Long Yu’s eleventh season as Music Director of the SSO Visiting conductors from across the world include Jaap van Zweden, Daniel Harding, Krzysztof Penderecki, Zhang Guoyong, Charles Dutoit and Ion Marin

Grammy-nominated composer Zhou Tian is the 2019/20 Artist-in-Residence

Visiting ensembles as part of the ‘SSO Presents’ series include the London Symphony Orchestra with Sir Simon Rattle, Lucerne Festival Orchestra with Riccardo Chailly, Collegium Vocale Gent, the Shanghai Quartet and more

Beethoven’s 250th anniversary celebrated with soloists including Stephen Hough, Andreas Haefliger, Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov

Focus on bringing opera to audiences, including concert performances of Handel’s Semele and La Damnation de Faust by Berlioz

The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) today announce its 2019/20 season, the Orchestra’s eleventh with Long Yu as Music Director. It includes 77 concerts of symphonic, opera and chamber music.

Ahead of its new season, the Orchestra embarks on a three-week tour this summer to mark its 140th anniversary, with concerts in Lucerne, London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and more [14 Aug – 1 Sep].

Long Yu and the Orchestra open the season with cellist Jian Wang in a concert celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. With a programme featuring two prominent Chinese composers – Ding Shande (Long Yu’s grandfather) and Zhou Tian, the SSO aims to bring together old and new. Jian Wang will perform the world premiere of Gift by Zhou Tian, which was commissioned by the SSO, in addition to his Cello Concerto Flowing Sleeves. The Orchestra pair this with Ding Shande’s famous work Long March Symphony [27 Sep].


Grammy-nominated composer Zhou Tian is the 2019/20 Artist-in-Residence. The Orchestra commissioned Zhou Tian to compose Gift, a new work which will be premiered during the first concert of the season with cellist Jian Wang [27 Sep]. Eight of Zhou Tian’s works will be performed throughout the season, including Flowing Sleeves [27 Sep], Trace [23 Nov], Joy [8 Dec], The Palace of Nine Perfections [21 Dec], Concerto for Orchestra [8 Jan], Broken Ink [28 Feb] and Violin Concerto [22 Mar].


Beethoven’s music takes a prominent place in the SSO’s 2019/20 season, as the Orchestra marks the composer’s 250th anniversary through seven main-season concerts. Andreas Haefliger, who has widely recorded Beethoven’s works, joins the Orchestra to perform the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major conducted by Domingo Hindoyan [28 Feb]. Long Yu conducts Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ Symphony No. 6 [29 Mar], Jacek Kaspszyk conducts ‘Eroica’ Symphony No. 3 [16 May] and Grammy-nominated pianist Stephen Hough performs Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 3 and 4 conducted by Mihhail Gerts [6 Jun]. In the Orchestra’s Chamber Hall, the Polaris String Quartet and friends perform Beethoven’s Sextet for two horns and String Quartet in E-flat major [26 Oct]; Dai Le, Chan Ting-Yuen and Ye Qing present Trio for clarinet, cello and piano in B-flat [1 Nov], and the Impression Piano Trio perform Piano Trio No. 5 in D major [3 Apr].


In addition to the eight works by Zhou Tian, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra presents a number of Chinese or Chinese-inspired works throughout the season, performed by the SSO with both foreign and Chinese conductors and soloists. Long Yu presents Songs of the Earth which sees the Orchestra perform Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Ye Xiaogang’s The Song of the Earth [31 May]. Mahler’s work, written for two voices and orchestra in 1908, uses poems by Chinese Tang Dynasty poets including Li Bai, Qiang Qi, Meng Haoran and Wang Wei. Ye Xiaogang’s response, written in 2004, is a Chinese version with the original poems. The soloists for the concert include Zhang Liping, Jennifer Johnston and Shenyang. The Butterfly Lovers, a violin concerto by He Zhanhao and Chen Gang, is performed by Joshua Bell which he pairs with Bruch’s Violin Concerto. The Butterfly Lovers did not become popular in China until after the Cultural Revolution, although was written in 1959. It was premiered in 1959 in Shanghai to celebrate the 10th anniversary year of the founding of the People’s Republic of China [10 Jun].


Concert performances of operas have become a core part of the Orchestra’s seasons, with many being Chinese premieres. Previous concert performances have included Richard Strauss’s Salome (2017), Elektra (2014) and George Benjamin’s Written on Skin (2018). Charles Dutoit returns to Shanghai to conduct a concert performance of Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, marking the 150th anniversary of the death of the composer, with a cast including Paul Groves, John Relyea, Ruxandra Donose and Yasuhiro Sato [19 Oct]. Long Yu presents Handel’s Semele with director Julia Burbach, designer Cécile Trémolières and producer Zhang Huan. Long Yu brings together a continuo group from English Baroque Soloists and a cast lead by Jane Archibald (Semele) and Hugo Hymas (Jupiter) [8 & 9 Nov]. To close the 2019/20 season, Long Yu presents a concert performance of Bizet’s Carmen with SSO and the Toyko Opera Singers. The soloists include John Osborne as Don Jose, Gaëlle Arquez as Carmen, Jean François as Lapointe/Escamillo and Nathalie Manfrin as Micaela [28 & 30 Jun]. In addition to the concert performances of full operas, some of the Orchestra’s visiting soloists perform operatic repertoire this season. Slovakian soprano Edita Gruberová, who makes her debut in China, performs works from Lucia di Lamermoor, Barber of Seville, Die Fledermaus and more [5 Oct]. Renée Fleming performs works from Strauss’s Capriccio and Verdi’s Otello [25 Oct].


In addition to its work with the world’s leading soloists, the SSO also aims to build a stage for young musicians. Through the Shanghai Orchestra Academy and the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition, the SSO’s support for young artists is a crucial part of their work. Tony Siqi Yun, 18-year-old Canadian pianist who recently won the inaugural China International Music Competition in Beijing, makes his debut with the Orchestra performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, conducted by Ion Marin [23 Nov]. Olga Šroubková, runner-up in the 2018 Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition, performs Zhou Tian’s Violin Concerto with David Stern and the SSO [22 Mar].


The Orchestra’s annual Shanghai New Year’s Concert, inspired by the famous Vienna New Year’s Concert with the Vienna Philharmonic, will this year be conducted by Daniel Harding. The Orchestra has been presenting New Year’s Concerts since 2010 and this year’s programme includes well known works by Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Richard Strauss [31 Dec]. Following their energetic performance of Andy Akiho’s Ping Pong Concerto in 2015, the Orchestra co-commissioned a new work with Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, Akiho’s Kong Fu Concerto. The work will be performed by Long Yu and the Orchestra following the world premiere in Guangzhou last year [8 Jan]. The Orchestra performs Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 in B-flat minor, Op. 113 with bass Shenyang and the Estonian National Male Choir, conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki. The symphony is paired with a performance of Penderecki’s powerful Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, a work with 52 string parts, and his Concertino for trumpet and orchestra, performed by Gábor Boldoczki for whom it was composed [24 Apr].


In addition to the main Shanghai Symphony Orchestra season, the SSO also has 31 performances by visiting orchestras and ensembles as part of its “SSO Presents” series which take place at its home, the Shanghai Symphony Hall. Opening the “SSO Presents” series in the 2019/20 season is Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra, who perform with Emanuel Ax [29 Sep]. Riccardo Chailly and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra return to Shanghai to present a series of three concerts with pianist Alexander Malofeev, winner of the 2014 International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians [15, 16, 17 Oct]. Other visiting ensembles include Les Violons du Roy with Jonathan Cohen [31 Oct], Cappella Andrea Barca with András Schiff [2 & 3 Nov], Collegium Vocale Gent and Philippe Herreweghe [6 Dec]. Visiting chamber ensembles include the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge [29 Sep], Scharoun Ensemble of Berlin Philharmonic [24 & 29 Nov], Shanghai Camerata [12 Dec], Gerhard Oppitz [19, 20, 22 & 23 March], Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov [31 Mar, 1 & 2 Apr] and more. Thomas Bauer, the Orchestra’s 2018/19 Artist-in-Residence, returns for a recital with Donald Sulzen to end the “SSO Presents” season [13 Jun].


In the Shanghai Symphony Hall Chamber Hall, SSO present 12 main-season chamber concerts throughout the year. The chamber series features a broad range of music and instruments, including a recital for marimba, harp and jazz trio [22 Nov]. The Crystal String Quartet perform works by Chinese composers such as Tan Dun, Huang Tzu, Xue Chengqian, Sha Hankun and more with soprano Ma Qian and marimba player Zhang Xinru [7 Dec]. The chamber series also includes performances by some of the SSO’s principal players including Guillaume Molko (Concertmaster), Peter Solomon (Principal Horn) and Dai Le (Associate Principal Clarinet).


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