Elisabeth Braw has written a smart piece today in the Economist on the rising competitiveness of Chinese orchestras and classical musicians:
It is in bringing orchestras, opera performances and top individual performers to the West that China is showing its real clout. Jindong Cai of Stanford University, who conducts in both China and the United States, describes the push in soft-power terms: “A product manufactured in China is not as important for China’s international profile. Cultural power is much more important.”
She’s absolutely right (full article here).
But we’re hearing rumbles of anxiety. The Chinese classical boost was powered by Lang Lang and Yundi Li. Both rose at the turn of the century.
Since then, however, there has been no Chinese star of comparable magnitude. Without another driver, the train will run out of steam.
Much of the new talent seems to be Korean.