Great Performances: Beethoven in Beijing

Great Performances: Beethoven in Beijing

Fri, 04/16/2021 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm

Experience the international impact of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s historic 1973 trip to China, offering a story of cultural reversals and a glimpse into the worldwide future of classical music.

Great Performances: Beethoven in Beijing spotlights the resurgence of classical music in China through the legacy of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the first American orchestra to perform in China in 1973. Following the end of China’s Cultural Revolution, when Western classical music was banned in favor of politically themed works, the onset of “Beethoven fever” began. Narrated by American and Chinese musicians and historians, the film explores the impact of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s historic tour on China both then and now. Renowned musicians, including Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun, Philadelphia-trained famed classical pianist Lang Lang, Philadelphia Orchestra and Metropolitan Opera music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and more share their stories of how Beethoven’s music shaped their careers as China’s classical music scene boomed. Featuring archival footage and first-person recollections from American and Chinese musicians, the documentary brings the 1973 visit to life alongside a behind-the-scenes look at present-day tours capturing the dynamism of China, from its new concert halls to its tens of thousands of young musicians. Great Performances: Beethoven in Beijing premieres Friday, April 16 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

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