Beijing mourns philharmonic chief

Beijing mourns philharmonic chief


norman lebrecht

July 27, 2020

Professor Yang Hongnian, founder of the Beijing Philharmonic Choir in 1983, has died in Beijing, aged 86.



  • Rich C. says:

    Norman, is this a classical music news site or a classical obituary site? Half yours news items are obits of people that I’m sure 90% of your readers never heard of.

    • buxtehude says:

      Max Planck is supposed to have said that science advances one funeral at a time. He meant by this that important new ideas required fresh brains in order to take root.

      For classical music the inverse of this rule may apply: the vanishing of elders is sending things backward.

      Whether or not all these obits collectively contribute to our knowledge of anything systemic, it’s well known (by publishers) that obituaries rank at or near the top in reader interest. For some these represent the mileposts of a generations slip-sliding away. For everyone, there is the Ivan-Ilych reaction: “Well They may be dead, but I’m alive!”

      Another positive angle: in the coldness of the here-today,-gone-tomorrow world of a career in public performance, it will be comforting for some to know that many a death, however obscure each may appear to the Great Center, will be registered and acknowledged.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      For my part, I find it worth both remembering people whose work one has known and learning about people for the first time — even if only in the sad circumstance of their departure.