Asia’s oldest Symphony Orchestra – The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra – celebrates its 140th anniversary

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By Ellie Palmer

08 August 2019

The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 140th anniversary with a three-week world tour and a new album.

For their tour with Music Director Long Yu, who celebrates his 10th season with the Orchestra, the SSO are joined by three world-class soloists; Alisa Weilerstein (cello), Frank-Peter Zimmerman (violin) and Eric Lu (piano). The tour runs from 14 August to 1 September, during which the Orchestra makes its debuts at the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, Wolftrap Festival and Ravinia Festival in addition to return visits to Lucerne Festival, Grafenegg Festival and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.

The SSO are also set to release a new album, Gateways¸ 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 Zimmermann presents Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, and Eric Lu performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major.


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. We are delighted to bring global audiences our ethos of ‘Music Connecting Worlds’ with our international tour and recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon."