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Passing the baton

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-16 07:55
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Lam leads students and members of the Tianjin Juilliard Orchestra in a rehearsal on Sept 16. [Photo provided to China Daily]

When he worked as an attorney in Hong Kong, Lam was given the opportunity to conduct his local community orchestra when its regular conductor became unavailable. He loved it so much that he began taking conducting master classes in Europe, learning from the likes of Gustav Meier and David Zinman.

In 2011, Lam won an international conducting competition with Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and made his US professional debut with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in June 2008.Until this year, he had been concurrently music director of both the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, since 2015, and of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, since 2017.

"The idea of having a resident conductor of the Tianjin Juilliard Orchestra started in 2020 when we had our first group of students of the graduate studies program. However, the plan was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic," says He Wei, CEO and artistic director of the Tianjin school. "The school focuses on collaborative programs, and it's crucial to have a resident conductor who can lead our students to collaborate onstage."

Katherine Chu, dean of the Tianjin school, says, "Lam's work across varied disciplines and cultures — in economics, law and music — places him in a unique position to share the diversity and richness of his professional experiences with our students and faculty members."

The Tianjin Juilliard Orchestra is the school's largest student performing ensemble, comprised of students from the graduate studies program majoring in instrumental and orchestral studies, and instrumental and chamber music studies.

He Wei notes that the involvement of faculty members is very important to the progress of a student orchestra. He also recalls that, shortly after he joined the faculty at Tianjin school, he visited and interviewed Larry Rachleff, who was known for his success in creating the renowned conservatory orchestral program at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music.

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