Liverpool's Chinese Youth Orchestra is the largest in Europe and has been performing for over 20 years.
They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul then Mr Li soul is friendly, happy and kind. Mr Li is the conductor of the Youth Orchestra, which is the first and largest Chinese Youth Orchestra in Europe. I spent a Saturday afternoon with the Orchestra at the Pagoda Centre, in Henry Street.
The sound of children running and playing filled my ears as I entered the main hall. Mr Li spotted me, clapped his hands said a few words in Chinese the children put down their balls and skipping ropes and started to make they way into the nursery of the centre.
Mr Li clapped his hands again, the children sat at the places and picked up their instruments and started to play. A magical almost hypnotic music hit my ears, for a split second I forgot where I was. The children enjoyed showing off their talents, the discipline and expertise of the children playing their instruments was second to none, some of the children are second generation Chinese playing in the orchestra. Some as young as four playing Chinese instruments that Mr Li had customised.
Mr Li doesn't only conduct and teach the children how to play the instruments, he has also made a number of the instruments himself, as well as importing some instruments from China.
The Orchestra has been together for 20 years under the musical direction of Mr Li, they have won and outstanding performance award at the national youth festival in 1988. They have performed at the Royal Albert Hall and have made numerous television appearances.
About Mr Li
• Graduated from the Guang Dong Music Conservatiore
• Worked at the Pearl River Film Production Studio
• His musical compositions acknowledged by the Chinese Cultural Ministry
• Worked on the sound track of The Last Emperor
• Collaborated with Jah Wobble (acclaimed bassist and musical innovator)
• Album credits include ‘Heaven and Earth’ and the ‘Inspiration of William Blake’
The Chinese Youth Orchestra is rehearsing for Chinese New Year, which will happen in January 2006 (year of the dog).