Top Chinese violinist remembers New York

Updated: 2014-11-06 12:30

By Niu Yue in New York(China Daily USA)

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Top Chinese violinist remembers New York 

Violinist Lyu Siqing fondly recalls being a student in New York. Provided to China Daily

The scene was a hotel room in New York's Empire Hotel. Seated in a chair in front of about 10 reporters, photographers and TV cameras was Lyu Siqing, one of China's top violinists.

Twenty five years earlier and just two blocks from the hotel, Lyu was a student at the Julliard School in the Lincoln Center arts complex. On Wednesday, the 45-year-old performed directly across from the hotel at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center with the National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra.

During the one hour meeting with the press before his performance on Wednesday night, Lyu talked about various topics: reminiscing about the time he spent in New York, teaching children to how to play a musical instrument, and what makes a good violinist: "You cannot make it without any gift, but the biggest challenge is focus and self-discipline."

On teaching children: Parents should give them frequent contacts with music; take them to concerts and play classical music at home, even play it on the radio when in a car.

And about New York: It has everything that helps make a good musician. "Everything has an influence, even the soil, the culture and traditions," he said about the city. "There are things that you cannot learn from books."

He also cited WQXR, New York's classical music station, as one of his best memories of New York, adding, "There is no such channel in Beijing. It's a pity."

Lyu, who was born in 1969, started to learn to play the violin when he was 4. In 1977, he enrolled at the Central Conservatory of Music, China's top music school. He then went to the UK for further studies and returned to China. He won the Paganini competition, one of the world's most famous violin contests, in 1987 at the age of 17. In 1989 he went to Juilliard and stayed in New York until 2005. Then he went to San Francisco and returned to China in 2008.

His performances with the National Center of the Performing Arts Orchestra on its current North American tour commemorate the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and China.

The orchestra, which includes musicians from China and other countries, performed at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington on Monday. An article on the Washington Post's website said it presented "a distinctive and often quite powerful program".

The orchestra also has played in Chicago and will next go to Philadelphia, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal.

He recalled his initial years of studying music in China. It was during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) when Western classical music was regarded by authorities as "capitalist". Music sheets were hard to find, so his father had to copy them and then he gave them to him and sent them to other children.

Lyu said it will take China "a lot of accumulation" to reach the West's level of accomplishment in classical music.

Lu Huiquan contributed to this story.