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August 12, 2023

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Orchestra eyes an artistic journey across borders of time and nations

THE new season of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will feature a captivating array of premieres, co-commissions and international stars.

Starting in September, the new season will have 92 concerts, including 35 by visiting performers and many world or China debuts.

French cellist Gautier Capuçon, the first overseas artist to perform in Shanghai in over three years with his April concert, will continue his Shanghai journey as artist-in-residence for the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra’s 2023-24 season. The residency will include three concerts across the season.

“We will not only be able to hear brilliant sounds from top international artists again for the new season, but also experience the vibrant energy from China’s new forces,” the orchestra’s music director Yu Long explained the curation of the programs.

“We hope to take you on an artistic journey across borders of time and nations, to call for resonation from across the world through the endless power of art, and deliver the most essential emotions of human beings through music.”

Yu and the orchestra will perform the world premiere of “Émigré,” a new oratorio by award-winning composer Aaron Zigman, with lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Mark Campbell and songwriter Brock Walsh.

The 90-minute oratorio follows two Jewish brothers who arrive in Shanghai as refugees in 1938 as they go on to navigate their new lives and find a home and community in the city.

To be premiered on November 17, it is a co-commission with the New York Philharmonic, who will perform its US premiere on February 29 at the Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall in New York.

The work will also be recorded by Deutsche Grammophon in live and studio sessions in the context of the world premiere performance and is due to be released in February.

The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, in its 144th year, has performed more than 300 Chinese premieres, including many masterworks which are now among the most often performed classical music pieces in China.

In the new season, the orchestra will again present a series of premieres and co-commissions, including chamber opera “AI’s Variation,” Liu Sola’s “Symphonic Dances: The Legend of the Monkey King” that celebrates the history of Chinese animation, a Chinese premiere of Shostakovich’s “Suite on Poems of Michelangelo,” and the Chinese premiere of Zhou Tian’s “First Sight.”

The season will also see a range of guest artists and ensembles bringing a variety of sounds from all over the world.

Acclaimed British pianist Stephen Hough will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in October, under the baton of Yu.

On December 1, Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos will join the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, before German baritone Thomas Bauer performs Shostakovich’s “Suite on Poems of Michelangelo.”

Other highlights from guest performers include German baritone Matthias Goerne on Mahler’s “Des Knaben Wunderhorn,” cellist Wang Jian on works by Tchaikovsky and Respighi, German pianist and conductor Christoph Eschenbach on Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 alongside Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with soloist Serena Wang, and Russian soprano Olga Peretyatko’s opera gala featuring favorites from operas such as “Carmen,” “Don Pasquale” and “Il Trovatore.”


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