British Council and PRS For Music Foundation's flagship music programme Musicians in Residence China is one of the most influential programmes in China.
The residencies are designed to enable innovative British musicians who are looking for international experience to explore new musical territory, reach new audiences and write new material in the context of a changing international market.
In 2019, the British Council established two new and long-term strategic partnerships with XINTIANDI and World Music Asia in China, creating the possibility for our musicians to also perform at the World Music Festival each September in Shanghai.
Fruitful results of residencies
Started since November in 2011, up till now there has been five residency schemes. The programme receives in total up to 20 musicians covering Chinese cities namely Hangzhou, Chengdu, Xi'an, Xiamen, Kunming, Nanjing, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, Chongqing, Suzhou, Lanzhou, Guangxi Province and Hong Kong.
Cathy Graham, British Council Director of Music, said: “I’m delighted that the British Council and PRS for Music Foundation’s Chinese Residency project once again support a talented and diverse group of UK-based musicians to benefit from a rare opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture and to benefit from the creative relationships that the experience will bring. Having seen the positive impact that the Residency programme has had on the work of musicians taking part previously, I am excited to see what lasting benefits the experience in their respective cities will have on the artists.”
MUSICIANS IN RESIDENCE, CHINA FROM IMOGEN HEAP TO EMMY THE GREAT
The first iteration of the Musicians in Residence, China programme began in 2011 with Imogen Heap, Matthew Bourne, Jamie Woon and Gareth Bonello. Since then, residents have included Anna Meredith, Arun Ghosh, Oliver Coates, Sam Genders, Sid Peacock, Bella Hardy, Kerry Andrew, Mira Calix, Quinta, David Lyttle, Emmy The Great, FEMME, Jasmin Rodgman and Love Ssega.
The residencies have inspired each artist differently. Imogen Heap included the track "XiZi She Knows", composed during her time in Hangzhou, on her 2014 album Sparks. In 2013 Gareth Bonello released the album Y Bardd Anfarwol, combining Welsh and Chinese folk music to tell the life story of the Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai, which won Welsh Album of the Year at the 2014 National Eisteddfod, and was nominated for the 2014 Welsh Music Prize. The track “Little Wonder”, on Jamie Woon’s Mercury nominated album Making Time (2016), was inspired by his time in China on the residency. David Lyttle's Arts and Recreation podcast tells the story of his travels through China and he has returned to the country several times since his residency. Bella Hardy’s Eternal Spring brings together music and poetry (and a film) inspired by her experiences in Yunnang. Following her residency, Emmy The Great now splits her time living in London and Hong Kong and is working on a new album inspired by her time on an island filled with pianos in Xiamen: "one of the most extraordinary, immersive experiences of my life," she says.
Laura Snapes, an editor from the influential online music magazine Pitchfork published an article on Musicians in Residence, China. The article overviewed the four rounds of the programme and listed some wonderful moments from different residencies. Please click here to read the article.
About PRS for Music Foundation
PRS for Music Foundation is the UK's leading funder of new music across all genres. Since 2000 the Foundation has awarded over £14 million to more than 4,000 new music projects. Widely respected as an adventurous and proactive funding body, PRS for Music Foundation supports an exceptional range of new music activity by awarding grants and leading partnership programmes that support the development of new music in the UK.