By Erol Avdović
senior colonel Yu Hai; photo
FROM PING-PONG TO JOINT MUSIC BAND
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.
FIRST TIME IN THE U.N.
|Tenor Dai Yuqiang (left) and |
Soprano Leigh Ann Hinton
UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras
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.
UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE OF LA TRAVIATA
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!