The visit was part of a new and determined effort to better connect with Interlochen's international constituents; China is critical in that regard as we now have more students at Camp (22 students in the summer of 2013) and Academy (36 students currently enrolled) from China than from any other single country outside of the United States.
Interlochen Trustee Emerita Shirley Young hosted a reception for Interlochen alumni, parents, and friends at her home in Shanghai on November 3rd. This gathering featured a performance by Academy Alumnus Joe Zhou (IAA 03-05, IAC'04), who is principal clarinetist for the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. The next evening, Kimpton and Dougherty were invited to attend a dinner party for the San Diego Symphony, who were visiting Shanghai as part of the “Friendship Tour” of China. The dinner was hosted by financier and alumnus James Kralik (IAC 74-75) at his Shanghai home; Jim is the youngest of nine siblings, all of whom attended Interlochen Arts Camp.
In Beijing, Kimpton and Dougherty were graciously welcomed by parents of current Academy students, most notably Taoya Wang and Fu Dong, parents of Camilla Fu (IAC 11, IAA 12-present), who hosted a gathering for Interlochen families and arranged for Jeff and Tim to see some of Beijing’s most famous sights, such as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Summer Palace.
The Spring trip, details of which are currently being finalized, will feature an exchange with the High School of the Shanghai Conservatory, our partner since 2011. Interlochen is planning to take 4 faculty and 15 students, who will give performances, faculty master classes, visit schools and attend classes and rehearsals.
The international strategy comes at a key time for Interlochen in China.
“We found in our discussions that there is a growing interest in arts education in China,” said Jeffrey Kimpton, Interlochen Center for the Arts president. “The central government is shifting its focus away from math/science and embracing the liberal arts, greater creativity and communication. It is only natural that we are seen as a destination for Chinese students seeking the best in the arts and academics.”