Saints We Love

Saturday, May 21, 2011

FROM MAO TO MOZART: Isaac Stern in China

My husband and I saw this film in a little art theater in Ghirardelli Square (home of Ghirardelli Chocolate) in San Francisco in 1980.  The theater held about 50 people.  We saw, in the film, young people who could play technically with perfection but lacked passion. Passion for Western music had not been allowed.  Isaac had enough passion for all of China; he taught it, left it behind and forevermore changed the music in the hearts and souls of many Chinese. 

It was a spellbinding production!  We were not the only ones who felt that way because, at the close of this little documentary, everyone stood for a Standing 'O" for Isaac Stern and musicians in China. 

Twenty years later, Isaac Stern returned to China and some of these same young people had become great musicians who played music with passion.  The more recent remaster DVD has a DVD of the 20 year later visit.  Don't miss it. Terry Fenwick
From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China is a 1980 documentary film about Western culture breaking into China produced and directed by Murray Lerner. It portrays the famous violinist and music teacher Isaac Stern as the first American musician to collaborate with the China Central Symphony Society (Now China National Symphony Orchestra). The film documented Mr. Stern's rehearsals and performances of Mozart and Brahms violin concertos with the famous Chinese conductor Li Delun, who also acted as his guide and translator on his trip. The film also included footage of Mr. Stern's visit to the Central Conservatory of Music and Shanghai Conservatory of Music where he lectured to the Chinese music students on violin playing and the art of musical expression. Among many others talented players, young cellist Jian Wang (at the time only ten years old) is featured briefly, Jian Wang has gone on to international stardom. 
The film won the 1980Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. It was also screened out of competition at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival.

External links

Here is the link for You Tube for the film:

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