Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Classical Music Looks Toward China With Hope

Interesting article in The New York Times...

Here are some excerpts...

[With the same energy, drive and sheer population weight that has made it an economic power, China has become a considerable force in Western classical music. Conservatories are bulging. Provincial cities demand orchestras and concert halls.]

[Fewer young American listeners find their way to classical music, largely because of the lack of the music education that was widespread in public schools two generations ago. As a result many orchestras and opera houses struggle to fill halls.

China, with an estimated 30 million piano students and 10 million violin students, is on an opposite trajectory. Comprehensive tests to enter the top conservatories now attract nearly 200,000 students a year, compared with a few thousand annually in the 1980s, according to the Chinese Musicians Association.]

[“Music is hot in China,” said Chen Hung-Kuan, the chairman of the piano department at the Shanghai Conservatory. “It may be fading in Western countries,” he added, but in China the talent is “unlimited.”]

Do we have any locals working in/with China? What's been your experience? Is any of your music being performed there? I imagine that with Atlanta being a hub of international renown (Hartsfield-Jackson, CNN, Coke), we might be able to have some impact in China. A market worth exploring...! Please post your comments if you have some experience here.

1 comment:

Mark Gresham said...

Darren asks, "Do we have any locals working in/with China? What's been your experience? Is any of your music being performed there?"

I've known about China as a growing "classical music" phenomena for about 6 years, and now know a bit about the history of why that is so. (The explanation is voluminous enough to comprise an entirely different comment devoted to it.) Much of the inital knowledge came through my Chinese friend Angela Lee who plays a traditional Chinese stringed instrument called gu-zheng; the rest through subsequent research.

But the story is not about traditional Chinese music or instruments. Indeed, the saying that "every Chinese child has a piano and/or violin and plays Bach and Mozart" is not a stereotype to be taken lightly.

How that may translate to contemporary American composers is a very different matter, although living Chinese composers do observably get performed there, whether they reside in the PRC (People's Republic of China), the USA, or elsewhere.

Nevertheless, it's solo performers and conductors (particularly those who are Chinese) who are really the big musical heros there.

"Do we have any locals working in/with China?"

At least in terms of performers, yes.

Conductor Michael Palmer just got back from Xiamen, where he conducted the young professional Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra at the invitation of its director. You can see a concert preview article from Xiamen Evening News here (it does help if you can read Simplified Chinese), and excerpts from the March 16 program booklet here.

Also, pianist Laura Gordy went to China for an artistic residency a few years ago.

Is any of your music being performed there?"

I do expect my own compositions to be performed in the PRC (mainland China) and likely Táiwān (ROC/Republic of China) as well fairly soon. Sorry, I don't have any firm details to publicly offer as of yet. But I'll certainly let you know when I do. —mg