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SHANGHAI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA WITH CONDUCTOR LONG YU AND TEENAGE VIRTUOSO PIANIST PENG PENG

October 20, 2009
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

WELCOMES

SHANGHAI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

WITH CONDUCTOR LONG YU AND PIANIST PENG PENG

Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009 at 8 p.m. 

FAIRFAX, Va., Oct. 8, 2009Known to Asian audiences as “the best of the Far East,” the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra was the first orchestra of its kind in Asia, and is credited with the development of Chinese symphonic music. This 130-year-old ensemble introduces Chinese orchestral works to audiences around the world, while bringing the finest classical music of the Western World to the Chinese people. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Long Yu, the orchestra embraced a new era of its history with recording music for the Oscar and Grammy Award-winning film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Center audiences will have the exciting opportunity to witness the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra when this grand ensemble performs at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. 17-year-old piano phenom Peng Peng joins the orchestra to perform the daunting Piano Concert No. 2 by Rachmaninoff. The program also includes Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” Overture-Fantasy and “China Air Suite” by Bao Yuankai. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts. HSBC Bank is the Magnificent Music series sponsor for the 2009-10 season.

Formed in 1879 as the Shanghai Public Band, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra developed into an orchestra in 1907, and was renamed the Shanghai Municipal Council Symphony Orchestra in 1922. Notably under the direction of Italian conductor Mario Paci, the orchestra promoted Western music and trained young Chinese talents in symphonic music. The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra is responsible for introducing the first Chinese orchestral work to Asian audiences. Since its inception, this three century-old orchestra has performed in more than 10,000 concerts and premiered several thousand musical works. The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra has had numerous collaborations with world-renowned guest conductors, soloists and vocalists, and gained a reputation as the most authoritative interpreter of Chinese symphonic compositions. The orchestra has gained international recognition in recent years, having recently completed recordings of Zhu Jian’er’s symphonies, Tan Dun’s multimedia concerto “The Map” and Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

As one of the most distinguished Chinese conductors with an established international reputation, Long Yu is currently artistic director and principal conductor of the China Philharmonic Orchestra, music director of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the Beijing Music Festival. In addition to these endeavors, Yu has appeared with a prestigious list of celebrated orchestras and opera companies around the world, including the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Washington National Symphony, the Orchestre de Paris, the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Tokyo Philharmonic and Singapore Symphony. In 1998, Yu led the creation of the Beijing Music Festival and became its founding artistic director. Under his leadership, the festival is regarded as one of the world’s most important classical music festivals, and plays an active role in commissioning new works from today’s most prestigious composers including Krzysztof Penderecki, Philip Glass, Guo Wenjing and Ye Xiaogang. In 2000, Yu co-founded the China Philharmonic Orchestra, and has since toured extensively with the ensemble, even bringing it to the Vatican in 2008 to perform for Pope Benedict XIV, which marked a giant step in bringing eastern and western cultures together. Yu was appointed to the position of music director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in 2009. He received the 2002 Montblanc Arts Patronage Award in 2002, The Honor of Chevalier of French Art and Culture in 2003 from the Government of France, and in 2005, he was honored with L’onorificenza di commendatore by the president of Italy.

Born in China, 17-year-old pianist and composer Peng Peng began piano lessons at age 5 and gave his first public recital in Nanjing at age 8. In 2002, he made his concerto debut with the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra performing Beethoven’s Piano Concertos No. 1. He has performed at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall with Itzhak Perlman conducting the Julliard Pre-College Chamber Orchestra and at the Aspen Festival Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Slatkin. He was recently featured on a broadcast of PBS’s “Live From Lincoln Center” as part of Julliard’s “Celebrating 100 Years Gala,” in which he performed the opening movement of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with conductor and composer John Williams. An avid composer, Peng Peng studies composition at Julliard and has written numerous works for piano, chamber ensembles and orchestras, and recently won the “Young Composer Award” from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Foundation. 

HSBC Bank is the Magnificent Music series sponsor for the 2009-10 season.

 Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.

Tickets for the SHANGHAI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA are $50, $42, $25. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit www.gmu.edu/cfa. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.  Visit www.gmu.edu/cfa

About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.