Just in: It rained on the maestro’s birthday party

Just in: It rained on the maestro’s birthday party


norman lebrecht

July 04, 2014

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.

long yu lang lang



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!

shanghai new hall

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  • Nick says:

    Being simultaneously Music Director of the China Philharmonic, the Shanghai Symphony and the Guangzhou Philharmonic is somewhat akin to being in charge of the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony all at the same time. Add in the Artistic Directorship of the prestigious Beijing Music Festival (what other festivals can import a Ring cycle from Germany and co-operate with the Salzburg Easter Festival, Madrid and Dresden on a Parsifal?) and the Shanghai MISA summer bash, and here is a conductor whose political connections in China are clearly very strong. No doubt Long Yu is a fine musician, organiser and fund raiser – how else do you persuade Muti, Dutoit, Penderecki and other distinguished guests to conduct your orchestras? But when you are the grandson of a famous composer, another relative is rumoured to have been a key Vice Premier and one of your supporters is the daughter of Deng Xiao Ping, I imagine lots of things become possible in China!

    Happy Birthday Long Yu!