed talks on The Essay, by Robert Macfarlane and Patrick Wright.
Petroc Trelawny travels to Beijing for Music Matters to examine the state of classical music in modern China.
Western classical music has had a chequered history in China. Despite the dictates of Chairman Mao to eradicate the art form in the Cultural Revolution there has been an unprecedented growth in classical music, which has now become a symbol of the burgeoning middle classes.
Music Matters looks at the attitudes to classical music, both in the home and the concert hall, talking to musicians, publishers and journalists in Beijing.
In two World Routes programmes Lucy Duran explores the music and culture of two of the country's most remote regions.
She travels to the far south-west of China to meet musicians of the Yi and Hani ethnic minorities in Yunnan Province, high up in the mountains near the borders with Vietnam, Laos and Burma. Here instruments are made from grass and used to accompany songs born in the world's most spectacular paddy fields.
Lucy meets polyphonic (multi-voice) performers whose art is dying out as the indigenous population migrates to the cities.
Lucy also travels to China's largest province, Xinjiang, to meet the Uyghur people, then heads to the ancient Silk Road town of Kashgahr to record the region's most famous music, Mugam, and onwards into the desert where the music and weather become wilder and wilder.
In Sunday Feature: The Red Piano Factory Petroc Trelawny visits the Pearl River Piano Factory in Guangzhou. Once a small chain of repair shops, it now has claims to be the largest manufacturer of pianos in the world.
Petroc follows a day in the life of the factory and investigates the growth in popularity of the piano in China, where an estimated 30-80 million children are now learning the instrument.
Children and teachers caught in the grip of "piano fever" are among the contributors, alongside internationally renowned pianists Fou Ts'ong and Liu Shikun, whose career was cut short by the Cultural Revolution.
The Essay will have two weeks of China-themed talks, English Takeaway and Wild China.
Cultural and political writer Patrick Wright presents English Takeaway: Reflections On The Anglo-Chinese Encounter, four essays exploring historical episodes of Chinese engagement with Britain, interpreting their significance for mutual understanding – and misunderstanding.
Patrick examines how cultural stereotypes have been reinforced over the years, from the Great Exhibition of 1851 to the literature of Dickens, Thomas Burke, the "Yellow Peril" of Sax Rohmer's Dr Fu Manchu and Chiang Yee's Silent Traveller. He also looks at the response to the "liberation" of mainland China in 1949 and the new Maoist government.
In Wild China nature and travel writer Robert Macfarlane takes four journeys in Beijing and beyond to find what remains of wild China as the country industrialises at an astonishing pace.
His travels see him take a dip with the ice swimmers of Lake Houhai and explore an un-restored section of the Great Wall where nature is doing what the Mongols never did, by colonising the great man-made fence.
Robert also undertakes a mountain pilgrimage to one of the most dazzling wild places in China – the high peak of Minya Konka.
Hear And Now
Hear And Now presents two City Reports on the vibrant new music scenes in Shanghai and Beijing.
In Shanghai Robert Worby explores the growth of electronic music in both the academic confines of the conservatory and the underground "noise" scene.
Robert talks to key movers in the scene, discovering how the music has developed since the "thaw" after the Cultural Revolution and how composers are combining traditional instruments with electronic sounds.
He also experiences the music first hand at an unofficial underground club.
In Beijing, Robert attends a concert specially devised for Hear And Now by the Beijing New Music Ensemble at the Capital Normal University.
It features music from three generations of Chinese composers – from 70-year-old Gao Weijie, part of the "lost generation" who went underground during Mao's time, to Zhang Shouwang, a 20-something composer whose piece is inspired by the incessant rhythms of modern Beijing's downtown traffic.
Night Waves will explore the state of the media in modern China. The Chinese media has changed beyond recognition over the last 20 years, but how much influence does the government have on the news agenda?
Isabel Hilton reports from Beijing, talking to journalists, editors, academics, lawyers and commentators about the health and stability of the media in China today.
In a separate programme, Philip Dodd speaks to the movers and shakers of the Chinese intelligentsia.
Other programmes in the season
Performance on 3 will broadcast a concert recorded in Beijing by the China Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yu Long and two concerts by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christoph König with Nicola Benedetti on violin, recorded in Beijing and Hangzhou on their 2008 tour of China
Afternoon on 3 will feature a concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Muhai Tang with music by Bright Sheng, Tan Dun, Qigang and Musheng Chen
A performance by the BBC Singers with songs by Chen Yi
A concert by the Gu Feng Ensemble conducted by Jason Lai with pianist Jin Ju
Music performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra on their tour of China in 2006
Words And Music: A Chinese Anthology explores 15 centuries of Chinese poetry with Chinese classical and folk music as well as Western music influenced by Chinese culture.