17 April 2019 (Toronto, ON) – The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO), Asia’s oldest symphony orchestra, celebrates its 140th anniversary with a new album, Gateways, to be released June 28 via Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music Canada, the country’s leading music company. Joined the SSO on the album and on tour is Music Director and conductor Long Yu, who celebrates his 10th season with the Orchestra.
Listen to the pre-release track, “Tambourin Chinois Op. 3” HERE.
Deutsche Grammophon signed the SSO last year and Gateways will be its first studio recording on the label. In January 2019, the Orchestra released a live recording of its landmark performance at the Imperial Ancestral Temple outside of Beijing’s Forbidden City, a rare event at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. This concert was at the forefront of Deutsche Grammophon’s DG120 celebrations and was live-streamed to worldwide audiences. Gateways sees the Orchestra blend Chinese and Russian repertoires, presenting works by Chinese composer Qigang Chen alongside Rachmaninov and Kreisler, with soloist Maxim Vengerov. Qigang Chen’s violin concerto La joie de la souffrance and was premiered in 2017 conducted by Long Yu and Maxim Vengerov, for whom the piece was written.
In addition to releasing new recordings, Deutsche Grammophon will also release earlier recordings from the SSO’s existing catalogue. Each season the SSO presents over 70 performances including symphonic concerts, operas, chamber concerts and crossover performances at the Shanghai Symphony Hall. The Orchestra invites leading soloists, conductors and orchestras from around the world to perform at their Hall as part of their SSO Presents series.
Fedina Zhou, President of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, says, “Throughout its 140-year history, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra has performed at the highest levels of musicianship and innovation. As Asia’s oldest orchestra, the SSO has been at the forefront of championing the power of orchestral music in the region. In recent years, the Orchestra has continued to expand its activities to include the opening of the Shanghai Symphony Hall in 2014, founding the Music in the Summer Air (MISA) Festival, co-founding the Shanghai Orchestra Academy with the New York Philharmonic and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and founding and hosting the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition. We are delighted to bring global audiences our ethos of ‘Music Connecting Worlds’ with our international tour and recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon.”
The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1879 as the Shanghai Public Band, was the first orchestra in China to widely introduce symphonic music to Chinese audiences, cultivating Chinese talents and performing Chinese orchestral works. The Orchestra’s impressive hall – Shanghai Symphony Hall – was built in 2014 by leading architect Arata Isozaki, who was recently awarded the 2019 Pritzker Architecture Prize. Striving to promote and build cultural exchanges between East and West as part of its “Music Connecting Worlds” ethos, the SSO performs Wu Xing (The Five Elements) by leading Chinese composer Qigang Chen, throughout its tour. Each of the soloists joins for a concerto; Alisa Weilerstein performs Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, Frank-Peter Zimmerman presents Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, and Eric Lu perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major.
Now in its 140th year, the SSO has focused on building connections between East and West throughout its history. Most notably, the Orchestra founded the Shanghai Orchestra Academy, a joint initiative with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. The SSO has been touring internationally since the 1970s when they performed in Australia and New Zealand. In 2017 the Orchestra was the first Chinese ensemble to perform at the Lucerne Festival. In all its international tours, the Orchestra strives to promote Chinese culture by performing works by Chinese composers and integrating Chinese traditional elements into Western pieces.
Maxim Vengerov violin
Long Yu conductor
Shanghai Symphony Orchestra
Wu Xing (The Five Elements)
01 ‒ 1. Shui (Water)
02 ‒ 2. Mu (Wood)
03 ‒ 3. Huo (Fire)
04 ‒ 4. Tu (Earth)
05 ‒ 5. Jin (Metal)
La joie de la souffrance
06 ‒ 1. Despair
07 ‒ 2. Solitary
08 ‒ 3. Divinely Alone
09 ‒ 4. Thrilled by Illusions
10 ‒ 5. Melancholy Relief
11 ‒ 6. The Tenderness of Suffering
12 ‒ 7. Solitary Beauty
13 ‒ 8. Get Caught up in the Madness
14 ‒ 9. Excruciating Song
15 ‒ 10. A Glimmer of Light
16 - Tambourin chinois op. 3
Symphonic Dances op. 45
17– 1. Non Allegro
18 2. Andante con moto (Tempo di valse)
19– 3. Lento assai – Allegro vivace
About Shanghai Symphony Orchestra
The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra is China’s oldest symphony orchestra. Founded in 1879 as the Shanghai Public Band, it was developed into an orchestra in 1907 and renamed in 1956 as the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. The SSO has built bridges in recent years between East and West, not least through international touring and its Shanghai Orchestra Academy, a joint initiative between the orchestra, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Maestro Long Yu became Music Director of the SSO in 2009.
With help from professional organizations, SSO has visited many countries and regions in Asia, Americas, and Europe, so that the orchestra was able to expand to international markets. SSO made its debut at Carnegie Hall of New York to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the hall in 1990. The orchestra also performed at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the SSO in 2004. SSO visited 11 cities in the USA in 2003, made its Europe tour during Sino-French Culture Year in 2004, held a Spanish tour in 2005, and performed at the Musikverein (Golden Hall) in Vienna in 2007. In 2009, under the leadership of current Music Director Long Yu, the orchestra toured North America to perform 12 concerts. In its international tours, SSO successfully integrated Chinese traditional elements into Western symphonies, created new performance form and promoted Chinese culture, which was really enjoyed by both Eastern and Western audiences. In March 2010, Music Director Long Yu led the orchestra performing at the 14th Beethoven Festival in Warsar and Łodz, Poland. In July 2010, Long Yu led the orchestra in a joint concert with the New York Philharmonic in Central Park, New York, promoting the 2010 Shanghai Expo. In July 2012, Long Yu led the orchestra in two concerts at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, respectively in Kiel and Hamburg. In January 2014, Long Yu led the SSO on a tour through Europe again, which received consistent praises from local audiences in Munich, Nuremberg, Cologne, Amsterdam and other cities. In the summer of 2015, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra expanded their influence in the Americas, including New York, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires.
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About Long Yu
The pre-eminent Chinese conductor with an established international reputation, Long Yu is currently Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the China Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director of the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestras, the Artistic Director of MISA Shanghai Summer Festival, and the principal guest conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.
Long Yu conducts the leading orchestras and opera companies around the world including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, Hamburg State Opera, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester Leipzig, NDR Sinfonieorchester, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
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