We have received the following report from an occasional correspondent in Shanghai, who requests anonymity:
The Three Highs Philharmonic Amateur Orchestra gave a low-profile non-public debut on November 30 at Shanghai Grand Theatre. It is comprised of high ranking politicians (ministers), high ranking military officers (generals) and high level intellectuals (professors or equivalent).
The Mayor and party boss of Shanghai Mr Han Zheng played accordion and the orchestra performed the cantata Jianzhen Crosses the Ocean to Japan, one of the pieces composed by the former Vice Premier and Politburo member Mr Li Lanqing set to the poem by Guo Moruo. The oldest orchestra member is 90 years ago. The grand public debut is set for Dec 21, 2012 at NCPA in Beijing.
So far little is known about this orchestra, how the musicians were selected and how was it funded. Some professionals are calling it “El sistema at the other end of the spectrum”.