Peng Liyuan, the wife of China's President Xi Jinping, visits The Royal College of Music in London, Britain Oct 22, 2015. (Photo/Xinhua)
China's First lady Peng Liyuan, a famous folk singer in her native China, visited London's Royal College of Music today. It was founded in 1882 by the then Prince of Wales. [Special coverage]
Director Colin Lawson and Chairman Professor Lord Winston accompanied her during the visit and a group of students, including several award winners gave performances.
Chinese soprano He Wu, an RCM alumni who is now at the National Opera Studio, performed for Peng with other outstanding students including soprano Gemma Lois Summerfield, winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award, and BBC Young Musician winner pianist Martin James Bartlett.
In the last decade, the college has built strong ties with China, Chinese pianist Lang Lang is a regular visitor and received his Honorary Doctorate in 2011. According to the college, its Head of Keyboard, Professor Vanessa Latarche, is vice-chairman of Lang Lang Music World.
The college currently has 750 students from more than 60 countries studying at undergraduate, masters or doctoral level, Chinese students were especially excited by Peng's visit. First year pianist Wu Junlin said he was "very excited and a little bit nervous about performing on such an important occasion."
He has already won some prizes in major competitions across the world. "I've been in London for nearly two months and I enjoy the lifestyle here. I'm really lucky to be a student at the college and I hope to study different kinds of culture and music here."
During her visit, Peng was shown a copy of the original manuscript of Mozart's Piano Concerto in C Minor, K 491, part of a collection held by the school for more than 100 years.
Peng said in an address that music, as a noble form of art, has exceeded the boundary of nations, races, history and culture. China has many world renowned music pieces, and she urged the college to enhance communication with Chinese musical institutions and promote China-British cooperation in education and art.