Welcome back to the China Philharmonic Orchestras 19th season, which launches in September as usual.
The China Philharmonic Orchestra was founded thanks to the help of the leadership. We are proud to carry out state missions as national symphonic flagship. Just as our historical 2008 Vatican City concert and the “One Belt One Road” tours, in the last year have we toured Korea and Japan and performed in Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka. The Osaka concert was right before the G20 Summit and was highly praised. In the last August, we presented 3 concerts in 3 consecutive days at Vladivostok Far East Festival and brought the best of Chinese chamber and symphonic music to the forefront of Sino-Russian cultural exchange.
The new season begins with a grand gala to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of our great nation. These symphonic compositions represent the glorious journey of the republic and a proof that we never forget where we started. Another festive moment will be on May 25th, 2020 when we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the China Philharmonic Orchestra. This season, full of celebration, will follow two most important themes: the 20th Anniversary Series, and the Beethoven 250th Anniversary Series. To celebrate our orchestra’s jubilee, we welcome the return of Maestro Charles Dutoit after 8 years. The legendary violinist and conductor Vladimir Spivakov will be on both bow and podium in his night. Fans always love young soloists while prefer old conductors, and these two legends will remind us why they are so unique. You may still remember Long Yu’s interpretation of Fauré’s Requiem from the China Philharmonic Orchestra’s 10th Anniversary Season Finale. After a full decade, our Artistic Director will once again conduct this miraculous composition.
Like many other orchestras, we celebrate the 250th birthday of one of the most iconic figures in the history of classical music. However, a Beethoven cycle seems too cliché and may not be the best way to pay tribute. We have carefully chosen a series of works that can represent the essence of the composer, for example the “Pastorale” symphony. Most of Beethoven’s works are heroic, yet the Pastorale is more introvert and represent the soft part of his personality. His devoted love of nature is also one of the most comforting things in his tragic life and the fundamental source of his caring character. You can hear Beethoven’s young and energetic figure in his Violin Concerto , which will be passionately played by Siqing Lü Stephen Hough is known as an scholar on the keyboard. People love his incredibly different portrait of many piano works. Surprisingly, in his long discography, there has never been a recording of Beethoven concertos. As the composer’s 250th Anniversary approaching, I believe there many music fans as eager as me who want to listen to what Stephen Hough has to say about these wonderful concertos.
Many new friends and old friends gather in this season to celebrate the 20th birthday of the China Philharmonic Orchestra. We are thrilled to have two legendary divas, Edita Gruberova and Renée Fleming, both performing with us during the Beijing Music Festival, and their “battle” will be very much talked about this autumn. For violin lovers, this season will be most unforgettable. Elites of Chinese violinists including Ning Feng, Siqing Lü and Lu Wei, international stars like Midori, Joshua Bell, Spivakov and Frank Peter Zimmermann – you can hear them all in this season. Both Joshua Bell and Frank Peter Zimmermann will play two concertos in one single concert, presenting the best of their virtuosity in front of the audience.
And of course, young musicians always have chance to play with us. Conductor Yu Ji and violinist Serge Zimmermann are both young musicians from music families, and they will present two Mozart concertos together. It is a display of the maturity of the young generation. Still a teenager, Paloma So has performed with us many times and already a very young “old friend” of us. In this season, she joins with an even older friend, legendary Vladimir Spivakov, to play Bach’s concerto for two violins. It will be an amazing experience for both the artists and the audience. At the award ceremony of the 1st Shanghai Isaac Stern Violin Competition, I promised to invite the top prize winner, and here is a promise fulfilled. The very talented violinist Mayu Kishima will share the stage with Charles Dutoit, and she has grown so much comparing to the time when she claimed the title.
May 25th, 2020 will see a grand gala celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the China Philharmonic Orchestra. Instead of inviting music celebrities, we would rather to share this moment with young musicians who are born in the same year with us. As an orchestra turning 20, we will keep being young and passionate in the next 20 years and bring the most beautiful music to our friends.
And there are so much for to discover in this season. The great pianist Dang Thai Song’s debut with the China Philharmonic Orchestra will also be his very first time playing a Chopin concerto in China. Conductors Gilbert Varga will also conduct the orchestra for the first time, and Maestro Eliahu Inbal’s return is also very much anticipated. The core business of the China Philharmonic Orchestra is presenting every concert with highest standard and quality. We have been doing that for 19 years, and we will always keep that in mind.
I would also like to give you the recent updates on the brand-new China Philharmonic Concert Hall, which has been under construction since last December. An old Chinese saying goes “all beginnings are hard”, but in my opining, the things after the beginning are normally even harder. With the spirit and courage of the China Philharmonic Orchestra, we can tackle all the difficulties and the best concert hall China has ever seen will welcome your visit at the beginning of year 2022. Please join us in the grandiose new concert hall at that time and witness the miracle in China’s music history.
My deepest gratitude to the friends who have always been with us.
President, China Philharmonic Orchestra