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Event review Hangzhou, April 28, 2021

The world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival Switzerland celebrated its launch in Hangzhou, China, at a media event on April 23. In the beautiful Kempinski Hotel Hangzhou – the hotel kindly offered their premises for the event – more than 200 Chinese and Swiss dignitaries, partners, friends and media representatives gathered to learn about the Montreux Jazz Festival China.

The Montreux Jazz Festival takes place every summer in Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Created in 1967 by Claude Nobs, a man who is respected by musicians all around the world, the Montreux Jazz Festival has become one of the world’s most famous events over the years, generating fantastic stories and legendary performances. The Montreux Jazz Festival is coming to China for the very first time in 2021 – and the Montreux Jazz Festival China (MJFC) will take place from October 4 to 8, 2021, in the beautiful city of Hangzhou. Just like the Montreux Jazz Festival, this great music event will feature some of the world’s best musicians and bring an unsurpassed musical journey to China – a first even for China’s music enthusiasts.

We were very honored that Mr. Olivier Zehnder, Consul General of Switzerland in Shanghai, opened the event with a welcome speech. He explained that the Montreux Jazz Festival holds a special place in the hearts of many music lovers worldwide and is especially dear to Swiss people like him, who grew up on the shores of Lake Geneva. The Consul General pointed out that the current situation is difficult for all people and sectors, but especially so for the creators of culture and art. He was very happy to learn that the MJF is coming to China, and he and Mr. Bernardino Regazzoni, Swiss Ambassador to China, will attend the Festival in October. The Consul General elaborated that art is a powerful force to form bonds between people. He mentioned last year’s 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationships between Switzerland and China; the friendship between the two countries is profound and marked by respect.

The Consul General wishes the organizing committee of MJFC all the best, and he is convinced that together with the strong support from the esteemed Chinese partners, the Festival will be a success.

Mr. Mathieu Jaton, CEO of Montreux Jazz Festival, greeted the audience via video link from Montreux in Switzerland, pointing out that «this is a big day for the Montreux Jazz Festival». After a short welcome speech by Mr. Ernst-Jan Tolen, President of MJFC, in which he thanked all Swiss and Chinese partners for their help and support to bring the Festival to China, the stage belonged to Mr. WANG Rui, President of the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music.

The Zhejiang Conservatory of Music (ZJCM) in Hangzhou is the main strategic partner and co-organizer of the MJFC. The ZJCM is one of China’s leading music universities with cutting-edge technological infrastructure and a fantastic campus. Amongst others, this partnership includes the organization and promotion of the MJFC as well as an academic collaboration to promote and support young Chinese and international talents, fostering the cooperation of the ZJCM with international music conservatories, exchange programs with these universities, and the development of a MJFC hub for Art Song, the highly exclusive art form combining music and literature. Together, the ZJCM and the MJFC will research and invest in groundbreaking audio technology and venture into new music education fields.

Dr. Felix Moesner, President of Swissnex, Consul of Science and Technology of the Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai, introduced the Swissnex Dome and its innovative audio-visual-immersive technology. Swissnex in China, a network of education, research, innovation and art outposts aimed at connecting Switzerland with the world's innovation hubs, is the official innovation partner of MJFC. The organization will play an important role in implementing the digital strategy of the MJFC and will install the super cool Swissnex dome at the festival site. Moesner’s presentation was crowned by the signing of a «Letter of intent» regarding the future cooperation between MJFC, Swissnex in China, and the ZJCM.

The venue of the festival is the newly renovated historical and ecological Yangbei Lake Wetland Park in Hangzhou’s Fuyang District. This venue offers MJFC the perfect location to hold a music festival of its quality and size, and the venue is ideally located in terms of transportation, so that festival visitors can easily get there. MJFC is very grateful to the leaders of the Fuyang District for providing this perfect venue and was honored by the attendance of Ms. XIA Fen, Member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Hangzhou Fuyang District, who explained «her» district, as well as the history and the future of the Yangbei Lake Wetland Park.

After this official first part, the event was all about the most important part of any music festival: the music and the artists. Mr. Ted Lo, music director of MJFC, and Mr. Kent Poon, Chief Technology Officer of MJFC, delighted the audience with a high-tech recording of some of Hongkong’s most famous Jazz artists – bringing a first spirit of Montreux to Hangzhou. The Dutch jazz queen Laura Figy and Chinese Pianist Lang Lang sent their greetings, and members of the Inner-Mongolian Rock Band Hanggai addressed the audience in person. The media event, attended by more than 40 Chinese and international journalists from print, online and TV, ended with a lavish buffet, offered by Kempinski Hotel Hangzhou. Last but not least, also the Hanggai-Rockstars enjoyed a good bottle of Appenzeller Bier.

The whole team of MJFC expresses its thanks and deep gratitude to all persons who participated in this memorable event and to the Swiss and Chinese government authorities who support us along this exciting journey. We are very much looking forward to the future collaboration with all our partners and are working hard to bring the best musicians to the stage in October. The final line-up of the artists will be published in the coming months.

We would like to say a very special «thank you» to all media representatives who attended the event and have reported so positively about the MJFC.

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