[ in the press ]
China Hands, The Huffington Post Blog
By Michelle Peters
In recent years, there has been a revival in interest in classical music in China that is aiming to shake China’s traditional emphasis on technical superiority and instead emphasize emotion.
Chu Yi-bing, a world-renowned cellist who founded the China Cello Philharmonic, an all-cello chamber ensemble, recalled that as early as eleven that his music, however technically sharp, was missing a deeper spirit. “I realized that although I could play the notes better than the German music students, they could tell the historical context and emotional narratives that formed the basis of these notes.” Born into a musical family (both his parents were professors at the Central Conservatory of Music), Chu studied at the Paris Conservatory and went on to become the principal cellist of the Basel Symphony Orchestra in Switzerland.
According to Chen Xi, a violinist who attended the Yale School of Music, “whereas in the U.S., teachers care about your personality of interpretation, in China, we care about technique more.” These differences, according to Chu, can be attributed to deeper cultural distinctions. “Traditional Chinese culture advocates that we do not tell anybody what we are thinking in our hearts,” says Chu. “Our culture has told us not to share our feelings and emotions with strangers.” MORE