The IPO landed in Beijing at midnight and arrived at the hotel at 1:30, but we awoke to beautiful clear blue skies. We left Singapore in 30C heat and arrived in 3 C. cold! The air was unusually clean thanks to Beijing’s factories being closed during the 3 day APEC conference.
Instead of performing at The Great Hall of the People, we performed at a real concert hall, the National Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to the concert hall, the building also houses an opera house and a recital hall. It was built the year of the Olympics, but it was our first concert there.
The soloist was a young Chinese clarinetist, Tony Shen, in Weber’s Concertino op. 26. Not only was Tony excited by working with Maestro Mehta, the audience was so excited by the presence of the Maestro, that the ushers used lasers to discourage the use of cell phones to photograph the concert. Another media star was our latest addition to the viola section, Wenting Kang, who is returning to China for the first time as an IPO member. She was interviewed by CCTV before the concert. Tomorrow, when the orchestra flies to Xiamen, she will be returning to her family home for a two day visit.