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A Woodwind Wonder

February 20, 2014

Sabine Meyer @ NCPA

As Europe ushers in the 2014-15 musical season, the thorny issue of gender imbalance in the world of classical music has reared its head once again with key figures decrying a distinct lack of women in orchestras. An improbable problem perhaps in the C. 21st, but statistics (including the fact that only last year did Marin Alsop become the first woman to conduct London’s Last Night of the Proms) indicate otherwise. How refreshing then that Beijing’s forward-thinking National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) has jumped at the chance to welcome the First Lady of the clarinet, Sabine Meyer, who will take the lead in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major, alongside the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne and conductor Markus Stenz.

Meyer has been causing a stir since her career first began in 1982 when she became one of the first and only female members of the Berlin Philharmonic. At the conclusion of her probation, players voted against her 73 to 4 insisting her tone didn’t fit in, while many observers, including the orchestra's music director Herbert von Karajan, believed the real reason to be gender. Although solo clarinetists were not widely marketable at the time, Meyer decided to strike out alone as a full-time solo clarinetist and is today regarded as one of the most important solo musicians in the world. Now in Beijing for one night only!

Sun 23 Feb / NCPA / 2 Xi Chang'an Jie / Xicheng / +86 10 6655 0000 for tickets /