petak, 20. svibnja 2011.


By Erol Avdović

senior colonel Yu Hai; photo
Webpublicapress 2011
NEW YORK, (Webpublicapress)When the Cold War was underway in the 1950s between United States and former Soviet Union, US president Dwight Eisenhower said he would go anywhere, any place, any time in pursuit of peace. In the case of North Korea, the New York Philharmonic’s concert in the beginning of 2008, at the time was viewed as “the small step". The hope was it would open the way for more cultural contacts and understanding between two countries that have been at "sword-point" since the 1950-53 Korean War.


Overwhelmed by the warm reception in Pyongyang, North Korea, at the time - Lorin Maazel, the Philharmonic’s music director, told reporters: “I think it’s going to do a great deal for Korean-U.S relations. We may have been instrumental in opening a little door”. Yet, it seems – it did not, but it was worthy to try.

It is totally different story with the two real super powers United Staes and China: Some times, they open their doors to each other – acting to each others like a real gentlemen.

As many would recall, the Chinese and American cultural exchanges may have started with ping-pong in the 70s, but the detente continues today with an mutualy engaged strings and flutes of joint performances by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Band with the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" for a series of concerts.

As two great world powers, it is important for the Chinese and U.S. militaries to be able to work together – and this music cooperatin was a good opportunity to show that to the world.


Tenor Dai Yuqiang (left) and 
Soprano Leigh Ann Hinton 
UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras
It was sincere and thunderous applause of joy from the diplomatic audience gathered at the United Nations General Assembly hall, that went to the members of the Chinese Military Band of the PLA and the United States Army Band "Pershing's Own".  A well assembeled orhcestra gave their first U.N. joint concert, as they did few days ago in Washington – that was first of a kind in the history of the two militaries. According to US Military - this two armies exchange was 30 years in the making.

The series began with a private performance at the Kennedy Center May 16, 2011, before moving on to perform public concerts in Philadelphia May 19, at the Academy of Music and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, May 21. The UN concert was part of the ensembles’ three-city tour based on friendship and cooperation through music, and was to be concluded on 21 May at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center in New York.

“There is no a better place to have this showing of friendship and cooperation, than United Nations”, said Chineese ambassador to the UN Li Baodong, immediately after concert was finished. “I hope this is only beginning of a good tradition”, he added for Webpublicapress (WPP).


”By all means – it was a harmonious diplomacy. It was an excellent concert to be remembered”, said ambasador Feodor Starčević, permanent representative of Serbia to the United Nations. “We all need this kind of diplomacy”, he added to WPP

“Yes, music washes away the dust from the soul, I mean, even - some dirty dust of everyday political agenda. Listening to this concert we can not but to agree with Beethoven who said: Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life”, a German diplomat said to WPP, adding the contribution to that, by Chinese and American joint military band “was welcomed mediator”. 

Entitled "Friendship and Cooperation through Music", the joint performance is a good example of musical collaboration with PLA Band counterparts: “It not only represents the best of our respective cultures, it also serves as a shared experience from which both our great nations can learn more about one another", said Colonel Thomas Rotondi, Jr., leader and commander of the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”.

Beside US colonel Rotondi, the concert was conducted by two prestigious Chinese conductors: commander of the PLA, senior colonel Yu Hai and senior colonel Zhang Zhirong.


In his message printed in the concert program in Washington, general Martin Dempsey, US Army Chief of Staff wrote that, "such exchanges build trust, improve understanding and communication and pave the way to great cooperation in solving some of the world's more complicated security challenges".

As reported about the other previous two - UN performance was punctuated by warm applause as the two bands performed a mixed program with several unique and rich musical legacy of each country. Among others – a famous titles like “America the Beatiful” (composed by Samuel A. Ward) and “The Stars and Strips Forewer” (by John Philip Sousa).

A few grandious Chineese oddas within it diversity of sound, complexity and Oriental mystique were peaces to be remembered. But, a total joy followed by the ovations at the UN General Assembly was a Gusepe Verdiy’s  - “Libiamo ne Lieeti Calici” from La Traviata, performed by US Army Sgt. 1st Class Leigh Ann Hinton, soprano and her Chieneese contrapart – Dai Yugiang, tenor. It was crescendo of the night at the UN – withint unwritten motto: Music is the universal language of mankind!

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