Chicago Symphony wraps up Asia tour

Posted on: February 18, 2009

In Monday’s (2/16) Chicago Sun Times, Andrew Patner writes about the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Beijing debut, which “closed a three-week, five-city, 10-concert tour of Far East Asia with two sold-out performances at the new National Centre for the Performing Arts in the Chinese capital. … The reputation and teaching experience that many non-Asian players have in the Far East meant that the orchestra as a whole had the classical equivalent of rock-star groupies grabbing up available tickets even when top prices reached almost $500 (U.S.) in Tokyo and $200 and more in Hong Kong and China. CSO principal conductor Bernard Haitink, who turns 80 next month, also was making his first visit to China (and Hong Kong as well, in his case), and he is revered here in a way normally reserved for legends.” At Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the audience demanded a solo bow from Haitink even after musicians had left the stage. Patner reports that the effort in setting up the tour was led by “Shanghai-born and -trained Li-kuo Chang, CSO assistant principal viola, [who] had been lobbying and working for a tour to China since joining the orchestra in 1988.”