Pittsburgh Symphony on Tour
Manfred Honeck led the PSO Saturday night in the sprawling and completely sold-out Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. Jim Cunningham caught up with principal cellist Anne Martindale Williams, violinist Christopher Wu, and bassist David Premo after a concert which literally began with great fanfare.
PSO Concertmaster Andres Cardenes talks about the audience at the orchestra's second concert in "The Egg." They clapped along with Brahms, long after some confusion at the start of the concert. Violist Meng Wang reunited with friends in his native China.
After the first concert, Jim Cunningham shares conversations with Principal Bassonist Nancy Goeres, who speaks a little Mandarin; US Vice Consul and former Pittsburgher Mike Quigley with his wife Tetsuko; and US chargé d'affaires Daniel Piccuta from New Castle, PA.
Manfred Honeck and the PSO made their debut at "The Egg" in Beijing. Principal Bassoon Nancy Goeres recounts her visit to Chairman Mao's tomb. The concert drew executives from Westinghouse, now building nuclear plants in China; and Bayer, which enjoys a strong position in China and provides significant earthquake relief.
The first rehearsal on its Asian tour took place at China's National Concert Hall in Beijing. Jim Cunningham met tour organizer Doug Sheldon of Columbia Artists, and got an inside view of rehearsal from Principal Trumpet George Vosburgh.
The orchestra had Wednesday off to overcome jet lag and see the sights. Jim Cunningham went to the Great Wall, with Principal Bass Clarinet Richard Page, and Peggy McLean, Manager of Visitor Services at the Frick Art & Historical Center.
A trip to Beijing's Temple of Heaven with traditional Chinese music, passing Tiananmen Square, and more trekkers on the Great Wall including the PSO's Michael Lipman, Jeremy Branson, and Richard Page. Jim Cunningham tries to speak Mandarin.
The orchestra begins its first visit to China since 1987. Jim Cunningham asked PSO Assistant Principal Hornist Zachary Smith about the 14-hour nonstop flight from Chicago to Beijing, first impressions of the Chinese capital, and Smith's plans for Wednesday after some long-overdue sleep.