China and the Philharmonic, in Harmony

The New York Times reports on the New York Philharmonic’s warm reception in Shanghai:

The Philharmonic was making its debut appearance in Shanghai, and it was far more than a simple in-and-out pair of concerts. A local television personality conducted an on-camera interview with Mr. Maazel. The orchestra took part in an education program with a number of schools. The visit made the papers. Audiences rewarded the orchestra with robust ovations.

It was the kind of reception not always given the Philharmonic at home, where it has to compete with the loud hum of major international orchestras regularly passing through New York.

The report includes a slideshow. Some of the native Chinese musicians in the Philharmonic, however, weren’t as warmly welcomed onto the stage, according to a report in yesterday’s NY Times. The principal oboist in the Philharmonic, Liang Wang, was unexpectedly asked to sit out the Shanghai performances:

“Playing the Strauss in Hong Kong was a historical event,” he said. The lack of expected appearances “feels like exactly what it is, which is being rejected by your own people.” Mr. Wang suspected that the Chinese presenters of the Philharmonic did not see him as a soloist attractive to Chinese audiences, as compared with Westerners.

February 23, 2008 11:03 AM
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