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GREAT PERFORMANCES: Beethoven In Beijing

Stream or tune in Friday, April 16, 2021 at 9 p.m. & Sunday, April 18 at 2 p.m. on KPBS 2

Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin with pianist Lang Lang. GREAT PERFORMANCES “Be...

Credit: Courtesy of History Making Productions

Above: Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin with pianist Lang Lang. 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.

Featuring interviews with Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun, famed classical pianist Lang Lang, Philadelphia Orchestra music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and more!

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.

GREAT PERFORMANCES: Beethoven In Beijing: Preview

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.

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.

Photo credit: Courtesy of History Making Productions

Concertmaster Norman Carol at a rehearsal with members of Central Philharmonic, China, 1973.

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.

The Problem with Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

Learn why the Philadelphia Orchestra had to cut Beethoven's Fifth Symphony from their program and replace it with his Sixth.

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.

Tan Dun on Preserving the Nu Shu Language

Academy Award winning composer, Tan Dun, explores the power of Nu Shu, a sacred language created by Chinese women and passed down from generation to generation.

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Photo credit: Courtesy of History Making Productions

Conductor Eugene Ormandy meets with Li Delun from the Central Philharmonic, China, 1973.

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Credits:

A production of History Making Productions, produced by Sam Katz, Jennifer Lin, Jindong Cai and Sharon Pinkenson. Directed by Jennifer Lin and Sharon Mullally. Executive producers are Audrey and Martin Silverstein. For GREAT PERFORMANCES, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer. GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET

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