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October 23, 2010

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Superstar Mehta to conduct Israel Philharmonic

IN one of the most important music events of the year, Zubin Mehta will conduct the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra next Tuesday and Wednesday as the closing performance of the Shanghai International Arts Festival.

On Tuesday, the orchestra will perform Stravinsky's "Petruschka" and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. The next day Beethoven's sixth symphony, "The Pastoral," and Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" will be played.

The concert at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center in Pudong will be the fourth performance in China for the renowned orchestra, which first performed on the Chinese mainland in 1994.

"As a symphony aficionado, I have attended many concerts but only a few have touched my heart. Mehta's was one of them," says Ni Shilu, vice chairman of the Shanghai Symphony Lovers' Association.

He says the French National Orchestra is famous for its woodwinds, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for its brass and the Philadelphia Orchestra for its strings. "But it's hard to point out which part of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is most outstanding - it's all excellent."

Mehta, who was born in Mumbai, India, became music adviser of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969 and its music director in 1977. Under his baton, the orchestra has risen to considerable heights and it has appeared on all major concert stages around the world.

Beethoven's sixth symphony, "The Pastoral," was created after he lost hearing and it is a work about his memories of rural life and nature. The composer frequently left Vienna to walk in the countryside.

Symphony No. 7 has been variously described as having elements of frenzy, approaching a bacchanal at times, as well as elements of dance. Wagner called the symphony "the apotheosis of dance itself; it is dance in its highest aspect, the loftiest deed of bodily motion incorporated into an ideal mold of tone."

Both "Petruschka" and "The Rite of Spring" are Stravinsky's masterpieces for ballet created early last century.

Date: October 26-27, 7:30pm

Address: 425 Dingxiang Rd

Tickets: 300-2,800 yuan

Tel: 6217-2426, 6217-3055


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