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London Symphony Conductor: China and Asia’s Passion for Classical Music Is Inspiring

July 17, 2019 (EIRNS)—In comments published by South China Morning Post today, Sir Simon Rattle, conductor and music director of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), discussed the passion he sees for classical music among the people of China, and Asia more broadly, which puts the West to shame.

Rattle, who will conduct three LSO concerts in Hong Kong in September to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Hong Kong Culture Center, noted that it’s not only important for British classical musicians to go to Asia, but it’s also very inspiring.

“Living in a country in which the arts are marginalized—and we wonder who is taking care of them—when we then go to Asia and see excitement and passion for music, this is something palpable and deeply moving for us,” Rattle reported. Explaining that he’s traveled to Asia for many years, “you realize every place has its own input in music; [mainland] China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan—all of them have an immense hunger for music, but completely different responses to it.” For example, in Taipei, there may be an audience of 2,000 inside, “but there are 40,000 outside watching it on a screen. This type of love of the arts is not happening where we are. China, in particular, has a classical music scene that looks destined to impress.”

Rattle said he believed there are more people in mainland China learning the piano than the population of Germany. “If I was an investing man, I would put my money into Chinese pianos at the moment!”

SCMP quotes 23-year-old pianist Aristo Sham, who will be performing with the LSO in September, who says that classical music is going from “strength to strength” in Asia. “People like to say that classical music is dying, but that could not be further from the truth,” he remarked. “There are now, more than ever, myriad avenues to access high-quality classical music performances wherever we are.” Pianist Colleen Lee, who will also perform in September with the LSO, told SCMP that “I’m delighted to see more young people now in concerts, hoping the classical music scene in Hong Kong will continue to blossom, with support from all walks of life.”

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