By 1970, Western music had virtually disappeared from China—targeted for destruction by the Cultural Revolution. Today, classical music is thriving throughout the country, as Chinese virtuosos thrill audiences in gleaming new concert halls. A turning point was a breakthrough visit by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1973, which helped rekindle Chinese interest in classical music and forged a unique connection between China and the Orchestra—a bond that has endured for decades. Beethoven in Beijing brings this riveting story to life through the memories of the Chinese and American musicians who played together in 1973, stunning archival footage from China and the U.S., and intimate sessions with current artists who are living out this cultural connection. Charismatic conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun and piano superstar Lang Lang are just three of the performers who weave their complex experiences into the fabric of the film. A rich mix of forgotten history, engaging stories and stirring performances, Beethoven in Beijing offers a striking then-and-now look at the cross-cultural power of music.
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