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Orchestrated revelry
By Qiu Yijiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-10-24 10:36

Italian conductor Riccardo Chailly will lead the German Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra at the National Center for the Performing Arts for a treat of Mendelssohn, Mahler, Mozart and Bruckner this weekend.

It is the orchestra's first visit to Beijing in its 266-year history.

Orchestrated revelry

Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No 5 and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No 1 are the highlights of the two-day performances.

The orchestra has a long tradition of presenting works by Mendelssohn (1809-47), who was its conductor for 12 years, starting from the age of 27. The group is marking the 200th birth anniversary of this great German composer this year.

Mendelssohn's original Symphony No 5 poses a challenge to the orchestra, as it has never before played the score. However, Chailly is confident about the version they will present. "Today, we can show many alternative versions. The public loves to be challenged with new versions."

German composer Mahler (1860-1911) will also occupy a prime place in the program. During the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in Switzerland last month, the orchestra's interpretation of his classic Symphony No 1 received wide praise.

Although the performance will mark the orchestra's debut in China, it is not Chailly's first time here. In 1996, he led the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to Shanghai. He has cooperated with many world-famous orchestras, including the London Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Vienna Philharmonic.

"We are looking forward to the performances in Beijing ... I hope the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra will leave a good impression," says Chailly.

7:30 pm, Oct 24, 25. National Center for the Performing Arts, west of Tian'anmen Square. 6655-0000