Building Bridges Through Music: Beethoven in Beijing
On December 17, 2020 Asia Society Northern California along with the Asia Society Global Cultural Diplomacy Initiatives hosted a panel featuring filmmakers and musicians involved in the documentary film, Beethoven in Beijing. The film starts with a forgotten moment in history, when President Nixon secured an invitation to have his favorite orchestra visit the People’s Republic of China and help renew relations after decades of isolation. The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 1973 tour was a tentative gesture of cultural diplomacy that resonates today, as China produces a new generation of musicians, erects dozens of new concert halls and sends talent to join orchestras around the world.
The discussion centered around building new connections across cultures and between nations. Speakers included Nicholas Platt, President Emeritus, Asia Society; Jindong Cai, Consulting Producer, Beethoven in Beijing and Director, U.S.-China Music Institute at Bard College; Peng Peng Gong, Classical Composer and Pianist; Jennifer Lin, Co-Director and Co-Producer, Beethoven in Beijing; and Ryan Fleur, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra; and Sheila Melvin, Asia Society Northern California Board, moderating the session. Rachel Cooper, Director of Global Cultural Diplomacy Initiatives at Asia Society gave opening remarks. Thank you to our event partner, China Now Music Festival.