The Artistic Engagement Program-China (AEP-China), co-founded by Volkswagen Group China and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, was officially launched in early 2017. AEP-China focuses on the concepts of “youth”, “the art of music” and “throughout China”, and aims to gather and link young Chinese people through sustainable musical programs and experience activities at home and abroad, inspiring perceptions of and participation in the arts.
In 2019, the “Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Cultural Development Foundation - Volkswagen Fund for Youth Musical and Artistic Education” was established to support AEP-China, creating more opportunities for young people to understand music, art and culture. This is done through programs such as the M.A.P. Class, Very Young Composers Program, and Guangdong International Youth Music Week, as well as the teaching activities of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra Shanghai, the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker, and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, among others.
So far, the program has made full use of the artistic and cultural resources of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and top art academies both at home and abroad. With a group of globally influential artists, including the conductor Yu Long, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and first concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Noah Bendix-Balgley, AEP-China provides a platform to engage professional troupes across the country, and promote musical education and artistic activities to young people. To date, more than 70,000 people have participated in the program.
AEP-China collaborated with influential artists
One of AEP-China’s Key Programs – The M.A.P. Class
In 2016, the Theatertreffen, a top-level cultural German Theatre festival, fully supported by Volkswagen Group China, brought its outstanding works to China for the "Berlin Theatre Festival in China". The aim of the project was to create more opportunities for the public to participate in cultural and artistic endeavors, and to actively promote cultural communication between China and Germany. The same year, VGC supported the Sino-German Youth Exchange Celebration Concert and the China Youth Music Competition . The awards were aligned with the well-known German youth music competition "Jugend musiziert", and were aimed at provide young Chinese musicians with the opportunity to perform on the national stage.
As a driving force for Sino-German exchange, Volkswagen Group China supported the Deutschland 8 art exhibition in 2017, the largest ever exhibition of German contemporary art in China. A total of 320 artworks from 55 German artists were on display. During the exhibition, Volkswagen Group China provided a shuttle service connecting some of the museums, ran special programs for its employees and their children, launched social media activities and offered free tickets. The purpose was to bring art to a broader audience, and to further strengthen communication and exchange between China and Germany. As one of the most important contributors to the "Deutschland 8" art exhibition, famous German photographer Andreas Mühe received full support from VGC, providing him with the opportunity to hold his first solo exhibition in China in 2018.
In 2018, Volkswagen Group China, together with well-known conductor Yu Long, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and many internationally renowned musicians, held the Deutsche Grammophon’s 120th anniversary gala concert at the Imperial Ancestral Temple, where VGC and Yellow Lounge brought classical music into modern clubs for its China debut. This created a refreshing musical experience for the public and through innovative means, provided a brand-new perspective on classical music. As one of the warm-up events for the concert, VGC also held the "Art x Tech" panel at its headquarters in Beijing, in collaboration with the Karajan Institute. The panel featured experts in the fields of tech and music discussing how the future of mobility and technology can connect with that of art and culture.
“Deutschland 8: Deutsche Kunst in China” Art Exhibition