04 June 2008
Today it was time to work. Thanks to John Bleuel I was able to connect with Li Manlong. Manlong is the saxophone professor at the Beijing Central Conservatory–one of nine conservatories of music in China. I taught four of Manlong’s students in a master class before performing TAG. The saxophone studio is much smaller than in Sichuan. Manlong has only nine students. After four hours of teaching we had a late lunch. Manlong gave me several gifts including his own invention, a saxophone resonance device, trade-named “dragon.” It is intriguing radar shaped piece of brass that fastens to the receiver area of the saxophone.
In the late afternoon we walked through many hutongs (alleyways) in Beijing. I found a few nice gifts for my friends back in Oregon. We found an area with many music stores. We checked out several until we were drawn to a couple of saxophonists playing outside of a store specializing in saxophone. Brent haggled for a Vandoren-copy ligature. On the walk back to the hotel we stopped an ate jaozai and drank Yanjing.
Tomorrow I fly back to Medford and Brent heads back to Chengdu. Due to the Sichuan Earthquake and cancellation of the Piano Institute, my trip to China was very different than I’d planned. Nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing friends and teaching in Chengdu. It was comforting to see them after the earthquake. The planned trip to Beijing was more successful than I’d hoped in spite of Brent and I being on our own. We had a spectacular time seeing Beijing, visiting and teaching at the Central Conservatory and meeting Li Manlong. It was fun to see Brent again catch up after nearly three years since he left SOU. I learned that aside from saxophone we share a passion for the Braves, exploring, eating strange street food and listening to Johnny Cash.