‘For my sixteenth birthday, in 1966, my elder brother gave me a copy of Si Yeou Ki, and I was fascinated. I read the book, and reread it with the idea of putting it to music. But it took me 53 years to embark on the voyage, no doubt because I had to complete my journey as a composer before venturing into the music to accompany the journey of initiation of the Monk San Ts’ang (Xuanzang).
My goal was to write music for dance expressing the poetry of the original text and conveying spiritual elevation by facing the ordeals. This French composer begs indulgence for being so bold as to take on such a monument of Chinese literature.’
– Laurent Petitgirard
The eclectic career of multi award-winning composer Laurent Petitgirard has seen him become one of France’s leading musicians and conductors, as well as taking him into the worlds of opera and ballet. The Journey to the West is a ballet that tells the story of a monk named Xuanzang who is sent on a perilous journey of redemption from China to India in order to seek out the scriptures of Truth in the Land of Buddha. The ordeals of Xuanzang and his companions are expressed in music that reflects the poetry and spiritual elevation found in this great monument of Chinese literature.
Laurent Petitgirard’s career as a composer of symphonic music, operas and film music is matched by his activities as an international guest conductor. His concertos have been performed and recorded by eminent soloists including Augustin Dumay, Gary Hoffmann, Gérard Caussé, Emmanuel Pahud, Marie-Pierre Langlamet and Michel Supéra. Music director of the Orchestre Colonne in Paris from 2005 to 2018, and the Orchestre symphonique français from 1988 to 1997, Petitgirard has recorded over 40 albums.
The Hungarian Symphony Orchestra Budapest is one of the finest orchestras in Hungary, well known for its excellent recordings, concerts and tours. As well as concerts in Hungary and abroad, the orchestra is regularly invited to undertake international tours. Studio recordings are also an important part of its work. The orchestra has worked with Laurent Petitgirard on numerous occasions, with recordings on Naxos including his opera Guru, The Little Prince ballet suite and States of Mind.