Well, all of a sudden, it seems that there is a new major international figure in the world of conducting: Long Yu, whose Shanghai Symphony recently went on tour to the U.S. He’s sort of a Chinese Valery Gergiev – non-stop schedule, responsible for all the top Chinese orchestras (China Phil, Shanghai Symphony, Guangzhou Symphony, Beijing Music Festival) and a powerful political figure to boot.
The question is, why haven’t we heard of this guy before? I guess it’s probably my own fault for not investigating the Chinese classical music scene more extensively, despite my true belief that China is the single major emerging market for classical music, and that anybody truly interested in classical music as an Industry really ought to pick up a Mandarin Dictionary.
One really amazing thing, journalistically speaking, about Mr. Yu is the headlines that have accompanied his American visit — you just don’t see these kinds of titles about American and European conductors: “Shanghai Players Arrive, Driven on by their Titan“, “Sounds of China, Unveiled like an Iris” and my personal favorite: “Shanghai Symphony Conductor Long Yu Talks Music and Whiskey“.
Anyway, here’s some of the scant videographic evidence I was able to find of Mr. Yu, conducting the Mozart Requiem for the Vatican… somehow it doesn’t look or sound very Mozarty to me, but I’ll let you be the judge of that:
[p.s. I’m a conductor – why has no member of the press ever asked me to “talk whiskey”? Also, there’s surprisingly little actual “whiskey talk” for an article that bills itself thus. It doesn’t even say what brand he drinks.]
[pps. I’m a Wild Turkey man myself, in case any journalists happen to be reading this.]