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Six of the best all the way from Vienna

CLASSICAL music aficionados in Shanghai are in for a special treat in May with a rare six-cello concert.

And not just any six cellos either. These are players from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the finest orchestras in the world that dates back to 1842.

The six-cello ensemble, 5+1, will play at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center. It is the ensemble's first tour to China.

The 5+1 ensemble is led by the acclaimed cellist Gerhard Kaufmann who is joined by Bernhard Naoki Hedenborg, Alexandra Mickisch, Csaba Bornemisza, Stephan Koncz and Sebastian Bru.

Kaufmann was born in 1943 in Burgenland, Austria, and his first piano lessons at the age of 5 and at the age of 9 began learning the cello. In Vienna he studied with Professor Winfried Bottcher and Richard Krotschak. Kaufmann played in nearly all the orchestras in Vienna and joined the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969. In 1974, he founded the string ensemble "Wiener Streichersolisten."

As far back as 2002 when he launched the 5+1 Cello Ensemble, Kaufmann dreamed about touring China. But it was not an easy dream to realize.

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is closely linked with the Vienna State Opera and members of the orchestra are recruited from the orchestra of the State Opera after an arduous audition process.

The Vienna State Opera delivers 300 performances every year and the philharmonic musicians have to be on hand for the opera. The rules say at least six of the 13 cellos signed with the philharmonic have to be available for the orchestra or the opera all the time. Except for a few short tours in the Europe, it's very hard to assemble six cellists from the orchestra outside of Europe.

Kaufmann's dream is coming true but just in time - he is about to retire and has spent years making these final arrangements for a concert tour of China. After Shanghai, the ensemble will perform in Beijing, Shenzhen, Chongqing and other cities in China.

From the classical works of Bach, Tchaikovsky and Gershwin to Spanish dances and Argentine tangos, these six cellos will make unique and exciting music.

The concert will include Bach's "Ave Maria," Tchaikovsky's "Rococo Variations," Strauss' "Im Krapfenwald," Haydn's "Echo," an Argentine tango, Kreisler's "Liebesfreud" and "Liebesleid," Gershwin's "Summertime" and Monti's "Czardas."

Date: May 8, 7:30pm

Address: 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong

Tickets: 50-680 yuan

Tel: 6854-1234


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