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Fuhong Shi Closes the Distance

Fuhong Shi Closes the Distance

October 17, 2013

"If Canada has any meaning to most Chinese, it is likely through a widely read essay written by the late Chairman Mao in praise of Dr. Norman Bethune, the Montreal doctor who ministered to Mao’s suffering soldiers during the Long March of the late 1930s.

Musically, according to Lawrence Cherney, artistic director of Toronto music presenter Soundstreams, the land of the Maple Leaf remains virtually faceless. Cherney made a gesture toward changing this situation for the better in May of this year, when Soundstreams took music by six Canadian composers—Brian Current, Dorothy Chang, Alexina Louie, Michael Oesterle, R. Murray Schafer, and Gilles Tremblay—to the Beijing Modern Music Festival, the major event of its kind in the People’s Republic of China. The concerts constituted, Cherney contends, the largest concentrated exposure of Canadian music ever to have taken place in Asia. And judging by the audience response to the two Soundstreams programs presented in the Chinese capital, the Canadian composers held their own against such major international figures as Finland’s Kaija Saariaho and Poland’s Krzsytof Penderecki, whose work shared billing on these programs..."