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Live summer concerts bring together world-renowned musicians

By Zhang Kun in Shanghai | | Updated: 2024-06-12 16:51
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Maestro Jaap van Zweden will conduct the New York Philharmonic in two concerts at the MISA festival. [Photo provided to]

Shanghai will host some big-name artists from all over the world at an upcoming music festival, with the premiere of new compositions and arrangements. Music in the Summer Air, or MISA, is a festival held by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, which will take place from July 1 to 15.

The 24 live concerts and an extensive collection of other music events around Shanghai will feature artists and ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, cellists Wang Jian and Qin Liwei, violinist Ning Feng, pianist Zhang Haochen, harpsichordist Fabio Bonizzoni and the Makoto Ozone Jazz Quartet.

"The orchestra has come a long way, following the development of urban civilization in Shanghai. Step-by-step, we have helped to bring people and music closer, which has become an indispensable part of everyday life in the city," said Zhou Ping, director of the orchestra.

This year, in addition to performances in the concert hall and chamber hall at the Jaguar Shanghai Symphony Hall, the MISA program also includes seven free open-air events, five cultural talks and 13 "Across the City" activities, which will see musicians performing at landmarks around the city.

The opening gala concert will take place on the main stage of the Jaguar Shanghai Symphony Hall on July 1 under the batons of four conductors — Maestro Yu Long, music director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Yang Yang, Huang Yi and Sun Yifan — performing with some of the most celebrated Chinese soloists in the global music scene.

The New York Philharmonic, in its long-term strategic partnership with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and the MISA festival, will be returning to Shanghai with the full orchestra for the first time since 2019. Music director Jaap van Zweden will conduct the orchestra in two concerts at the MISA festival.

The first show on July 2 will feature baritone Thomas Hampson, who will sing selections from Mahler's song cycle Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Also, a new composition titled Lumina by Nina Shekhar will make its China premiere at the concert.

Some instruments that are less heard in symphony concerts, such as the harmonica, accordion and saxophone, will take center stage at MISA this year.

"I've waited for 10 years for this phone call inviting me to perform again in Shanghai," Gianluca Littera, a renowned Italian harmonica performer, said about his excitement for the concert with conductor Zhang Lu and string players of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra on July 5.

On July 15, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will conclude this year's MISA with a concert celebrating the centennial commemoration of martial arts novelist Jin Yong. Maestro Yu will join hands with violinist Wang Jing and Chinese zhudi (bamboo flute) player Feng Tianshi to present Wu Xia (Martial Art Heroes), a new composition celebrating Jin Yong's life and art, by Liang Haoyi, alongside violin concerto Hero by Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun.

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