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Viennese whirl

Time:2018-11-23   Source:China Daily

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performs at a New Year's concert. The orchestra will present six concerts during a tour of China from Sunday to Dec 3. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Vienna Philharmonic is set to return to China with six concerts, including a performance featuring pianist Lang Lang, Chen Nan reports.

After its successful tour of five Chinese cities last October, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is set to return to the country.

The orchestra, founded in 1842, will present six concerts at the Tianjin Grand Theatre, the Guangzhou Xinghai Concert Hall and the Shanghai Oriental Art Center from Sunday to Dec 3.

Under the baton of Austrian conductor Franz Welser-Most, the orchestra will play repertories, including Symphony No 2 in D major by Johannes Brahms, Symphony No 5 in B-flat major by Anton Bruckner and Carnival Overture by Antonin Dvorak.

"It was a great experience performing in front of so many people and such an open-minded audience in China. We enjoyed seeing the acceptance of, and interest in, our European culture a lot," writes Daniel Froschauer, the chairman of Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, in an email response to questions.

"There is a very young audience and, from our experience, they are very fond of rhythmical compositions. This is what we took into consideration while doing the programming. We wanted to present masterpieces of European classical music and chose-together with maestro Welser-Most-works of composers who had a big impact on the history of the orchestra and a close relationship with Vienna."

Froschauer adds that the conductor has a long, outstanding artistic relationship with the orchestra. Welser-Most has been Vienna Philharmonic's New Year concert conductor twice and was the musical director of the Vienna State Opera.

"He has an incredibly broad repertoire and great knowledge of European music," Froschauer says.

Austrian conductor Franz Welser-Most (left) with Chinese pianist Lang Lang. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A highlight of the orchestra's upcoming China tour will be a performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No 24 in C minor featuring Chinese pianist Lang Lang, who performed with Vienna Philharmonic for the first time back in 2005.

"The piano concerto is one of the most beautiful concertos with wonderful melodies, composed in a very dramatic tonal language--one of the most beautiful pieces Austrian culture can offer," Froschauer says, adding that the orchestra has had a fruitful artistic partnership with the talented Chinese pianist over the years.

Froschauer sees the collaboration as an example of "Chinese-Austrian cultural symbiosis".

"I met maestro Welser-Most many years ago when I was about 16 years old. He had just finished his tenure as the principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and became the music director of the Zurich Opera House at the time," Lang recalls.

"I was playing a piece by Johannes Brahms at my teacher Gary Graffman's home, and maestro Welser-Most was there. After watching my performance, he said, 'We should definitely play together.'"

The Chinese musician says the Austrian conductor encouraged him to play Mozart and Beethoven.

"He told me to seek adventure as a musician," Lang says. "I am looking forward to the tour with him and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra."

In June 2014, Wu Jiatong, the president of Wu Promotion, China's leading music tour promoter, signed a five-year contract with Clemens Hellsberg, the former president of Vienna Philharmonic, and Dieter Flury, the former general manager of the orchestra, for an exclusive touring partnership with the orchestra over 2017-21.

"Since our foundation, 176 years ago, the pillars of the philharmonic idea remain valid until today. This is what makes the orchestra unique," Froschauer adds.

Other than the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, top performing arts institutions like Dresden Staatskapelle, the Luzern festival orchestra and St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra tour Asia with Wu Promotion every year. This week, the world famous Mariinsky Theater and its artistic director Valery Gergiev also signed an exclusive five-year deal with Wu Promotion for tours in China until 2024.

Contact the writer at chennan@chinadaily.com.cn