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'From Mao to Mozart' - Take 2
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Thirty years ago, a 10-year-old Shanghai boy starred as a child prodigy in the Academy Award-winning film, "From Mao to Mozart - Isaac Stern in China."

Today that "boy," Wang Jian, is an established cellist who will stage a recital next Friday.

Wang will perform three sonatas at the Shanghai Concert Hall, Schubert's "Sonata for Cello and Piano in A Minor, D. 821, 'Arpeggione'," Shostakovich's "Sonata for Cello and Piano in D Minor, Op. 40" and Franck's "Sonata for Cello and Piano in A Major."

Born into a family of musicians, Wang started studying the cello with his father at the age of four. After he was featured in "From Mao to Mozart," he studied at the Yale School of Music in the United States.

He has played with prestigious symphony orchestras and conductors, such as Claudio Abbado and Charles Dutoit. Two years ago he received rave reviews for Elgar's "Cello Concerto in E Minor" with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center.

Staging concerts around the world, Wang says he has absorbed styles from different schools.

"Compared with young performers in Europe, I'm probably more American in style, exaggerating, contrasting the strength and expressive," Wang said in an early interview. "But I'm not as dramatic as American musicians who are very exciting and contrasting. I'm better at some invisible nuances beneath the surface of music. I find that European orchestras are generally in a gray tone without any 'thorns.' But there are dozens of layers of nuance deep in the grayness."

Friday night Chinese maestro Huang Xiaotong will conduct his first concert after three years' absence from the stage for illness.

Having studied in the Tchaikovsky Academy of Music in Moscow, Huang has trained a generation of Chinese conductors and musicians. They include Yu Long, artistic director of the China Philharmonic and Beijing International Music Festival; Zhang Guoyong, head of the Shanghai Opera House; Chen Xieyang, chief conductor of the Shanghai Symphony; Tang Muhai, artistic director and chief conductor of Zurich Chamber Orchestra; and pianist/conductor Xu Zhong.

The 75-year-old musician will conduct the Shanghai Sinfonietta in cooperation with his student Xu. The program will feature Mendelssohn's "Hebrides Overture 'Fingal's Cave'," Schubert's "Symphony No. 8 in B Minor" and Brahms' "Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor."

Wang Jian cello recital

Date: March 21, 7:30pm
Venue: Shanghai Concert Hall, 523 Yan'an Rd
Tickets: 100-680 yuan

Huang Xiaotong concert

Date: March 14, 7:30pm
Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center, 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong
Tickets: 80-580 yuan

Tel: (021)962-288

(Shanghai Daily March 12, 2008)

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