US orchestra to play in China
The National Youth Orchestra of USA (NYOUSA) is headed to China this week.
“I’m sure with this tour, you (orchestra members) will make your mark on China-US culture exchanges as well as the China-US bilateral relations, and I have no doubt that you will accomplish this mission in the most remarkable way,” Zhang Qiyue, consul general of China in New York, said at a sendoff for the orchestra at the Consulate General in New York on Tuesday night.
“China has become one of the world’s most important centers for classical music and will play an ever-increasing role in the future,” said Sir Clive Gillinson, executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall.
The orchestra, made up of 114 youths from more than 30 states, will perform in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Xi’an, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong from July 12-26, led by renowned conductor Charles Dutoit.
The young musicians also will communicate with local musicians and get a chance to experience Chinese history and culture.
“Music, I believe, from the ancient time to the future, is always the bridge between people,” said Tan Dun, Chinese Academy Award-winning composer, whose new works have been added to the orchestra’s repertoire. Chinese piano virtuoso Li Yundi will also join in the tour as guest soloist.
Established in 2013, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute brings together outstanding young musicians (ages 16-19) each summer from across the United States.
The musicians go through a comprehensive audition process and a half-month in residence with faculty from top professional orchestras.
For the past two years, the troupe has toured Russia and the United Kingdom.
In July 2014, NYO-USA’s visit to China was designated as one of four Cultural Pillars by the US State Department and Chinese government for the Fifth US-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE).
The CPE aims to enhance and strengthen ties between American and Chinese citizens in culture, education, science and technology, sports and women’s issues.
“As an important component of the Sino-US relationship, culture exchange between China and the US has played an irreplaceable role in communication and enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between people of two countries,” Minister of Culture of China Luo Shugang wrote in a congratulatory letter, read by Li Liyan, cultural counselor and head of the cultural office of the Chinese Consulate General.
“We should thank the thousands of Chinese and American artists and cultural practitioners, including members of the NYO-USA musicians, for their contribution,” Luo wrote, adding that organizations like Carnegie Hall help promote SinoUS cultural exchange.
“Both China and the US have a rich and diversified culture. I believe the orchestra will not only bring Chinese audiences top artistic enjoyment, but also tighten the friendship between Chinese and the US people,” Cui Tiankai, Chinese ambassador to the US, wrote in a congratulatory letter.
More than 200 guests were invited to the reception, including former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and New York City Councilman Peter Koo. The guests were treated to chamber ensembles. Hong Xiao in New York contributed to this story.
Zhang Qiyue (center), consul general of China in New York; Sir Clive Gillinson (left), executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, and Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, chat at the consulate general of China in New York during the farewell reception for the National Youth Orchestra of USA on Tuesday night in New York.