This WaPo story about the National Symphony Orchestra starting on an Asian tour to celebrate the 30th year of diplomatic relations with China reinforces the point I made in an earlier post about Asians possibly being the future of classical music. It reminds us that the first American orchestra played in China only in 1973. Now there are 30-50 million Chinese people studying piano (o fcourse the NBA broadcast tonight claimed 300 million Chinese play basketball). New concert halls and opera houses are being built throughout the country. A single factory near Beijing turns out between a fifth and a third of the violins made in the world each year.
Here's a review of the NSO's first concert on the tour, in Macau.
Of course classical music in both countries is a symbol of wealth. If the current recession gets worse -- and considering the hair-of-the-dog approach the administration has taken that seems likely-- it will be interesting to see if classical music suffers seriously or has the resiliency to make it through hard times.