Thirty years after Stern’s visit, classical music booming in China

Posted on: July 6, 2009

In Sunday’s (7/5) New York Times, David Barboza writes, “Thirty years ago this summer the violinist Isaac Stern created a sensation when he came to China for a series of concerts and master classes. His visit, richly documented in the Academy Award-winning film ‘From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China’ (directed by Murray Lerner and supervised by Allan Miller), was credited with giving a boost to classical music here and helping foster cultural exchanges between China and the West. This October Beijing will commemorate that visit with a concert by the China Philharmonic to honor Mr. Stern, who died in 2001 at 81, and to pay tribute to the remarkable strides this country has made in music since then. … Since the days of Stern’s historic visit, interest in and access to classical music has mushroomed in China. There are major orchestras in many cities, and an estimated 40 million students across the country study the violin or the piano. But there are not yet enough dedicated fans to support classical careers within the country, which is why, even today, Chinese musicians go abroad and now populate the world’s leading orchestras, opera houses and music schools.” Barboza recounts Stern’s visit in detail and discusses the effect it had on Chinese music schools at the end of the Cultural Revolution.

July 6, 2009