SHANGHAI HITS A HIGH NOTE
City’s symphony orchestra is one of the oldest in the world and it deserves to be celebrated as one of the best, says its artistic director Yu Long. reports from Shanghai.
The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will be the first musical ensemble from China to play at the prestigious Lucerne Festival in Switzerland.
The orchestra, led by artistic director Yu Long, will embark on a European tour, with a concert at the Lucerne Festival on Aug 20, followed by performances at Tirol and Grafenegg in Austria, as well as the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany.
“We are one of the best orchestras in the world today,” says Yu. “We hope to perform with distinction at what is one of the most renowned music festivals.”
According to Shanghaibased Jiefang Daily, the orchestra’s European shows will be the “highest level international tour any Chinese music company has done”.
Few orchestras from Asia have performed at the Lucerne Festival, and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will also be the first orchestra from Asia to play at the new Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, says Yu
he Lucerne Festival, founded in 1938, now stages three festivals every year, which are attended by more than 110,000 people annually.
The largest and most prominent is the summer festival, where internationally acclaimed orchestras and soloists perform more than 100 concerts and events in August and September.
Among the big names on the 2017 lineup are the Berlin Philharmonic, the Amsterdam-based Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic.
“Just as Germans take pride in the Berlin Philharmonic, I hope the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra can be the pride of everyone in China,” Yu says when meeting with the Shanghai media before the orchestra set off for Europe.
On the tour, the orchestra will play works such as the Butterfly Lovers’ Concerto by He Zhanhao and Chen Gang, and Aaron Avshalomov’s symphonic poem Hutungs of Peking.
The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1879 and was first known as the Shanghai Public Band.
It expanded into an orchestra in 1907, and was later renamed the Shanghai Municipal Council Symphony Orchestra.
The orchestra began to make international tours in the 1970s. Since then it has been a frequent performer overseas.
“Looking around the world, you’ ll find few orchestras with such a long history — we are even older than the Berlin Philharmonic,” Yu says.
“The orchestra is an important part of the city’s culture and history, and This year’s festival concluded deserves to be celebrated. We with a concert featuring the want to set the bar and show No 5 Symphony in D Minor we are one of the top-level by Shostakovich, conducted symphony orchestras in the by Yu, at the Shanghai Symworld.” phony Hall on July 15.
While China’s public has “We’d love to play more shown great enthusiasm for music by Chinese composers,” foreign culture, the world still he says, but there has not has to learn about Chinese been many “heavyweight” culture, he says. Chinese works in the past dec
Yu has been leading the ades. Shanghai Symphony Orches“The Shanghai orchestra tra for almost eight years. He .has been actively commisis also artistic director Tand sioning new works, and been chief conductor of the China in close contact with young Philharmonic and music composers, because the condirector of Guangzhou Symtinuous birth of new work is phony Orchestra. of vital importance, not only
In Shanghai, he has been for the music scene, but for the co-director of the Music in culture and civilization,” he the Summer Air Festival since says. 2010.
The outdoor festival is aimed at taking classical music to a wider audience. Contact the writer at zhangkun@ chinadaily.com.cn
Yu Long will lead the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland in August.
The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra has frequently performed overseas since the 1970s.