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By Raymond Zhou (China Daily)

09:03, August 28, 2012

Alliance of Asia-Pacific Region Orchestra Chairwoman Guo Shan attends a rehearsal for the orchestra's 2012 European tour at the Slovak Philharmonic Hall in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. (Photos by Guo Lei / For China Daily)

The doyenne of symphonic music in the Asia-Pacific region takes some of the best talent from the region to the home base of classical music, writes Raymond Zhou from Bratislava, Slovakia.

When the glorious brass sound of the beginning of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 4 was blasted across the Slovak Philharmonic Hall in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, it brought tears to Guo Shan.

It was not even a formal performance, just the first rehearsal for the 2012 European tour by the Asia-Pacific United Orchestra.

"I can have peace of mind knowing that the musicians put their heart and soul into their work," says Guo, chairwoman of the Alliance of Asia-Pacific Region Orchestra. "You can feel the passion they put into the music. It's not just a job they do, they really love making beautiful music."

However, Guo does not see the musicians of this orchestra on a daily basis. Some of them she had just met for the first time. They hail from 27 orchestras from all over - and even beyond - the Asia-Pacific region, 20 countries to be exact. There are Asians working in Europe and America, and vice versa.

"Most of them are in their 30s or 40s, the prime of their careers, and most of them are principals or associate principals of their respective orchestras," Guo explains.

Guo, who started learning the piano at the age of 12 and spent decades managing classical music institutions in China, is on a mission: She wants to showcase the best of classical music from the region.

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