The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra – China’s oldest symphony orchestra – announces its 18/19 season, its tenth with Maestro Long Yu as Music Director. The orchestra was founded in 1879, originally as the Shanghai Public Band, later developing into an orchestra in 1907 before becoming the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in 1956. The orchestra celebrates its 140th anniversary in 2019.
The 2018/19 season opens with a performance of Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with baritone and Artist-in-Residence Thomas Bauer, who will be joining the Orchestra for two further performances later in the season, conducted by Maestro Long Yu. The opening concert also includes Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 and Symphony No. 1 “My Homeland” by Chinese composer Chen Peixun. Maestro Long Yu will also conduct the closing concert of the season with Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.
Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Long Yu have recently announced a recording deal with Deutsche Grammophon. Their first DG recording, an album of works from the Chinese and Russian repertoires, will be released in early 2019 to mark the SSO’s 140th anniversary. In October, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Long Yu will perform a launch concert at the site of Beijing’s historic Imperial Ancestral Temple just outside theForbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to launch DG120 – Deutsche Grammophon’s 120th anniversary. They will perform Orff’s Carmina Burana with Aida Garifullina, Toby Spence and Ludovic Tézier before being joined by Hélène Grimaud for Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major.
The Orchestra has a long history of attracting some of the world’s leading musicians to Shanghai, and this season is no exception. International star and multi Grammy award winning mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato makes her debut with the Orchestra, as does world-renowned pianist Martha Argerichwith a performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Many notable soloists also return to Shanghai, including violinists Leonidas Kavakos and Vadim Repin to perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major and Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D Minor respectively.
Zhang Jiemin continues her ongoing relationship with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra as their Conductor-in-Residence, and the Orchestra are also joined by a roster of some of the world’s most acclaimed conductors. Jaap van Zweden, recently appointed Music Director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, returns to Shanghai to conduct Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, and Osmo Vänskä also makes a welcome return to conduct the Orchestra through Copland’s Symphony No. 3.
The 2018/19 season also includes the Chinese premiere of Sir George Benjamin’s acclaimed opera Written On Skin at the Beijing Music Festival. One of the most successful new operas of recent times, Benjamin’s work has enjoyed performances across the globe since its premiere in 2012, it was described by The Telegraph as “a serious and important work of art”. The Orchestra are also committed to promoting and performing the works ofChinese themes. Pulitzer-prize-winning composer Zhou Long’s Classic of Mountains and Seas, commissioned by Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, will receive its world premiere in the new season, which also sees performances of Qijang Chen’s Jiang Tcheng Tse and Jia Daqun’s The Legend of Butterfly Lover.