The China Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) launched a North American tour recently, at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts in Vancouver, and it marked their first time performing in our city. Maestro Long Yu, who co-founded the orchestra, continues in his role as artistic director and principal conductor; his unceasing pursuit of the highest order of music performance was on display even before the Vancouver show, when he called a last-minute rehearsal for the entire orchestra, at which a few minor problems were addressed. (In fact, this spontaneous practise meant the maestro could not fulfill his interview time with us, so we decided to stay and watch.)
Under Yu, the CPO has performed all around the world, including an historic performance at the Vatican for Pope Benedict XIV. Bringing a new sense of cultural exchange and awareness between east and west has been a driving principle in Yu’s decorated career. In addition to his work with the CPO, Yu is conductor of both the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and the Guangzhou Symphony. As if that were not enough, he is the founder and president of the Beijing Music Festival. With his repertoire of Chinese music, including traditional and folk, and his ever-increasing Western classical repertoire, Yu is something of a colossus, and well positioned to bridge different music cultures.
The Vancouver performance, held in co-operation with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, was in part a celebration of the opening of Poly Culture Group’s North American head office, located in downtown Vancouver. Poly Culture Group is one of China’s largest cultural organizations, and is a subsidiary of China Poly Group Corporation. Its goals here are to build cultural ties between China and North America, which made the performance by the CPO an ideal way to rejoice.
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