Boston Symphony makes China encore

Updated: 2014-05-06 09:05

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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Boston Symphony makes China encore

Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit takes the baton for the Boston Symphony Orchestra's second tour in China. Photo provided to China Daily

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Sitting in the lobby of a five-star hotel in Wangfujing, the iconic pedestrian street in the capital, 65-year-old Lawrence Wolfe is watching the stream of cars on Chang'an Avenue flow past at 8:15 am beneath the early-morning sun. Like many foreign visitors in Beijing, Wolfe carries his camera and is ready to head to the Great Wall for a second time.

"I was 31 when I first came here. How time flies! I really enjoy the miraculous architecture. I miss it very much," he says.

However, what evokes Wolfe's memories about China is far more than the Great Wall. Thirty-five years ago, as a bassist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he came to perform in Beijing and Shanghai along with other musicians of the BSO.

The orchestra is now wrapping up its long-awaited return to China, performing in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou on a tour ending May 6 at the Guangzhou Opera House, marking the orchestra's first performances in China since its historic March 1979 tour under the baton of Seiji Ozawa. It was the first symphony from the United States to visit China after the establishment of diplomatic relations earlier that year.

"I had no idea about China back then," recalls Wolfe, who returned with the orchestra. "The moment we touched down in Shanghai, which was our first stop, everything was so overwhelming, such as the sea of bicycles, the Mao uniforms and especially people's enthusiasm about Western music and musicians."

"Because I am tall and look American, people were curious about me. I remember the burning coals and the chimneys outside the houses. I wanted to go to the old neighborhoods this time to see if they are still there," he adds.

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