Cellist Gautier Capuçon is Artist in Residence
· World premiere performance of Émigré, a new oratorio co-commissioned with the New York Philharmonic
· Other co-commissions and premieres from Hao Weiya, Liu Sola and Zhou Tian
· International stars join SSO for concerts including Stephen Hough, Matthias Goerne, Leonidas Kavakos and Thomas Bauer
· Visiting artists and ensembles return as part of the ‘SSO Presents’ series for the first time since 2019, including Ian Bostridge, Steven Isserlis, the Tallis Scholars, Víkingur Ólafsson and more
The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and Music Director Long Yu today [24 July] announce their 2023/24 season, featuring a captivating array of premieres, co-commissions and acclaimed guest artists and ensembles.
Gautier Capuçon – Artist in Residence
Internationally acclaimed cellist Gautier Capuçon becomes the SSO’s Artist in Residence for 2023-24, performing three concerts across the season. Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as a “rare performer who can bring such ease and refinement to this music, while still giving everything he plays a sense of dramatic urgency”, Capuçon has won multiple awards (including four ECHO Klassik Awards) for his dazzling performances and recordings. He opens his residency with a performance of Elgar’s beloved Cello Concerto, in a concert that also includes the composer’s Introduction and Allegro Op. 47 and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 [22 September]. Capuçon returns in December to perform Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1, paired with Faure’s Pelleas et Melisande and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 [16 December], before concluding his residency in May 2024 with an evening of French music, performing Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain under the baton of Yip Wing-Sie [17 May].
Émigré world premiere/co-commission
The SSOand Long Yu will perform the world premiere performance of Émigré, a new oratorio by award-winning composer Aaron Zigman, with lyrics by Pulitzer Prize winning librettist Mark Campbell and songwriter Brock Walsh. A co-commission with the New York Philharmonic, the work will be premiered on 17 November 2023 at the Jaguar Shanghai Symphony Hall before its US premiere on 29 February 2024 at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. The work will be recorded by Deutsche Grammophon in live and studio sessions in the context of the world premiere performance and is due to be released in February 2024.
In the late 1930s, over 30,000 Jews fled to Shanghai to escape the Nazis in Europe after Kristallnacht, with 16,000 taking refuge in the city, arriving shortly after China had recently suffered the atrocities of the Japanese occupation and the Nanjing Massacre. Zigman’s new work – a 90-minute oratorio – tells the story of two Jewish brothers who arrive in Shanghai as refugees in 1938 and go on to navigate their new life and seek a home and community there. The work is sung in English with minimal visual and production elements. The cast for the November premiere will feature Ben Bliss and Arnold Livingston Geis as the two brothers, plus Shenyang, Zhang Meigui, Andrew Dwan, Zhu Huiling and Diana Newman, the same cast that will be performing it in New York, where Long Yu will be conducting the NY Phil for the US premiere.
Premieres and co-commissions
The 2023/24 season features a range of premieres and co-commissions in addition to Émigré, showcasing the SSO’s commitment to promoting new music. Hao Weiya’s chamber opera AI’s Variation – a co-commission from the SSO, China Shanghai International Arts Festival and The CMCC of Central Conservatory of Music – receives another performance after the SSO gave the world premiere back in November 2021, with a cast that includes Zhou Zhengzhong, Dong Fang and Li Jingping, conducted by Conductor in Residence Zhang Jiemin [3 October]. The SSO celebrate the history of Chinese animation with a concert that features Liu Sola’s Symphonic Dances: The Legend of the Monkey King, jointly commissioned by the SSO and Beijing Music Festival Arts Foundation as part of the Beijing Music Festival [5 October]. Almost 50 years on from the premiere, SSO will perform the Chinese premiere of Shostakovich’s Suite on Poems of Michelangelo [1 December] and also give the Chinese premiere of Zhou Tian’s First Sight, in a concert that also features Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major with soloist Nancy Zhou conducted by Qian Junping [29 February].
Guest artists and ensembles
The SSO also welcome a range of guest artists and ensembles across the 2023/24 season. Pianist Steven Hough performs two mighty works – Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 – conducted by Long Yu [26 October]. A star-filled concert sees violinist Leonidas Kavakos join the SSO for a performance of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, before baritone Thomas Bauer takes to the stage for Shostakovich’s Suite on Poems of Michelangelo [1 December]. Matthias Goerne sings Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, followed by the composer’s Symphony No. 1 [7 January], and cellist Jian Wang returns to the Jaguar Shanghai Symphony Hall stage to perform works by Tchaikovsky and Respighi, followed by Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique conducted by Long Yu [30 March]. Soprano Olga Peretyatko joins the SSO for an opera gala conducted by Zhang Jiemin, featuring favourites from Carmen, Don Pasquale, Il Trovatore and more [19 April], and Christoph Eschenbach conducts Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 alongside Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with soloist Serena Wang [10 May].
The ‘SSO Presents’ series returns for the first time since 2019, bringing international stars to the Jaguar Shanghai Symphony Hall stage. Highlights include the Diapason Quartet performing works by Beethoven and Haydn [30 September], Stephen Hough returning for a solo recital of works by Scriabin, Debussy, Liszt and his own Sonatina Nostalgica [24 October] and cellist Steven Isserlis collaborating with pianist Connie Shih for a concert of Brahms, Bach and Schumann [29 October]. Tenor Ian Bostridge sings Schubert’s Winterreise – a work he has interpreted many times over the years to critical acclaim – accompanied by Saskia Giorgini [2 November], the Shanghai Quartet perform as part of their 40th anniversary tour [24 November] and Pierre-Laurent Aimard presents a programme of Beethoven bagatelles and etudes from Ligeti and Debussy [28 November]. Star baritone Matthias Goerne sings Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin [5 January] and The Tallis Scholars celebrate their 50th anniversary with two concerts under their Director Peter Phillips, the first focusing on repertoire by Gibbons, Tallis, Muhly and Byrd and the second celebrating music for the Sistine Chapel, including Allegri’s timeless Miserere [9 & 10 March]. Award-winning pianist Víkingur Ólafsson performs his interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations [31 May], and the Jerusalem Quartet close the series with string quartets by Mendelssohn, Ben-Haim and Debussy [8 June].
A varied programme of chamber music also features in the 2023/24 season, with a series of 14 concerts performed in the Jaguar Shanghai Symphony Hall Chamber Hall. Highlights include SSO Concertmaster Liu Ming collaborating with pianist Zhang Lu for a programme of Bach, Schubert, Ysaÿe and Brahms [23 November], the East Coast Quartet and guitarist Liu Xianji performing Boccherini’s Guitar Quintet No. 4 [29 December], and the Melody Quartet and pianist Wang Yufei performing a programme of music by female composers including Clara Schumann, Amy Beach and Miao Weiwei [8 March].
Other notable highlights
Music Director Long Yu opens the season with an eclectic concert that includes Zhou Tian’s Metropolis, Bernstein’s West Side Story suite for violin and orchestra with soloist Liu Ming and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 performed by pianist Zee Zee [10 September]. The popular Shanghai New Year’s Concert returns, with repertoire and conductor to be confirmed in due course [1 January], and Tsung Yeh conducts the 2024 Spring Festival concert, featuring soloists Deng Jiandong and Zhang Qianyuan on erhu and suona respectively [2 February]. Long Yu conducts the closing concert of the season with Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 3, featuring mezzo-soprano Yajie Zhang and the Shanghai Huangpu Youngster’s Activity Centre Spring Women’s and Children’s Choir [22 June].