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From Mao to Mozart - Isaac Stern in China
From Mao to Mozart - Isaac Stern in China
Actors: Isaac Stern, David Golub, Ching-Ling Soong, Leonard Woodcock
Director: Murray Lerner
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
G     2001     1hr 24min

In 1979, as China re-opened its doors to the West, virtuoso Isaac Stern received an unprecedented invitation from its governernment to tour the country. This extraordinary experience became the landmark, Oscar-winning doc...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Isaac Stern, David Golub, Ching-Ling Soong, Leonard Woodcock
Director: Murray Lerner
Creators: Nick Doob, Murray Lerner, Thomas Haneke, Walter Scheuer
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Classical, Documentary, Music & Performing Arts
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 02/27/2001
Original Release Date: 01/01/1980
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1980
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 24min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

20 years later and I'm still stunned
Christopher L. Lee | Corvallis, Oregon USA | 02/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I saw the original video production of "From Mao to Mozart" 20 years ago as a graduate student in Music. I was stunned! Insightful musical instruction, excellent segues of countryside, people, culture, cities.... I vividly remembered scenes from movie...and was thrilled to see them again when PBS aired the new release in mid-Feb, 2001. It spoke to me both as an Asian and as a musician all the more. Stern's admonitions and instructions continue to add to my musical life. His advice is timeless and worth considering at all points of a musician's life. While technique is basic and necessary, expression is everything--and to carry this torch to future generations is the legacy of this video.The scenes from China: I appreciated the transitions and poignancy all the more after 20 years. Many of the scenes were buried in my memories. I didn't know from where I had picked up those images, but when I saw this reprise of the movie, there they were! Such is the strength of this documentary. Stern's return in 1999 is less compelling. He seems a bit more impatient and the footage does not include much by the translators--an important facet of understanding the cultural differences. Maybe it's because in 1999 the musicians speak English. Maybe it's because the film's editor(s) chose to omit the translations. We'll never know.Quite interesting is the footage of various musicians who met Stern 20 years ago and then appear and perform in 1999. Very strong musicians with vivid memories of their encounters! And their performances are excellent, full, rich, expressive! Another interesting facet is Stern's son, David, who also visited 20 years ago and now appears as the guest conductor in the 1999 footage. His comments and conducting are insightful.The producer's techniques of overlapping the 1979 footage and the 1999 footage is good, but maybe overdone. I found myself impatient to "get on with it" at some times during the 1999 footage. Too much comparison, especially since we just saw the entire movie earlier.BUT....a great work. I'm thrilled that it is now being re-released and may inspire another generation, as Stern continues to inspire past, present, and future generations."
Truly a Remarkable Documentary of Music's Power
rodboomboom | Dearborn, Michigan United States | 06/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"We recently had a wonderful privilege to hear Jian Wang perform with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra where became aware also of this video.Truly captivating is the trip of Mr. Stern to China and his involvement there with the musicians and the people. He truly is a delightful man and his abilities to express and transmit his passion for music is captivating.There are too many poignant scenes to recall, but the additional offerings here on this special DVD are truly bonus! The return trip after twenty years and the interview with Tan are magnificent and touching.Luther had it right: next to the Word of God nothing is as powerful as music --- good music. It's universal and across time and cultures."
An inspiring movie!
R. Rockwell | 10/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This movie has opened my eyes and got a new perspective in playing violin. I'm most inspired by Isaac Stern's saying "there's a life in every note", and he had successfully demonstrated what he meant by that. He made the little girl sang the music out loud for the piece that she was playing, and after that she really played it much better and you could feel a life in it. For all the amateur violinists that don't have a chance to meet with the best violinists in master classes, this is truly a very good teaching material to inspire your playing. It's also very touching to see the 3 musicians joined Isaac after 20 years and see how they have grown in music. I especially like little Jian Wang's performance at the end of the first part of the movie (the part that filmed in 1979)."