Orchestra takes Scotland to China

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Galloway musicians were to the fore in China recently during a tour of the country by the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra.

The SFO has just returned from playing a series of nine New Year concerts in the country.

The group of 64 players entertained around 8000 people in eight cities in areas around Shanghai and further south.

Chinese audiences are known for being reserved, but they clearly enjoyed lively evenings of Scottish music. All signs of reserve disappeared as they clapped along, and danced in the aisles, encouraged by members of the orchestra.

The orchestra also played some Chinese pieces, including, by special request, a piece scored for full orchestra and hastily rearranged, “The Blooming Red Lily and Farewell to the Red Army Soldiers”.

The audience’s enthusiastic reaction extended to an overwhelming gathering in the foyer after each show, looking for photos, CDs and autographs. There was also some TV coverage, and a very enthusiastic response on the Chinese version of Twitter.

Notable events included “Hogmanay in Hangzhou”, where the New Year concert was followed by a ceilidh in the orchestra’s hotel. This was attended by around 30 Chinese guests, including several Chinese concert promoters.