Shanghai draws two major European orchestras

Tours by the Vienna and Berlin philharmonics in the same year are testimony to the drawing power of Shanghai Orient Art Center.
Ti Gong

The Wiener Philharmoniker

The Shanghai Oriental Art Center is hosting the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Berliner Philharmoniker this and next month, underscoring its importance on the world music scene.

The Wiener Philharmoniker performed at the center on October 24-25 before it headed off for the rest of it’s five-city China tour.

And next month, the art center will present the Berlin orchestra.

“This just shows how important Shanghai is to great orchestras and musicians,” said Daniel Froschauer, president and first violinist of the Wiener Philharmoniker. “It’s incredible that the Shanghai Oriental Art Center can invite us and the Berliner Philharmoniker in the same year.”

The Wiener Philharmoniker performed two Beethoven works ─ “Symphony No. 8 in F Major Op. 93” and “Symphony No. 7 in A Major Op. 92,” Strauss’ “Ein Heldenleben Op. 40” and Wagner’s “Tristan and Isolde.”

It was conductor Andris Nelsons’ China debut.

“You know, the conductor is the least important role. I just simply wave my hand up and down,” said Nelsons, who is also the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. “So it’s really an honor to work with the Vienna Philharmonic and I’m so excited to learn their traditions.”

Ti Gong

Conductor Andris Nelsons

The Wiener Philharmoniker established a five-year partnership with Shanghai Oriental Art Center in 2016, which means it returns every year with a world-famous conductor until 2021.

Manager Michael Bladerer said that there is the possibility that the orchestra will collaborate with Nelsons again next season.

“We promise to bring great work and surprise to Shanghai,” said Bladerer. 

“Playing for audiences in China is always a treat, because you can tell from their reactions and attention how eager they are to know and learn about our music,” said Froschauer in Beijing ahead of the orchestra’s China tour.

“I’m impressed by the huge interest they showed in Western music. I can see many young people in the audience, which makes me believe that there’s a future for classical music here,” said Nelsons.

The Wiener Philharmoniker will visit Shenzhen, Guangzhou and two other cities during the China tour. The Berliner Philharmoniker will perform in Shanghai on November 16.

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