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Bright Sheng has just finished a 3-hour rehearsal with the Asian Youth Orchestra in Hong Kong. You can detect a hint of tiredness in his voice, but it’s overlaid with a definite tone of achievement, and excitement even, for what lies ahead.

“We’ve been putting in more or less that amount of practice time every day recently and I think we’re ready to give it our first shot,” said Sheng, winner of the prestigious MacArthur Genius Grant. The orchestra kicked off a 23-day, record 17-concert series, including seven in Japan, Saturday at Kyoto Concert Hall.

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