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US national orchestra concert marks 30 years of China-US ties

THE US National Symphony Orchestra, a fixture on American state occasions, performs Wagner, Mendelssohn and Dvorak under the baton of Ivan Fischer on June 16.

Violinist Leonidas Kavakos, winner of the Sibelius and Paganini competitions, will be the soloist in the final season concert of the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center.

The program will feature Wagner's "Overture to Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg," Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto" and Dvorak's "Symphony No. 7."

The performance is part of the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-US relations. The NSO last performed in China 10 years ago, celebrating the 20th anniversary of bilateral ties.

"Our concert in the People's Hall in Beijing 10 years ago was incredible," recalls Leonard Slatkin, who then conducted the NSO. It performed Barber's "Adagio for Strings," Bernstein's "Overture to Candide" and Berlioz's "Fantastic Symphony."

"When the concert was over, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin came backstage and shook hands with me," Slatkin says.

Founded in 1931, the 100-piece orchestra is committed to both artistic excellence and music education. It presents a 52-week season of around 175 concerts each year, ranging from classical to pop.

The NSO offers one of the country's most extensive musical educational programs. It has performed regularly at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts since the center opened in 1971.

The orchestra is committed to developing America's artistic resources and has commissioned more than 60 works representative of the country's diverse composition.

The principal conductor, Fischer, is the founder of the Hungarian Mahler Society and the Patron of the British Kodaly Academy. Born in 1951 in Budapest, Fischer's international conducting career began in London in 1976 when he won the Rupert Foundation competition.

Violinist Kavakos is an established chamber musician and collaborates with many distinguished partners, such as Heinrich Schiff, Natalia Gutman, Emanuel Ax, Lars Vogt, Elisabeth Leonskaya.

In 1991, Kavakos won the Gramophone Award for the first-ever recording of the original version of Sibelius' "Violin Concerto."

"... The exquisite tenderness of the playing gives the music a sense of timeless, poignant beauty ... The performance is exceptional for its unruffled poise and delicious details," commented Gramophone's May 2005 issue.

In October 2007, Kavakos took up the position of artistic director of the Camerata Salzburg, succeeding Sir Roger Norrington.

In the current season, Kavakos appears with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphonieorchester Hamburg, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.

Date: June 16, 7:30pm

Venue: Concert Hall, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong

Tickets: 100-1,600 yuan (50 yuan for students)

Tel: 6854-1234


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