Wang inspires a future generation

Updated: 2013-04-05 11:53

By Liu Yuhan in New York (China Daily)

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 Wang inspires a future generation

Liang Wang, at his home in New York, says he wants to promote exchanges of music between China and the United States. Liu Yuhan / China Daily

When he was 7 years old, Liang Wang fell in love with the sound of the oboe watching his uncle play in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake in China. Ever since, Liang has been pursuing a career in music.

In 2007, 20 years after being enamored by the oboe, he became the first Chinese-born principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic.

Wang is still at the New York Philharmonic, which was established in 1842 and has performed in some 15,000 concerts, more than any orchestra in the world. But as a foreign-born artist living his dream in New York City, Wang is ready to pass on his knowledge to inspire young Chinese music lovers to realize their own dreams.

At the end of 2012, the New York Philharmonic and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra established a four-year partnership in collaboration with Columbia Artists Music LLC to establish the Orchestral Academy in Shanghai, which will enroll 30 students annually beginning in the fall of 2014. It also includes annual performances by the philharmonic in Shanghai through the 2017-18 season.

"It will be an overture for running the orchestra institute for highly-selective young musicians in China," Wang said.

The agreement was reached through the efforts of many visionaries from the United States and China, including philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert, chairman Gary Parr and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra director Yu Long.

At the invitation of the Shanghai government, Wang, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music as well as artistic administrator Edward Yim and principal horn Phil Myers will attend an April 7 meeting to lay out detailed plans for the academy.

The school will address a major need in Asia: specialized training of orchestra musicians.

Yu Long said it is one area that the New York Philharmonic will be exploring in the context of a global strategy. The philharmonic musicians will provide high-level training and instruction to academy students at the Shanghai Conservatory through three weeklong sessions each season, plus one session during each of the philharmonic's resident performances.

The first New York Philharmonic performance in Shanghai will take place in the summer of 2015.

"We will be in Shanghai to exchange ideas, performances and lectures on behalf of the philharmonic. We will help choose and train 30 young musicians, mostly post-graduates who we believe will have great potential to become great artists," Wang said. "I believe it will gradually raise the level of Chinese orchestras."

And he believes music can cross boundaries between different cultures.

"We are so interdependent on each other in so many ways, so it'll be in our best interest to better understand each other's culture through the exchange of culture. You know, harmony is always a good thing," he said.

(China Daily 04/05/2013 page11)