2023 MISA festival: past, present and future
This year's Music in the Summer Air (MISA) festival will start with "Three-Body Fantasy," a piece by young composer Fay Kueen Wang. It is based on the scores of the top-rated TV drama "The Three-Body Problem," adapted from Liu Cixin's bestselling sci-fi novel of the same title.
The rather unusual opening of the festival highlights this year's futuristic theme inspired by the popular concept of the metaverse ― "sound in the world, light in the universe."
The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the organizer, said it aims to employ cross-cultural and diverse music forms as a medium to discuss mankind's relationships and possibilities with other humans, technology, the Earth and the future.
The festival, to run from July 7 through July 20 with 30 performances, will see both well-established returning friends like musicians from the New York Philharmonic, and young talent including percussionist Zhang Fang, BBC's "Young Musician 2020," and violinist Rino Yoshimoto from the latest Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition.
The closing concert, under the baton of the orchestra's artistic director Yu Long, will see 82-year-old legendary pianist Yin Chengzong play the famous "Yellow River" piano concerto, a piece that Yin arranged based on the "Yellow River Cantata" (1939) and that has been performed in many Western theaters since the 1980s.
The concerto has long become a part of the Western symphonic repertoire and the most-performed Chinese classical music piece since the historic 1973 trip to China by the Philadelphia Orchestra and its conductor Eugene Ormandy. It was also featured by soloist Lang Lang in his well-acclaimed album "Dragon Songs," also under the baton of Yu.
Musicians from the New York Philharmonic, a long-term partner with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and a returning performer to the summer fest, are among the international artists returning to perform in Shanghai.
NY Phil Ensembles will bring the classic sounds of Beethoven, Barber and Ibert in their "Back to MISA" concert. They will also rehearse and perform with students from the Shanghai Orchestra Academy.
Italian chamber orchestra I Musici, formed in 1951, will bring Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" to audiences in Shanghai, among other classic pieces. The ensemble has recorded the piece several times since 1955, including a video recording performed in Vivaldi's hometown of Venice in 1988.
The festival, as always, prides itself on encouraging young talents and cross-boundary explorations. Audiences can expect a variety of different performances in its 14th year, from contemporary dance to opera.