First Encounters: Musical Journeys from the Dawn of the Global Age

What does a concert at the court of the Kangxi Emperor (reigned 1662–1722) sound like? Find out from this live performance presented by Divertissements Chinois, here at the V&A.

+44 (0)20 7942 2000
  • V&A South Kensington

    Cromwell Road
    London, SW7 2RL

  • Room 44

  • Free event

First Encounters: Musical Journeys from the Dawn of the Global Age photo

In 1601 the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1552–1610) was invited to visit the court of the Wanli Emperor (reigned 1572–1620). One of the gifts Ricci brought was a harpsichord which proved to be in his own words ‘sensational’. For the next two centuries, as numerous points of contact developed between China and Europe, music was a constant witness and musicians travelled in both directions across continents.

This performance is based on recent research into musical encounters between the two cultures in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including music which we think may have been performed in China by Teodorico Pedrini (1671–1746), an Italian priest resident in Beijing, as well as those by various seventeenth-century Chinese sources. It also includes transcriptions of Chinese music by European visitors such as Jean Joseph Marie Amiot (1718–93), French Jesuit priest and translator who worked for the Qianlong Emperor (reigned 1736–95).

This performance is presented by DIVERTISSEMENTS CHINOIS
Phlippa Hyde: soprano
Agnes Chin: guzheng
Diane Moore: baroque violin M
WIlliam Summers: baroque flute
Yeo Yat-Soon: harpsichord

Supported by the Continuo Foundation.