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The Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra(SZSO)wraps up 1st UK tour

The Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra(SZSO)wraps up 1st UK tour

At 9:30pm UK local time on March 22 (Beijing time on March 23), the joint venture platform of Beijing Poly Theatre Management Co., LTD. – Poly Armstrong (Beijing) International Arts and Communications Co., LTD., the eighth concert of the “Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra UK Tour”, organized and brokered with Armstrong Music & Art Management Co., LTD., was successfully concluded at Fairfield Hall, Croydon. After the brilliant epilogue of Mahler’s colossal “Symphony No. 1 in D Major”,  also known as “Titan”,  after several curtain calls, conductor Lin Daye and all the musicians of the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra returned to play the Chinese music “High Mountain Green” with strong national style, “Auld Lang Syne” with beautiful meaning, and the cheerful and interesting Xinjiang folk song, which reached the climax of the concert atmosphere. With the standing ovation and continuous applause from the audience, the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra’s UK tour has officially come to a perfect end.

From March 11 to 22, from Birmingham, London, Sheffield and Manchester in England, to Edinburgh and Perth in Scotland, and back to Basingstoke and Croydon in England, the musicians of the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra deeply touched audiences all over the UK with their perfect skills through eight wonderful concerts.

Over 100 musicians performed on the tour’s impressive two-set programs, encompassing both contemporary and classical pieces. For the concerts in Birmingham, London, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Basingstoke, the program included excerpts from Chinese composer Tan Dun’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” Ernest Chausson’s “Poème for Solo Violin and Orchestra,” Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28,” and two of Ottorino Respighi’s “Roman Trilogy.” For the other three shows in Sheffield, Perth, and Croydon, the second half of the program was swapped for Mahler’s colossal “Symphony No. 1 in D Major,” also known as “Titan.” The concerts headlined Chinese cellist Nie Jiapeng and British violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen.

The excellent Chinese works combined with world-renowned music, and the outstanding artists from both China and the UK performed together on the stage. In the orchestra’s careful arrangement and superb performance, so that the British audience feel fresh. It not only won the applause of all audiences, but also explained the original mission of telling the Chinese story well through the language of music.

“Working with two soloists was enjoyable and exhilarating. Whether it was Nie Jiapeng’s poise, or Tamsin’s skill and fluency, the orchestra benefited greatly from working together with outstanding Chinese and British artists to showcase their artistic interpretations of different works.” Lin Daye, artistic director of Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, praised the performance of the two soloists. Speaking about the orchestra’s overall performance, Lin said: “The UK has a rich history of classical music, and the audience here has a high level of appreciation. It was a pleasure to see that during the 8 concerts, every member of the orchestra worked hard, demonstrating our sincerity and stability. To satisfy the British audience is a great reward for each and every one of us.”

The high level of performance of this UK tour can be seen from foreign music reviews. The Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra’s concert was rated four stars by bachtrack.com, a leading classical music website, with a positive note from Phil Parker: ” Young conductor Daye Lin coaxed impressionistically sensuous playing from his orchestra here, showing that they are capable of a richly blended sound.” Even in the fastidious Scottish region, the orchestra’s performance was well received, with renowned music critic Simon Thompson noting in his post-Edinburgh concert review that “the orchestral playing was still full of lovely detail with clean, undulating strings and beautifully polished wind solos, as well as a lovely twinkle to the evening scene”, concluding that “with the forces to raise the roof the way they managed to at the ending”.

The initial concern of the orchestra is not unreasonable, because in addition to the expectation of the art itself, the internationalization and market operation of the tour is also a milestone attempt to make the domestic cultural project “going global”.

Yao Rui, Party secretary and general manager of Poly Theatre Company, said in an interview, “The market attempt of this SZSO tour in the UK is to let overseas audiences buy tickets to watch, cultivate foreign audiences’ willingness to sincerely accept Chinese aesthetic and artistic works, and cultivate loyal fans who understand Chinese culture better.”

“This UK tour has enabled us to organise two firsts – the first visit ever to the UK by this orchestra – and as you will hear shortly at the concert, this is one of the leading orchestras from China. and the very first time that a Chinese orchestra has been invited to perform on the best touring circuit for  British classical music. In other words, this is a commercial business initiative. And today, there’s another first, first Chinese orchestra to Manchester after the Pandemic. It’s our first time to bring Shenzhen Symphony orchestra here, and hope we can bring more Chinese artists here. And we hugely welcome more artists and artistic groups from Mancherster to come to China too.  ” Said Zhang Wei, Asia managing Director of Armstrong Music & Art Management Limited and Executive Managing Director of Poly Armstrong, who organized the tour.

She also said: “A lot of this tour has been ticketed half a year in advance, because in the season, more than 80% of the theatre’s perennial foreign audience, in addition to London, Edinburgh, these big cities, but also to Basingstoke, such as the people know less about the city, this is a real in-depth folk tour. In addition to orchestra communication, theater docking, tour arrangement, publicity coordination and other regular brokerage work; Throughout the tour, with the help of the UK-China Business Council, the Embassy of the two countries, the town hall where the concert is located, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in the UK, the China-UK Business Council and other relevant institutions, as well as domestic and foreign enterprises such as the Bank of China, China Merchants Bank, Diageo, etc. participated actively. The purpose is to convey goodwill through music. The use of music to build a bridge of communication between the people, enterprises and governments of the two countries, so that more people can experience the “soft power” of culture, and also make the UK tour more far-reaching significance.”

Industry and culture are the links between Shenzhen and the cities on this tour. During the tour, Paul Dennett, Deputy Mayor of Manchester, Robert Aldridge, Deputy Mayor of Edinburgh, and Deputy Mayor of Perth attended related concerts and events. “Friendship, mutual assistance, looking forward to more exchange visits in the future”, these keywords were mentioned several times by several mayors.

Sir Robert Aldridge, Lord Mayor of Edinburgh, said: “This is a world-class performance and it is a great honour to be part of this wonderful concert, a great tour of solidarity and friendship, and we hope to create a future partnership between the two cities in a cultural way that will see many more visits between Edinburgh and Shenzhen in the future.”

The tour also coincides with the fifth anniversary of Shenzhen and Edinburgh becoming sister cities, which also gives more significance to the concert in Edinburgh.  To honor the special bond between the two cities, a short video especially recorded by Shenzhen’s mayor Qin Weizhong prior to the tour was played to send his greetings to the music fans of Edinburgh.  

The tour was also strongly supported by the Shenzhen Revitalization Symphony Development Foundation, whose chairman, Ma Weihua, visited with the orchestra and explained the significance of the tour as a friendly exchange between cities: “Many cities in the UK have developed through industrialization, which is consistent with the development track of Shenzhen. An industrial city, it is also a city of culture. Through music, a language without boundaries, the tour has become a cultural bridge between China and the UK to blend ideas across national boundaries and languages, seek common ground while reserving differences, understand each other and develop together. The Shenzhen Symphony Development Foundation is committed to supporting the development of Shenzhen symphonies. This tour has created learning opportunities for us, and we hope that there will be more interaction and collaboration between Shenzhen and UK cities in the areas of culture and art, concert hall performances and musician exchanges in the future.”

During the tour, the Chinese Ambassador to the UK Zheng Zeguang and his wife Counsellor Hua Mei, the Chinese Consul General in Manchester Tang Rui, the Chinese Deputy Consul General in Edinburgh Hou Dana, the Chairman of the Arts Committee of the UK-China Business Council Rui Armstrong, the President of Asia House Lord Stephen Green, Lord Zhan Chengxin, Honorary Chairman of the China-Britain Business Council, Fang Wenjian, Chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce in the UK and President of the Bank of China London Branch, Ma Weihua, Chairman of the Shenzhen Revitalization Symphony Development Foundation and other political and business representatives of the two countries attended the tour concert respectively, which also represents the expectation of more cultural exchanges and friendly exchanges between the two countries.

Ray Armstrong, who is deeply involved in the cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries, expressed his thoughts on the cultural significance of this tour: “I have been committed to the cultural exchanges between China and the world since 2008. Both in terms of marketization and influence, this tour has achieved my goal all along. This tour will mark a new turning point in China-UK cultural and friendly exchanges.”

In his speech after attending the London concert, Ambassador Zheng Zeguang congratulated the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra on its first tour to the UK and introduced the main achievements of the just-concluded “Two Sessions” in China. The “two sessions” proposed accelerating the development of new quality productivity, leading industrial innovation with scientific and technological innovation, comprehensively deepening reform and opening up, and further promoting people-to-people exchanges between China and foreign countries. He stressed that China is committed to building a strong country, rejuvenating the nation and promoting high-quality development in an all-round way through Chinese-style modernization, which will bring more new opportunities for China-UK practical cooperation and cultural and artistic exchanges. It is hoped that the cultural and art communities of China and the UK will strengthen exchanges and cooperation and inject new vitality into the friendship between the two peoples.

The Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra’s UK tour has come to a successful end. This tour has demonstrated the superb performance of the orchestra, the international marketing operation of the organizers, the collaborative support of enterprises, the friendly exchanges between the cities and the new cultural opportunities between China and the UK. These are enough to prove that this tour of the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra in the UK is not only an artistic success, but also a great cultural exchange between China and the UK. To achieve a new height of domestic cultural projects to the sea. For the future, we have more expectations.