A tour of the Far East is currently taking the Mandelring Quartet to Manila, Hong Kong, Singapore and Beijing. There will be concerts and workshops at the invitation of the Goethe Institut and the German ambassador to Beijing. The concert programme includes a premiere: a work titled “Quartet Dissonances” by Jeffrey Ching, a composer originally from Manila but now resident in Berlin, incorporates allusions to Mozart’s “Dissonance Quartet”. In the workshops the Mandelring Quartet will work with young ensembles and composers. One item in the Beijing concert is a piece for chamber orchestra that will be studied and performed by the Mandelring Quartet together with prizewinners from the “Jugend musiziert” competition for young musicians, which has also recently been established in China.

Incidentally the quartet’s tour has led the airline company Cathay Pacific to substitute a different design of aircraft for one leg of the journey from the one scheduled, thereby solving a problem: owing to internal specifications regarding the passenger cabin, there would have been no suitable space in the original plane in which to transport the cello.