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Cool bargain-ticket classical music

SHANGHAI'S classical music lovers can enjoy two low-cost classical music festivals in the coming month and both target young people and emphasize that they are "cool."

The two-week, eight-concert Jeans Cool Music Festival kicked off yesterday at the Shanghai Concert Hall and features world-renowned musicians and ensembles. To attract young people, ticket prices are as low as 50 yuan (US$7.37) and no more than 480 yuan.

This Sunday night, the amateur Vocational Training Council (VTC) Symphony Orchestra from Hong Kong will stage with noted young violinists Li Chuanyun and Wang Zhijiong in a major "Jeans Cool" concert.

From August 12 to 22, "Classical is Classicool" will be the message of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra's (SSO) outdoor "Music in the Summer Air." It will be SSO's first outdoor festival.

Ticket prices will be as low as 30 yuan and no more than 300 yuan.

Jeans Cool

Artists include young pianist Song Siheng, Russian pianist Ilya Itin, the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Tango Quartet from Canada, and the Christian rock band Still from Cebu, the Philippines.

"These classic music concerts are combined with more elements like tango, multimedia piano recitals and a guitar show," says Xiao Tiansheng, director of the Shanghai Concert Hall.

"We hope to provide more opportunities for audiences to come to the concert hall."

The VTC Symphony Orchestra, which performs on Sunday, was established in 2005 to enable VTC students, alumni and staff to express their talent in music.

Its musical training and performances around the world help raise the status of vocational education and training in Hong Kong.

In the Sunday concert, the orchestra will perform Copland's "Hoe Down from Rodeo," Rossini's "Theme from The Lone Ranger" and Claude-Michel Schoenberg's "Selections from 'Les Miserables'."

Along with a chorus, it will present popular works "Jasmine Flower," "Music of the Night" and "Climb Every Mountain."

Noted violinist Li Chuanyun from Hong Kong will perform Paganini's "Violin Concerto No. 1 (Third Movement)." He will collaborate with Wang Zhijiong on Bach's "Navarra for Two Violins" and his solo will be Wieniawski's "Polonaise in D Major."

"The local concert hall contributing a lot to the young local musician talents will give them more performance opportunities and the collaboration chances with worldwide renowned maestros in this festival," Xiao says.


Yu Long, musical director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Charles Dutoit, the principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, will lead their two ensembles as well as the Shanghai Quartet and the China Trio at the SSO's outdoor musical festival.

More than 20 distinguished musicians will perform, including Sumi Jo, Shen Yang, Wei Song, Liao Changyong, Yang Jie, Li Yundi, Kirill Gerstein, Chantal Juillet, Xu Zhong, Tang Junqiao, Song Xiaochen, Zhang Liang, Xia Xiaotang and Lin Daye.

"I am pleased to work again with my dear friend Yu Long who is always behind the great classical musical events taking place in China," Dutoit says. "Together, we are aiming for a very successful festival that will hopefully develop into one of the most important music festivals in Asia."

At the intersection of Fenyang Road and Huaihai Road M., a 1,500-square-meter tent will be set up as the music hall.

"We are expressing the concept of 'Classical is Classicool,' to make this festival relaxing and full of fun," Yu says. "We are pricing the tickets as low as 30 yuan but all the programs are carefully prepared to give a wonderful artistic enjoyment to the audience."


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