SUMMER 2014: JAHJA LING IN HANG ZHOU AND JAKARTA
On July 4, 2014, Jahja Ling conducted a concert with the Hang Zhou Philharmonic in a program of Suppé, Mozart and Brahms. After performing Brahms’ Third Symphony, the audience enthusiastically applauded for more than six curtain calls. The audience only stopped applauding after Mr. Ling took the hand of the concertmaster and led him off the stage. At the “Meet and Greet’ following the concert, Mr. Ling was astonished to see so many young people, including children, who attended the concert. Stefan Schweigert, principal bassoonist of the Berlin Philharmonic and the soloist for the evening, later told Mr. Ling that he was deeply moved in the interpretation of Brahms’ Third, according well with the great Berlin performance tradition which he has experienced under Maestros Karajan, Abbado and Rattle. The HZ orchestra, established only five years ago, has already developed into a good ensemble. Every season the City of Hang Zhou subsidizes a concert tour of Europe for the orchestra.
On July 19, 2014, Mr. Ling returned to his birthplace, Jakarta, where he conducted a concert with the Jakarta Symphony featuring his oldest daughter Priscilla, who had just celebrated her eleventh birthday two days prior to the concert. She made her orchestral debut playing Bach’s Piano Concerto in F minor . Mr. Ling said while Priscilla performed by memory and with utmost confidence in every rehearsal, he has never been so anxious conducting any concert. Priscilla rose to the occasion in front of a full house and he and Jessie Chang (Mr. Ling’s wife and Priscilla’s mother) were very proud of her achievement. Jessie also performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in Bb Major as part of her Beethoven cycle in Jakarta. She has also performed the Emperor (Concerto No. 5), Concerto No. 3, the Triple Concerto (with Jeff Thayer and Yao Zhao) and the Choral Fantasy.
Following the Bach and Beethoven, Mr. Ling conducted the 120-member Jakarta Oratorio Society, two vocal soloists, and the Jakarta Symphony in a performance in Brahms’ monumental German Requiem. The work, about 70 minutes long, is one of the most beautiful and profound requiems ever written and is unusual in its text because it does not use the Roman Catholic liturgy, instead using direct quotations from the Bible. Mr. Ling said that he was unable to hold back tears when the chorus sang the great Fugues in the second and sixth movements. Performing this great work in Jakarta and hearing the incredible sound from the chorus and the ensemble in this phenomenal hall was like a dream to him. The hall was only built four years ago at a cost of only $10 million (US dollars) and the orchestra was founded after the hall was built. The aesthetics and the acoustics of the hall are so beautiful and outstanding that a conductor from the Vienna Symphony recently ranked it as one of ten best halls in the world.