Yilan International Art Festival

Yilan City boasts culture and Yilan International Art Festival (YIAF). The festival, the brainchild of Mayor Chiang Tsung-yuan, was held for the first time in 2015 to build bridges of cooperation with the countries of the world and make Yilan's dream of becoming an international cultural capital come true, all through an exchange of musical art.

The festival meets participants at the airport and offers them a platform for cooperation and interaction with artistic groups and musicians from around the world. In 2015, the first year of the festival, we collaborated with the Philippines' National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and our common goal was achieved. Participating groups got a chance not just to meet but also to get to know one another through exchange. They have subsequently taken the friendships they made to other corners of the world.

The two missions of the festival are: to build bridges of world peace, and to bring the world to Taiwan and Taiwan to the world. In the service of these two missions, or core values, we hope that the YIAF can serve as a platform of exchange for musicians and art groups of different nationalities.

The festival, organized by the Formosa Melody Music Center, invites contemporary musicians and administrative personnel to cooperate in the hopes of generating international energy for local musical groups, cultivating professional artists, not to mention professional administrative teams, that Yilan needs for international events and sustainable development.

The festival logo consisting of two colored arcs, signifying wholeness and integration, forms the "Gong". The "Gong", a symbol of luck, power, and creation, symbolizes the festival's spirit. The big, low, and sonorous sound of a "Gong" embodies the dissemination far and wide of the festival's values. The refined steel of the Gong represents the Taiwanese spirit, and also the Yilan spirit. The festival was founded in the hopes of integrating different cultures to advance the understanding and acceptance through music, making a lasting contribution to world peace.

Let's Create a Brilliant Chapter in History
Chiang, Tsung-Yuan - Mayor of City Government of Yilan

2015 Yilan International Art Festival went a long way in promoting cultural exchange, and in an effort to build on that progress, this year's events started with cultural literacy programs, as we invited renowned local musical artists to perform in schools. Ensembles from Japan, Philippines, Spain, and Iran also took the stage around Yilan City as a warm-up for this year's Festival. Also, we invited a Belgian artist to draw creative pictures on pianos. This string of activities was held not to put on a one-off show, but to help initiate a long-term change.

The 2016 Yilan International Art Festival boasts ensembles from France, America, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, China, Nicaragua, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Besides, based on the theme of the Festival, "Bringing the World to Taiwan, Promoting Taiwan to the World", we partnered with a domestic maker of pianos, Heart One Company, to create pianos bearing special drawings that are associated with Yilan. Yilan is a city rich in culture and history. A governor in charge of Taiwan from Qing dynasty even remarked that Yilan's cultural ethos was at the top of Taiwan. How we can move further on this foundation and help Yilan City transform into an international cultural hub is a significant question facing people in Yilan.

We are writing history for this generation. Our faiths and beliefs may be different, but what unites us is stronger than what divides us. We hope that through the universal language of music, different cultures will communicate and interact with one another to achieve better understanding and inclusiveness, and hopefully a better and more peaceful world will ensue.

Chiang, Tsung-Yuan
Mayor of City Government of Yilan


Music Builds a Bridge Between Taiwan and the World
Co-Festival Director

In troubled times, people of different nationalities and ethnicities have to find ways to get to know one another and respect one another. That is where music, our common tongue, a language people speak around the world, comes in. With its precious power to touch people's hearts, music builds bridges of mutual understanding between people and nations.

Last year's Yilan International Art Festival (YIAF) fulfilled a longstanding dream of the Formosa Melody Music Center and advanced the ideal of turning Yilan into an international cultural city. The success of the festival is the pride of Yilan. In 2015, we saw over a hundred musicians from over ten countries living, performing, sharing and also praying together, when everyone went to Yilan's historic Mazu Temple to light incense. Praying together in the temple did not mean they gave up their own beliefs, but was a demonstration of mutual respect. The friendship that flowered may encourage them to visit each other's countries and perform; this would show even more clearly the festival's value as a world stage.

The bridge that the music festival builds brings the world to Taiwan and Taiwan to the world. This is the festival's core value. This year we have teamed up with the Heart One Piano Company, incorporating two pianos (made in Taiwan) with traditional Taiwanese opera. We also have invited a Belgian painter to paint pianos. In the closing, 10 painted pianos will be featured for a performance together with all the participating performing groups in the festival. In this way we hope to bring some international flavor to the traditional culture of Yilan. We are making history for Yilan, hoping that this year's triumph is a springboard to even greater heights in the future. Every musician is an important spiritual architect. We hope that the musicians who participate in the music festival will return to their countries and create and disseminate a message of respect, so that the power of music can tear down the fences of borders and languages that divide us and make a contribution to the spiritual needs we all have for a stable – and of course musical and colorful – life.

Co-Festival Director李建興