The year 2023 is a remarkable one for Asian music, as artists from different countries and genres showcased their creativity and talent in various forms and platforms. From classical to pop, from film to festival, from fusion to tradition, Asian music offered something for everyone.
Here are some of the highlights of the year:
- In January, Chinese composer Tan Dun conducted the UK premiere of his work Buddha Passion at the Royal Festival Hall in London’s Southbank Centre. The six-movement oratorio, inspired by Buddhist sculptures and paintings from the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, China, featured soloists, chorus, orchestra, and traditional Chinese instruments.
- In February, Hong Kong Sinfonietta announced that German conductor Christoph Poppen will become its new music director for the 2023-2024 season. Poppen, who has previously worked with orchestras such as Munich Chamber Orchestra and Cologne Chamber Orchestra, said he was looking forward to collaborating with the Hong Kong musicians and exploring new repertoire and projects.
- In February, conductor Xian Zhang, originally from China, received two prestigious classical accolades at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards. One of the awards was for Best Classical Instrumental Solo, which she won for her contribution to Time for Three’s album “Letters for the Future.” Additionally, Zhang was honored with the Best Contemporary Classical Composition award for her role as the conductor of Kevin Puts’ piece titled “Contact.” Apart from her Grammy recognition, Zhang holds significant positions as the music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and serves as the principal guest conductor for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
- In March, Indian composer Amit Trivedi released his score and songs for the musical film Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat. The film, starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, tells the story of a struggling DJ who falls in love with a singer. The music, which blends electronic beats with traditional melodies and lyrics by Shellee, was a hit among fans and critics alike.
- In April, the Naon no Yaon Music Festival was held in Hibiya Park, Tokyo, Japan. The festival, which has been running since 2006, features an all-female line-up of rock bands and singers. This year’s edition included Show-Ya, Chiaki, Rika Matsumoto, and many others.
- In May, Japanese composer Hiroyuki Sawano released his fifth album V. The album consists of 12 tracks that showcase Sawano’s signature style of combining orchestral, rock, and electronic elements. The album also features vocalists such as Aimer, LiSA, mizuki, Tielle, and others. The album’s lead single LEMONADE was used as the theme song for the anime film The Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath of Edinburgh Part.
- In July, Taiwanese singer Jay Chou released his 15th studio album Fantasy Plus. The album is a sequel to his 2001 album Fantasy, which is considered one of his best works.
These are just some of the examples of how Asian music shone in 2023. With more artists emerging and experimenting with different styles and genres, Asian music is expected to continue to grow and diversify in the coming years.