Monday, 26 May 2014


Tourist sightseeing boats at Nanjing's Fuzimiao.

Day 4 (Monday, 19 May 2014)

We decamped and headed north for the old Nationalist capital city of Nanjing. The bus journey took the best part of four hours, but it all seemed a breeze with Jeremy Monteiro busy autographing CDs and nostalgically reliving his days on the road, and I getting briefed by SCO Productions Manager Lee Chun Seng on the orchestra’s history and distinctiveness. As the orchestra got set up at the Zijin Grand Theatre, I visited the tourist hotspot of Fuzimiao, a most picturesque locality where the Confucius Temple meets a branch of the Grand Canal.

Ming Xiao Ling; Mausoleum and final resting place
of the first Ming emperor Zhu Yuan Zhang.

Sun Yatsen's tomb on Zijinshan.

Day 5 (Tuesday, 20 May 2014)

Time for more sightseeing for me. Thus I headed for the verdant hills of Zijinshan, site of the Ming royal tombs and Sun Yatsen mausoleum. My feet ached from all the walking, but there was still some energy left to visit the spectacular Nanjing Museum.

Part of the Porcelain Gate
at the Nanjing Museum.

Erhu virtuoso Zhu Changyao
with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra.

The concert in Nanjing has a more folksy appeal than the contemporary offerings in the Shanghai gig. Appropriately, The Voyage from Law Wai Lun’s Admiral of the Seven Seas opens the evening. It was from the ancient capital of Nanjing that explorer Zheng He set on his maritime expeditions under the auspices of the Ming emperor Yong Le. Nanjing’s esteemed erhu exponent Zhu Changyao, Director of the Jiangsu Arts Centre, was the soloist in his own composition Midnight At The Maple Bridge. His tone and mastery was awe-inspiring in this mellow number, and he was joined by four SCO erhu players Zhu Lin, Zhou Ruo Yu, Shen Qin and Tao Kai Li (all Nanjing natives) in the medley Melodies of Yangzhou for a happy homecoming.    

SCO's guan principal Han Lei
in Zhao Jiping's Silk Road Fantasia.

Jeremy Monteiro and bassist Lee Khiang
in Kelly Tang's jazz piano concerto Montage.

Guan virtuoso Han Lei took centrestage in Zhao Jiping’s Silk Road Fantasia Suite, the three movements sounding ever more exotic in an already exotic evening of Chinese music. To round off, Jeremy Monteiro, bassist Lee Khiang and drummer Tama Goh returned for Kelly Tang’s Montage, which had a more liberated and free-wheeling quality this evening. Buoyed by the vociferous applause, the jazzman threw in his Soliloquy as an encore. Maestro Yeh’s two further encores were also big hit for the excitable and somewhat undisciplined audience. A few of its members were caught blatantly videotaping the concert. Talk about unabashed and unbridled enthusiasm!

Another video for Youtube!
Its legal if you don't get arrested!

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