On 26 June 2018, at China's National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, also known as the National Grand Theatre, there was a gala concert Nine Magical Keynotes devoted to the 17th anniversary since the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
On this beautiful summer evening the National Grand Theatre was transformed into an SCO House, offering a warm and friendly venue for guests from the Chinese Government, ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps, cultural figures, foreign visitors, public activists and partner organisations, as well as music aficionados.
SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov welcomed most heartily all those who share the Shanghai Spirit. "We decided to mark the 17th anniversary of the organisation with the Nine Magical Keynotes gala. This project reflects the cultural interactions within the SCO. Talented pianists from SCO member states will come together in this concert like a rainbow of eight bright colours," he said.
Mr Alimov said that everyone performing in the event could be viewed as a SCO Goodwill Ambassador. "By their outstanding talent and dedication to music they convey a message of peace, goodwill and hope. Their creative work is an inspired call for stronger peace, friendship and cooperation in the times of change and a plea for cherishing human achievements," the SCO Secretary-General said.
Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, Zhang Hanhui, noted that "SCO's development trajectory could be compared to an inspiring and grandiose symphony performed by its member states, observers and dialogue partners. Just like the most excellent musicians, and guided by the Shanghai Spirit, they create harmony and when they play create the wonderful music as an expression of neighbourly relations, friendship, cooperation plus mutual benefit," Mr Zhang Hanhui pointed out, adding that he was confident that all the parties involved would implement the agreements reached at the Qingdao Summit in good faith in keeping with the Shanghai spirit, and combine their efforts to promote cooperation as well as a single vision. He went on to call for "composing a resounding symphony that would reshape international relations and build a community of a common destiny."
A marvellous Steinway&Sons concert grand was at the centre of this evening's performance, with pianists from eight SCO member states taking turns on the stage. Talgat Arakeyev from Kyrgyzstan opened the recital with a composition by Sergei Rachmaninoff. He was followed by Madina Faizieva from Uzbekistan who followed up on the Rachmaninoff theme and also performed a piece by contemporary Uzbek composer Mohammed Atadzhanov. The third pianist to perform was India's Nikhil Sardana who played popular melodies taken from the Phantom of the Opera and Bollywood films. The first part of the concert ended with Kazakhstan's Rakhat-Bi Abdysagin who performed his own works, as well as Frederic Chopin's Nocturne, which the audience was so delighted to hear.
The second part opened with a charming performance by Russia's Varvara Kutuzova who played Sergei Prokofiev, followed by Pakistan's Shahbaz Abdullah who demonstrated traditional Pakistani music. Tajikistan's Jannat Huseinzoda, the youngest pianist of the evening, gave an incredible performance of the Warsaw Concerto for piano and orchestra by Richard Addinsell.. The concert ended with a brilliant performance of pieces by prominent Chinese composers by famous pianist Tian Jiaxin from the People's Republic of China.
The audience gave the pianists a long-lasting ovation, crying out Bravo! and Encore! Each pianist received a 3D scaled-down model of the concert grand with an SCO emblem on it to remind them of the Nine Magical Keynotes project, held at the initiative of the SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov between September 2017 and May 2018 at the SCO Headquarters.