LSO has tricky tour to Hong Kong and Vietnam

LSO has tricky tour to Hong Kong and Vietnam


norman lebrecht

August 22, 2019

The London Symphony Orchestra has just unrolled details of its inaugural tour next month with Sir Simon Rattle.

It opens on September 25 with three concerts in Hong Kong, where tensions have never been higher, moving on into mainland China with dates in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Wuhan, Xi’an and Beijing.

The tour ends on October 5 with an open-air concert in Hanoi, a new destination for market-seeking, post-Brexit orchestras.



  • Alexander says:

    is market-seeking a new euphemism for money-seeking ?

  • Santipab says:

    Inaugural tour? The LSO and Rattle went to Japan and Korea together autumn last year and this is the third year they have played in Hanoi (though the first time with Rattle). They have also been to South America for the first time in May and also the US with Rattle as well as all over Europe.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Presumably as this was still the golden age of the EU vulgar subjects like money were not mentioned.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    The post Brexit period will not last very long. In a couple of months time there will be a no deal Brexit followed in a few years time by a renewed effort to rejoin the European Union. I hope Britain’s experience during this time will teach
    other (generally right wing) leavers a good lesson.

  • Michel says:

    The world needs Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO ! What about Africa ?

  • Nick2 says:

    I just returned from 3 days in Hong Kong. Apart from added security at the airport and a lack of mainland tourists, there was nothing to indicate there may have been regular demonstrations. Glorious weather and discounts in most of the shops and hotels.

    There have been no demonstrations at the Cultural Centre. But September 25 is perilously close to China’s National Day on October 1. This year it commemorates 70 years since Mao’s revolution and the rumors in Hong Kong are that the Chief Executive is under instructions from Beijing to sort out Hong Kong’s problems before then. On the other hand, this may be a time when the frequency of protests is stepped up. Who knows?

    As for Vietnam, there is now much more classical music activity. Way back in 1996 Hennessy started an annual recital series with major international artists like Rostropovich, Hilary Hahn and Sarah Chang performing in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    East Asia, of whatever political tinge, is the future of classical music.

    • John Borstlap says:

      And isn’t that sad? The heartland of the art form loosing interest, only a little bit, and very gradually, but still. While in the east people are discovering the universal nature of classical music and its power to move and to uplift, especially important in – let us say – less than ideal circumstances, in the spoiled West less and less people know what it is, or even want to know what it is.

      • Leonardo Bautista says:

        The problem with people in the «west» might be a loss of aural attention and appreciation. We would have to study the development of both hemispheres in depth to arrive at a conclusion as to why this is happening.

  • FS60103 says:

    As if UK orchestras haven’t been flocking to the Far East for at least two decades. Asian audiences have the money, the enthusiasm and the expertise. This parochial, Eurocentric perspective was moribund long before 2016.

    • Nick2 says:

      European and US orchestras have been flocking to East Asia for a lot more than two decades. Back in 1978 Hong Kong alone hosted five top international orchestras including the Cleveland and the Israel Phil. Even before then, Japan had become a magnet for all things classical.

      The London Philharmonic was the first western orchestra to visit post-Revolution China in 1973. A rather crude joke went the rounds about a reception for the orchestra given by their Chinese hosts. A toast was proposed: “To the London Philharmonic Orchestra and its distinguished conductor John Pritchard – Bottoms Up!” Those who knew John would have understood, and perhaps had a quiet laugh!

      In the next few years, the London Symphony, the Halle , the Bournemouth and the BBC Scottish were among those touring in East Asia.