Katya Knyazeva (avezink) wrote,
Katya Knyazeva
avezink

What foreigner wants to be a musician in Shanghai?

Certainly not Maestro Mario Paci, who, having led the Municipal Orchestra for a year, began to plan a tour of Europe in June 1920. According to Paci, "it was exceedingly improbable that he would ever be able to maintain an efficient band of Italian, French or Russians who were almost invariably consumed with ambition for a European career" – himself not excluded. Paci thought that "when this goal is despaired of, they become useless." He believed that "the only foreign musicians who would find Shanghai suit them would be of German, British or Dutch nationality." [Minutes of the SMC, 1920.]

History proved him wrong. Less than a year later, highly qualified musicians from the flocks of Russian refugees began to staff the Municipal Orchestra – and they did not have the luxury of dreaming of a better place than Shanghai. Having changed his mind, Maestro Paci spent 23 years leading the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra and left the city only in 1942.


Mario Paci conducting in concert, 1930. Image: Stanford Libraries.

UPDATE on the venue at the above photo. On May 18, 1930, the last concert at the Town Hall on Nanking Road was conducted by Mario Paci. This must have been the occasion for the photograph. Too bad the Town Hall had to be demolished in August 1931.


Town Hall on Nanking Road. Image: Shanghai Municipal Archive.


Paci conducting at the Town Hall, in 1926. Image: NCDN.

Tags: 1920, 1920s, municipal council, music, russians, shanghai
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