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July 31, 2009

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Mehta to conduct Philharmonic

TICKETS are going fast for the single performance by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in September. Nie Xin reports.

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta will perform at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center on September 27, five years after making its debut in the city.

The program of classical, romantic and contemporary music will feature Mozart's Overture to the "Marriage of Figaro," Haydn's Symphony No. 104 in D (the "London" Symphony), and Brahms' Symphony No. 4 in E minor.

The orchestra has performed four times in China since 1973, including once in Shanghai.

It will perform in Tokyo on September 26 and Seoul on September 28, leaving just one day for the performance in Shanghai.

There is probably no other musical ensemble more consistently associated with the history and tradition of European classical music than the 167-year-old VPO.

It is especially well known for its annual New Year's Day concerts, which began in 1941 and are broadcast worldwide to more than 50 countries and regions.

Since 1933, the orchestra has had no single principal conductor, but instead a number of prominent guest conductors. Over the years it has been helmed by virtually all the luminaries, including Gustav Mahler, Hans Richter, Richard Strauss, Arturo Toscanino, Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Lorin Maazel and Daniel Barenboim.

The upcoming concert will be the first time Mehta conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in Shanghai.

From 1978 to 1991, Mehta was the music director and principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic, making him the longest holder of the post. Mehta has also been music director of the Israel Philharmonic and Bavarian State Opera in Munich.

He conducted the Israel Philharmonic three times in Shanghai, the debut in the grand hall of Shanghai municipal government building 13 years ago and two other performances in 2004 and 2007.

"It will be the first time that I perform on the stage of the Shanghai Oriental Art Center, and I am really looking forward to bringing the perfect concert to the audience in Shanghai, the best audience in my heart," says Mehta.

Mehta has other ties with the city. His uncle lived in Shanghai for 20 years and his elder brother was born in Shanghai and returned to India when he was five years old.

"He only spoke Shanghainese when he went back to India," says Mehta of his brother.

"It was not easy to bring the Vienna Philharmonic to Shanghai. The upcoming concert is one of the most important performances for our center this year," says Lin Hongming, general manager of Shanghai Oriental Art Center.

"Having such an amazing orchestra and conductorcome to perform is truly aspecial opportunity."

Daniel Froschauer, first violinist, comments: "We wish to give our hearts and music to the people of Shanghai."

CCTV will air the concert live.Tickets are now on sale.

Date: September 27, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center, 425 Dingxiang Rd

Tickets: 300-2,800 yuan

Tel: 962-388, 3842-4800

Website:, New Season Kicks Off

Shanghai Oriental Art Center (SHOAC) has released its performance schedule for 2009-2010.

During the 290 days from September this year to August next year, more than 110 concerts will be presented by 38 international music groups and over 60 musicians from 22 countries.

Shanghai Opera House will kick off the new season with "Carmina Burana" on September 20. The closing performance will be "La Boheme" by Choir & Orchestra of Teatro Regio Torino from Italy.

The musical feast will also be a highlight of World Expo 2010 Shanghai that starts on May 1 next year.

To celebrate the Shanghai Expo, the whole month of May in 2010 will be "the month of Expo" at the art center. Fifteen heavyweight concerts will be staged, including shows by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart with Sir Roger Norrington.

Lin Hongming, general manager of SHOAC, says more Chinese elements such as traditional operas like Peking Opera, Kunqu Opera, Yueju Opera, Huju Opera and Chuanju Opera are scheduled in the new season.

World-famous orchestras invited include Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie and London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Over 60 maestros will be performing during the yearlong music season, including conductors Zubin Mehta, Charles Dutoit, Christopher Eschenbach, Yu Long and Tang Muhai; pianists Martha Argerich and Maksim Mrvica; soloist Sobine Meyer; and violinist Midori Goto.

Since next year is the 200th jubilee of Chopin, a series of concerts will be held to pay homage to the master, including the "Chopin Complete Piano Solo Cycle" by Chinese pianist Sun Meiting, winner of the Chopin Piano Competition in 2004.

About 50,000 tickets of 40 concerts are already available for sale. Check more information through the hotline 3842-4800 or the Website (


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