A walk in the park (sponsored by the Shanghai Spiritual Civilization Promotional Committee) before the auditions ~ one sees little boys playing with helicopters, all ages doing tai chi, men painting Chinese characters on the open walkways; writing is considered a fine art and exercise in China.

Dinner included roasted lamb bits presented in a Chinese boat sailing on a cloud.

Marcello Abbado pauses with us in front of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Over the two days and three evenings, we heard 16 applicants, 12 males and 4 females. Liszt was the most performed composer. However, we heard 5 performances of Rachmaninoff’s Second Sonata, a Bach prelude, two Mozart sonatas, and 2 Chopin nocturnes. It is interesting to note audiences in China are reserved in their applause even though they are rapt in their listening to the performances. More than half of the hall was filled with young people, and parents brought their children who tried hard to sit still ~ like young children everywhere; they ultimately found it more comfortable in the balcony.

As we left Shanghai, this red symbol was being hung everywhere as the Chinese begin to celebrate their New Year, the year of the Ox. The Chinese are a vibrant people, eager to embrace the present and mold the future. We leave inspired and continue the quest for competitors for the Thirteenth Competition in Hannover. It will be a 24 hour journey. Alann

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