A day off in Shanghai

The group gathered for a group shot on the Bund on the way to the Museum

The group gathered for a group photo on the Bund in Shanghai, on the way to the Museum

July 26 was a great day to unwind: no more concerts to prepare for, just a full day for the Philharmonia members to explore Shanghai, shop, and enjoy each other’s company before everyone departed for various parts of the world. The day began and ended with organized activities: a trip to Shanghai Museum in the morning, and a Farewell dinner at the hotel at night. (The dinner will have a separate blog).

The Shanghai Museum contains spectacular collections of art and artificacts from Chinas long history

The Shanghai Museum contains spectacular collections of art and artifacts from China's long history

Liz Muller, former Yale staff member now living in Nanjing, with her son Leo and Doctor James Perlotto. Lizs husband, John Michael Muller, joined the orchestra for all four concerts in Korea and China.

Liz Muller, former Yale staff member now living in Nanjing, with her son Leo and Doctor James Perlotto at the Museum. Liz's husband, John Michael Muller, joined the orchestra for all four concerts in Korea and China.

The museum has a fine collection of porcelain

The museum has a fine collection of porcelain

There is an entire area dedicated to fine bronzes like this one

There is an entire area dedicated to fine bronzes like this one

A close call in Shanghai

The lobby of the Shanghai Grand Theater

The lobby of the Shanghai Grand Theater

The Philharmonia  left Beijing for Shanghai early in the morning of July 25. The schedule called for an early afternoon arrival, lunch, and then a touch-up rehearsal in the Grand National Theater at 4:30 before the 7:15 concert. But the plane left very late, and by 4:30 the orchestra was still on the buses from the airport to the hotel.

Change of plan: a quick shower at the hotel, sandwiches on the bus (how did our orchestra manager, Krista Johnson, get 100 sandwiches on such short notice?), backstage warm-up, and then the downbeat of the concert without playing a note together on stage.

This could have been the makings of a disaster, but the orchestra responded to the challenge with extraordinary professionalism. They played beautifully, making this one of the orchestra’s most spirited and musically satisfying concerts of the season.

Fortunately, the musical selections were the same as the Forbidden City Concert Hall program: Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, Saint-Saens Cello Concerto with Jian Wang, Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony, and the encore of a Chinese folk song arrangement by Derrick Wang.

And like the concert at the Forbidden City, the large audience responded enthusiastically to both orchestra and soloist, with Jian Wang playing two encores.

With no time to rehearase, orchestra members made the most of the time they had back stage to warm up

With no time to rehearse, orchestra members made the most of the time they had back stage to warm up

The orchestra takes a bow at the Shanghai Grand Theater. Although the performance space doubles as a theater, the fine orchestra shell makes the hall a great venue for orchestral music

The orchestra takes a bow at the Shanghai Grand Theater. Although the performance space is primarily a theater, the fine orchestra shell makes the hall a great venue for orchestral music.

After the Saint-Saens Concerto, Shinik Hahm and Jian Wang accept warm applause.

After the Saint-Saens Concerto, Shinik Hahm and Jian Wang accept warm applause.

The beautiful seating of the Shanghai Grand Theater

The beautiful seating of the Shanghai Grand Theater

Mahler’s “Resurrection” at the National Center for the Performing Arts

The Philharmonia, Central Conservatory Orchestra and Chorus, soloists Heather Buck and Mary Phillips, and Maestro Yongyan Hu perform Mahlers Second Symphony in Beijings National Center for the Performinga Arts

The Philharmonia, Central Conservatory Orchestra and Chorus, soloists Heather Buck and Mary Phillips, and Maestro Yongyan Hu perform Mahler's Second Symphony in Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts

The historic concert featuring the collaboration between the Yale School of Music and Beijing’s Central Conservatory took place on the evening of Thursday, July 24, in the spectacular National Center for the Performing Arts. The concert was the largest event and the high point of the Musicathlon, which had begun two weeks before.

Earlier in the day, Maestro Hu rehearsed the orchestra in the Concert Hall of the National Center

Earlier in the day, Maestro Hu rehearsed the orchestra in the Concert Hall of the National Center

Yongyan Hu is flanked by the vocal soloists Mary Phillips, mezzo, and Heather Buck, soprano

At the concert: Yongyan Hu is flanked by the vocal soloists Mary Phillips, mezzo, and Heather Buck, soprano

The CCOM chorus

The CCOM chorus

Purvis, Van Sice, and Yale Percussion at Central Conservatory

percussion Prof Robert Van Sice greets the large audience in the Central Conservatory Recital Hall

Percussion Prof Robert Van Sice greets the large audience in the Central Conservatory Recital Hall

On July 23, after rehearsals for the Mahler concert, two members of the Yale faculty, hornist William Purvis and percussionist Robert Van Sice, went to the recital hall of the Central Conservatory of Music to give master classes for students there. In addition, members of the Yale percussion group performed both individually and in ensemble.

All of these events were well-attended and there was plenty of time for coaching, with the teachers aided by very capable translators. What was most striking was that both Purvis and Van Sice emphasized the importance of musicality, expression, gesture, and communication, talking about technique only to the degree necessary to make these musical qualities come alive.

The CCOM students were clearly very skilled, but after a few minutes with these master teachers, their ability to make music took a leap forward.

These and many more photos here.

William Purvis works with a horn student on a Mozart Concerto

William Purvis works with a horn student on a Mozart Concerto

Purvis demonstrates how pitch would have been changed in Mozarts time with a natural horn

Purvis demonstrates how performers would have changed pitches in Mozart's time with a natural horn

Robert Van Sice listens to an energetic CCOM marimba player

Robert Van Sice listens to an energetic CCOM marimba player

CCOM students and other young audience members crowd around Van Sice and members of the Yale Perucssion Group, including Ji Hye Jung, Michael Zell, Michael Compitello, and Lea DeRoin

CCOM students and other young audience members crowd around Van Sice and members of the Yale Perucssion Group, including Michael Zell, Lea DeRoi, Michael Compitello, and Ji Hye Jung

Philharmonia and Central Conservatory prepare for Mahler

Workers maintain the grounds and clean the exterior of the National Center for the Performing Arts in preparatin for the July 24 concert

Workers maintain the grounds and clean the exterior of the National Center for the Performing Arts in preparation for the July 24 concert

The large orchestra of Yale and CCOM musicians play Mahler under Yongyan Hu

The large orchestra of Yale and CCOM musicians rehearse Mahler under Yongyan Hu

Vocal soloists Heather Buck, soprano, and Mary Phillips, mezzo

Vocal soloists Heather Buck, soprano, and Mary Phillips, mezzo

On July 23, instrumentalists of the Yale Philharmonia and the Central Conservatory, along with the CCOM Chorus and Yale alumni vocal soloists began their rehearsals for Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. These preparations took place in a spacious rehearsal room below ground in the spectacular National Center for the Performing Arts. All of these forces were under the direction of the music director of CCOM’s EOS Orchestra, Yongyan Hu.

During a break at the rehearsal, the musicians were greeted by  Dean Robert Blocker of the Yale School of Music and by CCOM’s President Cizhao Wang.

CCOM President Cizhao Wang, YSM Dean Robert Blocker, and conductor Yongyan Hu.

CCOM President Cizhao Wang, YSM Dean Robert Blocker, and conductor Yongyan Hu.

Also in attendance was Wing Ho, chair of CCOM’s viola department and a distinguished 1987 graduate of the Yale School of Music.

Yale horn professor William Purvis (last row of horns, center) joins his students as part of the section

Yale horn faculty member William Purvis (back row, 2nd from left) joins his students as part of the large horn section

The CCOM Chorus rehearses with the orchestra

The CCOM Chorus rehearses with the orchestra

Sellout at the Forbidden City

Philharmonia takes a bow in the Forbidden City Concert Hall

The Philharmonia takes a bow in the Forbidden City Concert Hall

The Philharmonia’s second tour concert took place on Tuesday, July 22 at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. The concert hall is close to the ancient buildings of the Forbidden City, but is a modern hall with all the amenities one would expect: spacious dressing rooms, motorized stage risers for various configurations, a huge stage, and excellent lighting. This concert, like the Seoul concert, was a sellout. It was incorporated into the Musicathlon and also into a concert series that promoted classical music to a young audience.

The audience stands for the Chinese and American national anthems.

The audience stands for the Chinese and American national anthems.

The program featured the same works by Bernstein and Dvorak, but this time the concerto was the first cello concerto by Saint-Saens, featuring Jian Wang. Wang is one of our most distinguished alumni, and it is clear that he is a beloved artist in his native China. He received an enormous ovation after the concerto, and performed two enccores, both selections from Bach solo cello suites.

Jian Wang shown rehearsing with Shinik Hahm and the Philharmonia on Tuesday afternoon

Jian Wang shown rehearsing with Shinik Hahm and the Philharmonia on Tuesday afternoon

Another  big hit was the world premiere of Derrick Wang’s colorful and brilliant arrangement of a Chinese folk song for full orchestra. The work features many effects emulating Chinese traditional instuments, such as the Erhu and Chinese cymbals. Violin solos were played by Wayne Lin, and he received cheers after the performance.

A lunch hosted by President Wang

Dean Blocker presents a framed assortment of Yale CDs to President Wang. On the left is Lily Tao, Wangs assistant, who was extraordinarily helpful with many aspects of the tour.

Dean Blocker presents a framed assortment of Yale CDs to President Wang. On the left is Lily Tao, Wang's assistant, who was extraordinarily helpful with many aspects of the tour.

On July 22, after our visit to the Forbidden City, President Cizhao Wang of the Central Conservatory hosted a luncheon for Yale faculty and staff who were in Beijing for the Musicathlon and Philharmonia tour. Joining him were other members of the CCOM faculty and staff, including Yongyan Hu, music director of the EOS orchestra who would conduct the Mahler Second Symphony the next night at the National Center for the Performing Arts.

The Yale attendees included Deputy Dean Thomas Masse, Dr. James Perlotto, faculty members Robert Van Sice and William Purvis with his wife Mihae Lee, staff members Dana Astmann, Jennifer Chen, Krista Johnson, Grant Meachum, Vincent Oneppo, and  Renata Steve.



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