Now that the Cultural Revolution is history and classical music is no longer banned as cultural pollution, it seems to be growing apace in China. Recently I noted here that China is home to the world’s largest piano manufacturer — and that it sells most of its instruments in its own nation. American conductor Lorin Maazel is one of many Western musicians who have suggested that Chinese audiences may give a real boost to classical music.
Meanwhile, US writers continue to fret over the greying of classical music audiences in our own land, despite the fact that their predictions of classical music’s imminent death never seem to quite pan out.
Some of these writers mutter darkly that if they were wrong about classical music being moribund, it’s only because it’s in the process of moving half way round the world. They point to the estimates of 100 million Chinese conservatory students and note that, worldwide, orchestras are performing more works of Chinese composers and engaging more Chinese-born soloists.
|If you are not free yourself, how can you interpret music freely?
– A Chinese music critic
In the 7 July issue of The New Yorker, Alex Ross takes a closer look at the Chinese classical music juggernaut and concludes that all is not quite what it appears to be.
(As an aside, violist Wing Ho, mentioned in the New Yorker article, studied in Northeast Ohio, at the Kent State School of Music and Oberlin Conservatory.)
Symphony of Millions: Taking stock of the Chinese music boom in The New Yorker
A Nation of Pianos and Pianists in WKSU Classical