Business elite releasing music album: Yan Yu and her “Silent Hopes” 出专辑的商务精英——颜瑜和她的《沉默的希望》

Yan Yu was a Business English major at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. During her master’s degree, she studied International Management with European Studies at the University of Exeter, and also International Business at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. She has also won the “Enterprising Award” of the Ministry of Commerce, People’s Republic of China, and the “Future Business Elite Award” of the Xinhua Economic Information Daily. She has also received the EU Erasmus+ Master Scholarship. Now she is working for a fortune 500 company.

With such an outstanding business background, it is difficult to associate Yan Yu with music composing. But in April, 2020, Yan Yu’s first album of original music, Silent Hopes, was published and sold in Xinhua Bookstores, the largest and only country-wide bookstore chain brand in China. In the album, nine pieces of light music and an original musical excerpt are included. A song “Breath from Venus” in the album was choreographed into a ballet show and will be performed by Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet at the end of November, 2020.

Yan Yu’s first original music album, Silent Hopes, was released in April

With “bread” to start the music life

Yan Yu told reporters that it was one after another “bread” that opened the door of her music life, and led to today’s success of publishing an album.

“Now, parents generally pay more attention to their children’s talents. But for my generation, when I was just a young kid, parents were all ‘pragmatic’. My parents had a high expectation of my academic performance, and because they thought music learning is a waste of my study time, they wouldn’t agree on my request to study music. My first big investment in music learning actually came from my own savings.”

Every morning she paid one yuan for two pieces of bread, one for breakfast and one for lunch. She secretly saved all the extra meals, and went to the piano school to pay the first instalment tuition for piano classes. That was how Yan Yu’s music life was started. A little girl’s persistence toward her music dreams, a “silent hope”. Little Yan Yu gained admiration and respect from all the adults around her, so her parents and teachers also started to pay attention to her music training.

In addition to the study of piano and cello, as Yan Yu’s voice conditions are good, she was also selected by a vocal music teacher to learn Bel Canto. After only one year of study, Yan Yu successfully passed the Bel Canto Level 8 examination of the China Conservatory of Music. Yan Yu told reporters with a smile that although she seldom has the opportunity to sing Bel Canto now, her love for it has not diminished at all. Over the years, she has been creating musicals. In this album, an excerpt of an original musical, written and sung by Yan was also included.

Yan Yu being interviewed by Zhejiang TV3 Economic Life Channel to share her music composing experience

The original purpose of composing music is filial piety

Yan Yu first decided to produce an original music piece when she was studying in UK. Yan Yu, who was far away from homeland, was unable to present her mother a birthday gift. Then she decided to compose a cello song to her parents. Her father gave the song a poetic name — “Girl in the Faraway Land”, symbolizing Yan Yu, his daughter who was studying abroad. This piece representing homesickness for parents is the first original piece in the album.

If someone had told her that she would release her first original music album four years later, she says with a smile, she wouldn’t have believed it but only to stay focus on her business books. Even with her first piece of music completed, composing remained to be only a hobby in her spare time.

However, even though it was just a hobby, Yan Yu still worked hard on it. She read more than ten books related to composing theory, and kept her creative attitude all the time.

The reporter noticed that the beginning of this year was actually a productive period of Yan Yu’s compositions, when the epidemic was at its worst.

“One of the sayings that was popular on the internet struck me: How you spend your time during the pandemic is a reflection of how you will spend your life. Everyone has to stay at home, and we can take this special time to finish the dreams that we have been pursuing for. This could be a watershed. Should I give it a try or just let it drift along?”

Inspired by this concept, Yan Yu used the time she saved from the pandemic to polish her previous compositions, all of which were eventually included in the album.

Boundary-crossing life, a new wonderful life style

Although Yan Yu has followed the traditional route of school learning since she was a child, focusing on business all the way, she still presents a strong temperament of artist. She said with a smile that as she often shared her music pieces and became a student at the Copenhagen Ballet Academy while studying in Denmark, many of her friends could not even tell whether she was a business or music or ballet major.

“I was greatly influenced by the experience when I was studying in the UK. ‘Boundary-crossing’ is not a strange thing for a student, but common. One of my German classmates at University of Exeter has a same business background as mine, but he is also an excellent pianist. He has given concerts in many European cities. In our spare time, we discussed composing techniques together.”

Yan Yu says that being in this “boundary-crossing” background, composing music has become natural for her.

“One day, when I was busy at work, all of a sudden a beautiful melody came into my mind. I had to run to the bathroom immediately to record it; and another day, when I was standing on the street, a gust of wind blew into my ears, and following that, a melody also came into my mind. I smiled and thought, was I the composer, or the wind the composer?”

Exploring and trying new things in different fields have become an important part of Yan Yu’s life. “Where there is life, there is creation,” says Yan Yu. As the album has been published, Yan Yu hopes that the next milestone in her musical career will be to stage her own original musical.

出专辑的商务精英——美女音乐家的超酷跨界人生!

颜瑜,本科就读于广东外语外贸大学商务英语专业,硕士就读于英国埃克塞特大学国际管理与欧洲研究专业,以及丹麦哥本哈根商学院国际商务专业。中华人民共和国商务部“进取奖”、 新华社经济参考报社“未来商务精英奖”、 欧盟Erasmus+硕士奖学金获得者。现任职于一世界500强外企。

这一份出色的商科背景,让人很难将颜瑜与音乐创作联系在一起。然而今年4月,颜瑜的第一张原创音乐专辑《沉默的希望》出版面世,并进驻新华书店。专辑中收录了九首轻音乐作品及一首原创音乐剧选段。其中,《维纳斯的呼吸》一曲被编为芭蕾舞,即将登陆加拿大温尼伯皇家芭蕾舞团的舞台。

用“包子”开启的音乐人生

颜瑜告诉记者,她是从一个个“包子”走到今天专辑出版这一步的。

“与现在的家长普遍注重孩子才艺学习的观念不同,我小的时候,家长们都是比较‘务实’的,父母对我的在校成绩寄予厚望,认为音乐会占用我的学习时间,所以我的音乐诉求并没有被重视。我在音乐学习方面投资的‘第一桶金’,是我自己存来的。”

每天早上花一块钱买两个包子,早餐一个,午餐一个,把多余的餐费全部偷偷存起来,自己跑去琴行交了第一期钢琴课的学费,这就是颜瑜音乐人生的开端,一个小女孩对音乐梦想的倔劲,一份“沉默的希望”。小颜瑜让身边所有成年人刮目相看,也让父母和老师注重起了对她的音乐培养。

除了钢琴和大提琴这两项乐器外,颜瑜也因本身声音条件过人而被挑选,跟随声乐老师学习美声唱法。仅仅用了一年时间的学习,颜瑜便成功考取了中国音乐学院美声八级。颜瑜笑着告诉记者,虽然现在少有唱美声的机会,但是她对美声的热爱丝毫没有减退,甚至一直以来都有在创作音乐剧。这次出版的专辑中便收录了一首由颜瑜作曲、作词,并亲自演唱的音乐剧选段。

作曲初衷源于孝心

颜瑜第一次真正决定要制作一首原创曲子,是在英国求学的时候。远在异乡的颜瑜无法为母亲送上生日礼物,她便想到了要写一首大提琴曲献给父母。曲子最后由父亲起了一个颇具诗意的名字——“远方的她”,象征着在异国他乡求学的女儿。这首写给父母的乡愁之曲,便是专辑中的第一首原创音乐。

但颜瑜也笑道,如果当时有人告诉她,四年之后你会出版第一张个人原创音乐专辑,她只会一笑置之,并不相信,转而埋头看自己的商科书籍。即便创作了第一首作品,原创音乐对当时的她而言也更像是一种闲时修身养性的爱好。

但即使只当作爱好,颜瑜也还是拿出了她那种全力以赴的干劲,一口气研读了十数本跟作曲理论相关的书籍, 并一直保持着创作。

而记者留意到,正是今年年初,疫情闹得最凶的时候,是颜瑜原创音乐作品的高产期。

“当时网上流行的一个说法给了我很深刻的印象:你怎么度过疫情,你就怎么度过一生。大家都被困在家里,平时觉得没有时间静下心来做的事情,是不是可以利用这段特殊时间做起来?这就是分水岭,是发奋图强,还是得过且过?”

正是受了这种观念的启发,颜瑜便利用起因禁足而节省下来的时间,将自己之前所有未发行的作品拿出来,重新细细打磨,最后悉数被收录在专辑中。

跨界的人生演绎不一样的精彩

虽然自小便走传统的升学路线,一路以来主攻商科方向,但颜瑜身上依然有浓烈的艺术家气质。她笑道,因为时常分享自己的音乐作品,在丹麦留学时又同时成为哥本哈根芭蕾学院的学员,身边很多朋友甚至都搞不清楚颜瑜到底是个商科学生,还是音乐系学生,又亦或是芭蕾系学生。

“在国外留学时的经历对我的影响很大,‘跨界’对于一个学生来讲不仅不是奇怪的事情,反而是常见的。我在英国商学院里的一位德国同学,同样的商科背景,却也是一个出色的钢琴演奏家,曾经在欧洲多地举办演奏会,课余的时候我们也会一起探讨作曲技法。”

颜瑜谈到,正是因为一直处于这种“跨界”的背景里,作曲对她而言反倒成为了一件水到渠成的事情。

“我曾经试过在忙碌工作的时候,脑子里突然就响起一段旋律,只能立即跑到洗手间把它记录下来;也试过站在马路边上,一阵风吹来,几句好听的旋律也突然随之涌进脑子里,我当时就笑着想,以后曲子做出来了,到底我是作曲家,抑或风是作曲家?”

在不同的领域里进行探索和尝新,俨然已经成为了颜瑜生命中重要的一部分,她表示:“生命不息,创作不止”。专辑出版后,颜瑜希望自己在音乐道路上的下一个里程碑,便是可以把自己的音乐剧搬上舞台。

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