China tour by Canada’s NAC Orchestra reflects improved relationships

Posted on: October 2, 2013

“The Chinese sent us pandas and we are sending the National Arts Centre Orchestra, led by Pinchas Zukerman, on a seven-city tour beginning Oct. 4,” writes Peter Robb in Saturday’s (9/28) Ottawa Citizen (Canada). “Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird believes [that in China classical music] ‘is demonstrably more important than it is in Canada.’ … Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson … agrees. ‘It’s significant, music is an international language that can break down barriers. When you have someone of Pinchas Zukerman’s prominence on the trip, I think it’s going to be terrific.’ … Zhang Junsai [China’s ambassador to Canada] characterized the China-Canada relationship as good and growing…. Culture of all kinds has become a priority for Chinese city governments as they expand and develop, [Zhang] says. The idea of the orchestra tour was raised with Baird two years ago and he says he was on board immediately. The government is not funding this tour, however. ‘We had to make some painful decisions, we have a large deficit,’ Baird says. The government will facilitate and will cheer, but the trip costs are the NAC’s to bear. And so, the centre has raised some $1.2 million from the business community and private donors.”

Posted October 2, 2013