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Chicago symphony brings down the house

By Zhang Yuan (CNTV)

09:52, February 04, 2013

If classical music is more your taste, then Shanghai's music scene is the place to watch. As Shanghai continues to build up its artistic atmosphere, music lovers there have more opportunities to enjoy world famous performers. And on Thursday night, the city's Oriental Arts Center saw another full house for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Conductor Lorin Maazel lead the orchestra through three programs -- Verdi's "Overture to Vespri Siciliani", Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 and Beethoven's Third Symphony. But the symphony itself was the big draw.

Jonathan Funkhouser, US Expat, said, "I like classical music, really enjoy listening to it at home. And it's great to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra here, so we wanted to take this opportunity to come and check it out. This is my first time listening to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, so we're very excited. We bought the tickets a long time ago, so first row I think."

Zhang Xianping, Vice President, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, said, "I have watched the Chicago Symphony before. It is one of the best symphony orchestras in the world, so I come to the theater for it again. It is also a good opportunity for us to learn from the symphony. Each time I listen to the music performed by it, I have different feelings."

Now in its 122nd season, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is regarded as one of the best in the world. It performs more than 150 concerts a year, and has earned 62 Grammy awards. This is the Symphony's second visit to China after it first toured Shanghai in 2009. But the city is very familiar to conductor Lorin Maazel, who has been here dozens of times since 1988.

He conducted Britain's Philharmonic Orchestra in Shanghai last April, and is scheduled to bring the Munich Philharmonic to the city in April. But this trip was a surprise. He says when he received the request several weeks ago to replace Riccardo Muti who had some health problems, he didn't hesitate to accept, because he loves the young classical music lovers in China. He says although he is a frequent visitor to the city, he tries to bring different music styles each time.

Loron Maazel, Conductor, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, said, "I try to give the impression that each interpretation in my each concert is born of the moment. And hopefully then, when I came back as often, as I apparently will be, I will be able to keep that feeling of improvisation and freshness through the last note."

Shanghai Oriental Art Center now stages more than 150 performances every year. And nearly 40 percent of them are symphony orchestras. The theater manager says they will continue their effort to bring more top international orchestras to the city.

Lin Hongming, General Manager, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, said, "Promotion for classcial music needs co-efforts by the performing organizations, theaters and artists. But I think the most important factor is to attract more new classical music lovers through high quality shows. Shanghai, as an international city, needs symphony shows."

In the next few months, local music fans will be able to see the Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic and Rotterdam Philharmonic.

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