An illustrious music partner to have
The Philadelphia Orchestra celebrated its five-year strategic agreement with the Shanghai Oriental Art Center (SHOAC) by holding a concert on May 22.
The concert featured a variety of works by Nordic composers, from Sibelius’ Finlandia to Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No.1 and Bruckner’s Symphony No.4, under the baton of its music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin. During their stay in Shanghai, the orchestra also played at the tourism enterprise zone, alongside instrumentalists from the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra.
“No matter what our governments agree on…at the end of the day, I truly believe that the Chinese and the Americans don’t only like each other, but also enjoy working with each other. They both have a terrific commitment to people-to-people exchange,” said Craig Hamilton, vice president of the global initiatives of the orchestra.
“Our musicians are not happy to just sit in a hotel or concert hall. They want to get out and share their music. This collaboration means we get to plan for great things with our Shanghai counterparts, share resources and ideas, and provide better service to the community, which is the main purpose of this new relationship.”
Founded in 1900, the Philadelphia Orchestra has been a pioneer in the industry. It was the first orchestra to record sound, be on radio, broadcast a full symphony concert on television and do a soundtrack with Walt Disney. Although the orchestra has visited China several times over the decades, this was the first time it was led by NezetSeguin. The 41-year-old Canadian became its music director in 2012.
Nezet-Seguin said that the priority of an orchestra today is to “make everyone feel welcomed”. To do so, Philadelphia Orchestra organizes free popup concerts at its hall every year, notifying audiences via their official website and social media platforms. Such events have always been very popular — 3,500 tickets were given away within 26 hours for their latest concert.
Lin Hongming, general manager of SHOAC, said that although a number of young musicians from China are gaining recognition in the global music scene, China’s music industry in general still has much room for improvement.
He added that SHOAC plans to host masterclasses for musicians, conductors and theater managers in China as part of this partnership with Philadelphia Orchestra and that Nezet-Seguin will be able to play a vital role in these events by sharing his experiences of working with renowned orchestras around the world and inspiring musicians to present music with flair.