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October 9, 2010

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Orchestra celebrates birth of Beatles

A celebration of the late Beatles songwriter is just one of the musical treats in store this autumn. Zhu Moqing reports.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will stage their popular program "John Lennon Song Book" at Shanghai Concert Hall next Sunday, featuring memorable Beatles classics sung by some top vocalists.

A tribute to the 70th anniversary of Lennon's birth, the concert will bring back to life, among other songs, "Julia," "Ticket to Ride," "Norwegian Wood," "I Am the Walrus," "Free as a Bird" and "Imagine," accompanied by a full symphony orchestra and sung by top jazz singers Claire Martin and Curtis Stigers.

Liverpool-born actor and songwriter Mark McGann will narrate the program in a setting of musical theater, guiding the audience in a rare journey through Lennon's legendary life.

Conducted by jazz and light music specialist John Wilson, the program was a sell-out when first launched in 2008 and will be restaged today, Lennon's birthday (October 9, 1940), by popular demand at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, shortly before the orchestra's China tour.

Apart from the Liverpool name card, the RLPO will give two other concerts at Shanghai Concert Hall. A classical concert on October 15 will feature British masterpieces like Edward Elgar's "Cockaigne" Overture and "Enigma Variations" as well as Dmitri Shostakovich's "Symphony No. 15," the 20th century Russian master's ultimate symphonic thinking. On the podium will be the orchestra's young Russian principle conductor Vasily Petrenko, who was crowned Male Artist of the Year at the 2010 Classical Brits.

The other concert on October 18 will be an educational program "Back to the Future," where musicians will be dressed in different colors to distinguish each section of the orchestra. The presenter Alasdair Molloy will introduce the timbre of various musical instruments and children can join in the choir, having interaction with the musicians. Popular classical pieces and film music by John Williams and Alan Silvestri will be played at the concert.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will also perform in a gala concert at the Expo 2010 on Liverpool Day, October 16, according to the official website of the Liverpool Pavilion.

Shanghai Concert Hall went into a partnership with Wiener Konzerthaus this year with a signing ceremony in the presence of the Federal President of the Republic of Austria, Dr Heinz Fischer.

The hall's November season will offer more chamber music with genuinely Viennese taste as the hall strengthened links with its Viennese partner.

Renowned virtuoso soloists will continue to dazzle Shanghai's music connoisseurs.

Dubbed the "devil's fiddler," the gypsy violin virtuoso Roby Lakatos will appear at Shanghai Concert Hall on December 10 with a program combining his own compositions, folk tunes and encore classics. He would have appeared in a Shanghai concert in 2008, but sudden gastric bleeding forced him to cancel the concert, according to Xiao Tiansheng, director of Shanghai Concert Hall.

The Romeros Guitar Quartet, consisting of Celedonio Romero and his sons Celin, Pepe and Angel, is known as the "Royal Family of the Guitar." At a concert on November 2, the Spanish family will play an arrangement of "Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto," a household Chinese piece. One of the piece's composers, Chen Gang, will be invited to the concert.

Other notable soloists to be featured in the season will include the Swiss flutist Emmanuel Pahud, the Russian violinist Zakhar Bron and the Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski.

"John Lennon Song Book"

Date: October 17, 7:30pm

Address: 523 Yan'an Rd E.

Tickets: 80-1,080 yuan


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