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June 8, 2024

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Fest to offer a feast of live musicYao Minji

SHANGHAI’S annual Music in the Summer Air (MISA) festival will return on July 1, with 15 days of live concerts, cultural talks and other activities across the city.

Musicians from around the world will not only perform in concert halls and live houses, but also at the city’s many landmarks.

The 15th MISA has a line-up of both established artists and up-and-coming talent. Visiting musicians include the New York Philharmonic, German-British baritone Benjamin Appl and La Risonanza under the baton of Fabio Bonizzoni.

The festival will open with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra under the batons of four generations of Chinese conductors, from the orchestra’s music director Yu Long, who will turn 60 during the festival, to emerging conductor Sun Yifan, who is 30.

The star-studded repertoire, featuring music by Chopin, Brahms, Strauss and Mendelssohn, will also see soloists from different generations each night, from well-established cellist Wang Jian, 56, to piano prodigy Serena Wang, who started winning awards at age 5 and just turned 20.

The opening night will also feature famed violist Ning Feng, cellist Qin Liwei and pianist Zhang Haochen.

The opening will be followed by two nights of the much-anticipated return of the New York Philharmonic as a full orchestra for the first time since 2019. Jaap van Zweden will conduct the orchestra at the two concerts of music by Mahler and Brahms on July 2, and Mozart and Copland symphonies on July 3.

The festival’s signature chamber program includes seven concerts, starting with a repertoire of piano duos by Mozart and Arensky and the world premiere of a new two-piano eight-hand arrangement of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” on July 4.

The chamber program also features recitals by Latvian accordionist Ksenija Sidorova and baritone Appl on July 5; the GCG Chamber Orchestra performing works of Bernstein, John Adams, Corigliano and Korngold on July 6; mezzo-soprano Wu Hongni and pianist Sergey Rybin on July 12; and musicians from the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra joining to perform pieces including Weber’s Clarinet Quintet on July 13.

The popular MISA Open Air outdoor concerts on the Shanghai Urban Music Lawn will return this year with seven free concerts. The program includes harmonica virtuoso Gianluca Littera and conductor Zhang Lu on July 5; the JZ Big Band on July 6; a tango trio with Sidorova, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky and multiinstrumentalist Claudio Constantini on July 7; and the Italian Saxophone Quartet on July 8.

The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will collaborate with soprano Fang Qiong on July 9 under the baton of the orchestra’s conductor-in-residence Zhang Jiemin. Novus-Classica Camerata, whose members are mostly in their 20s, will perform with pianist Serena Wang, under the baton of the music troupe’s conductor and co-founder Jin Yukuang on July 11.

The outdoor program will close on July 12 with a night of music by the Makoto Ozone Jazz Quartet.

On July 15, conductor Yu and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will close the festival with a night of martial arts music, featuring Tan Dun’s “Hero Concerto” and the world premiere of Elliot Leung’s “Wuxia,” which was written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of famous martial arts novelist Louis Cha.

Cha, better known by his pen name Jin Yong, died in 2018 at age 94.


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