A long-time expat resident donated his cherished Dutch-made Johannus Sweelinck 10 pipe organ to the Zhuhai Huafa & CPAA Grand Theatre this past weekend for use in art education and classical music promotion.
The benefactor, Roland Erismann, is a Swiss classical music lover from Zürich and the second expatriate in Zhuhai to receive a permanent residency permit. Active in business and industry in China since about 1996, he settled in Zhuhai in December 2011 and became a senior executive in a local enterprise.
Erismann also is a composer ("Toccata," 1970) who has been or still is involved in electronics (Zemos China Ltd) and the food industry (French macarons).
Due to aging, Erismann's hands ache whenever he plays the organ for a long time. This prompted him to consider donating it to an organization dedicated to promoting classical organ music.
Musical instruments are used to express emotions, said Erismann, who believes his beloved possession will touch people in the future, even though it will no longer be his.
Considered as the King of Musical Instruments, the pipe organ is one of the oldest keyboard players widely used in European classical music. Erismann's specimen was manufactured 20 years ago and cost him $10,000.
His Johannus Sweelinck 10 will join the Orgelbau Klais (a famous German brand) already owned by the Zhuhai Huafa & CPAA Grand Theatre and will facilitate student practices and pipe organ contests.
Johannus Sweelinck 10 [Photos courtesy nanfangplus]
At the donation ceremony, Erismann was presented with a donation certificate and named a Lifetime Honorary Spectator by the theatre.
The Zhuhai Huafa & CPAA Grand Theatre now holds more than 300 musical instruments in 30 categories, worth over 20 million yuan ($2.9 million). They include pipe organs, harpsichords, celestas, and all kinds of percussion instruments.
The musical treasures will be open to residents at the theatre's 4th anniversary performance season, which will offer a series of in-house salons, open day activities, and training sessions.