Long Yu, the most powerful conductor in China, has long been preparing a mighty bash for his 50th birthday. The first leg was in Beijing midweek, before Lang Lang flew off to Lebanon.
But the big event was aimed at his home town, Shanghai, presenting a new work by a Chinese composer played by Alison Balsom, a new American work by John Williams played by a Chinese pianist, and a new work from Tan Dun who straddles both worlds.
The open-air concert was to have opened the MISA youth Festival that Long Yu started with Charles Dutoit. But then the heavens opened.
So with lightning speed the event was moved to Shanghai’s yet-to-be-opened new concert hall, still in hard-hat state, and an audience drenched by the downpour. Quick thinking, maestro!