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April 1, 2023

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Shanghai Chinese Orchestra new season eyes younger generations

The Shanghai Chinese Orchestra kicked off the 2023-24 season last week with a concert of vibrant new works by the orchestra’s young generation, including a few born after 1995.

Conducted by Yao Shenshen and Peng Fei, the season’s opening performance, showcasing the orchestra’s confidence in its young talent, was also part of the ongoing 38th Shanghai Spring International Music Festival.

In addition, it provided a sneak preview into the variety and creativity of the new season, which will see the orchestra returning with upgraded versions of its best performances, exploring newly created concerts and multimedia shows, as well as putting similar ethnic instruments from different countries side by side.

Yangqin (扬琴), a Chinese hammered dulcimer most possibly introduced by land through the Silk Road, will be featured in November, along with the instrument's Asian and European relatives — Iranian santur and Hungarian cimbalom. Hungarian musician Jeno Lisztes, who began playing the Hungarian dulcimer at age 4, will be playing along with yangqin performers from the orchestra.

The orchestra’s well-acclaimed multimedia concert, “Traditional Music Rises from the Sea Horizon,” will return to the Shanghai Concert Hall from July 7 to August 5. It has proved to be one of the most popular traditional Chinese music performances since it became the concert hall’s residency show in 2021, and will have its 100th performance at the historic building by the end of this round.

Each piece in the repertoire is an example of the spirit or imagery of Chinese culture, visually complemented through high-tech multimedia methods. The concert also highlights the integration of Eastern and Western instruments such as blending suona, Chinese double-reed horn, with rock band and electronic music.

The orchestra will also host special concerts on various holidays.

Poems of Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), the ancient poet from whom the Dragon Boat Festival originated, will be featured at a concert on June 21, the eve of the festival.

On Children’s Day, a tailor-made concert entitled “Tales of the Chinese Zodiac” will feature a new piece inspired by each of the 12 zodiac animals, giving children a unique experience through music.

A romantic multimedia show will be held on Chinese Valentine’s Day, which falls on August 22 this year.

Other highlights include concerts devoted to different types of instruments, a concert featuring new works by famed composer Gu Guanren, and a brand-new show “Above the Cloud” inspired by ancient Chinese cosmology and myth.


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