Is China the new musical superpower?

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China's growing global influence is mirrored by its flourishing classical music. Millions of young musicians are competing for greatness, including four students training with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

China is not just an economic superpower, it has a hunger for culture and that includes Western classical music. 

Billions of dollars have been poured into building concert halls across the country with millions of young musicians competing to play.

Zhenyu Shi is a student of the Shanghai Orchestra Academy.  

"Classical music has been one of the favourite things among most cultured, upper middle class Chinese society.  The establishment of conservatories in many cities has really pushed forward the tide of classical music in China."

He is one of four musicians chosen to train in Australia with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Rory Jeffes, Managing Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra believes that the future of Western classical music may lie in the East.

"It is very difficult to argue that China is not the most important market for the future. There are between 60 and 100 million Chinese people learning either the piano or the violin." 

Much of the music training in China is geared towards being a soloist. 

Sydney Symphony's Rory Jeffes believes the teaching they get here in Australia helps to hone their teamwork skills.

"Largely as a result of the one child policy for so long, an enormous amount of aspiration is invested in that one child so the very talented musicians are brought up to be the next Lang Lang or the next Yo Yo Ma so they learn fantastic skills but don't necessarily have embedded right from the start the ability to play as an ensemble," he said.

The young Chinese musicians performing at Sydney's Opera House are hoping their appearance there is just the first of many in the world's top class venues. 

 

Source SBS

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