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

This 1979 picture shows then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping with Seiji Ozawa's mother, Sakura (left),Seiji Ozawa and Soong Ching ling (right)at the end of the concert in Beijing. STORY LITCH / For China Daily

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This time, the BSO was approached by conductor Lorin Maazel, who had been particularly looking forward to this tour to celebrate more than 50 years with the orchestra. However, due to an accident, doctors advised Maazel not to make the trip. Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit stepped in to lead the tour, which includes Mahlerls Symphony No 5, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 5, and Mozart's Symphony No 38 (Prague Symphony). The program also includes one of the Boston symphony's signature works, Berlioz's Fantastic Symphony.

"BSO's first tour in China back in 1979 was put together in less than two months following an official invitation from the Chinese Ministry of Culture, which was a benchmark in BSO's over 100 years of history. It's a great occasion for the orchestra to return. There are 10 members of the BSO returning to China for the first time since 1979. They cannot recognize the place," says Volpe. "Last time, the orchestra played at a sports arena, and this time we play at these new concert halls like the National Center for the Performing Arts. Those venues and infrastructures mirror how fast China has grown and how much interest Chinese people have in Western classical music."

"Pianist Lang Lang said 40 million Chinese kids are learning and playing piano. Those numbers are staggering. The emerging Chinese middle-class families want to embrace art and give their kids a better life. Classical music is a part of that," he continues.

Some of the current orchestra members, according to Volpe, have seen the trip as "going home".

"Every year, we have talented musicians from China or with Chinese backgrounds joining the orchestra. Some of them have never returned to China, while some have left home for a long time," Volpe says.