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September 11, 2009

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SSO celebrates 130 years of making music

SHANGHAI Symphony Orchestra (SSO), the earliest and the best-known ensemble of its kind in Asia, will mark its 130th anniversary with a celebratory concert.

Originally known as the Shanghai Public Band formed in 19th century, it developed into an orchestra in 1907.

In the upcoming SSO 130 Gala Concert on September 27, Shanghai-born musicians will take the stage together to celebrate more than a century of music making.

The artists will include conductor Yu Long, pianist Lang Lang and singers Zhang Jiangyi, Liao Changyong and Shen Yang.

The program will include Berlioz's "Carnaval Romain," "My Kind Motherland," "Mephistopheles' Serenade" from "Faust," "Homesickness," "Shanghai Caprice" and Rachmaninov's "Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor."

After a five-month international search for musicians, the new blood of the orchestra will also be opening its new season of performances which will feature 103 distinguished performers from all over the world and guest perfomances by 10 renowned musicians from overseas orchestras.

Yu, one of the most distinguished Chinese conductors with an established international reputation, has been musical director of the SSO from the beginning of this year and his efforts are already bearing fruit as he leads the orchestra into a new era.

Top musical talents have been invited to join the orchestra, and renowned cellist Wang Jian became its artist in residence.

Wang and Yu will collaborate in the new season's opening concert "Shanghai Symphony Orchestra at 130: New Harmony, New Forte" on September 26, with Dvorak's "Cello Concerto in B minor" and Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 5 in E Minor."

"I am confident of the future development of SSO, and all the Chinese will be proud of our performance in the new season," says Yu.

World-famous Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit has been invited to be artistic advisor to the SSO, effective from the beginning of the new season.

The chief conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, music director of Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and the music director of Verbier Festival Orchestra, has had connections in China for over 10 years and has made major contributions to the development of Chinese classical music.

"I was most impressed on my recent visit by the vitality of the new city of Shanghai and the vision and drive of its very able mayor, and want to extent my support for the ambitious plans for the future of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, its new hall and its summer festival and youth orchestra institute," he tells Yu in a letter.


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