— Inaugural academy class begins with two weeks of coaching by New York philharmonic musicians, September 4 – 12
— First weeks culminate with concert to celebrate opening of the academy
— Featuring musicians from the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Shanghai Orchestra Academy, conducted by Long Yu, September 12
SHANGHAI, October 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA) was established in late 2012 through the intercontinental cooperation of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO), New York Philharmonic (NYP) and Shanghai Conservatory of Music (SCM). The SOA is designed to address the need for advanced, post-graduate orchestral training, identified by Long Yu, music director of the SSO and inaugural president of the Academy, as one of the main issues of musical development in Asia. The newly built Shanghai Symphony Hall serves as the main base venue for SOA teaching and practical training.
Classical music in China has been booming during the past decades, with a striking increase in concert venues and audience attendance. Alongside the boom came the challenge for traditional music education to better fulfill the demand of professional orchestras for outstanding musical talents. SOA aims to meet this challenge by cultivating orchestra musicians of the highest caliber to play in professional orchestras in China and around the world, as well as providing an international performing and practical training platform for young artists dedicated to orchestra careers.
Providing faculty comprised of principals and experienced musicians from NYP and SSO as well as experienced professors from SCM, SOA welcomed its inaugural class in August 2014. From September 4 to 12, NYP faculty was on campus in Shanghai to conduct close to 300 teaching sessions including individual coaching, master classes, chamber music coaching, mock auditions, lectures, etc. NYP faculty, made up of 14 Principal and experienced musicians, expect to travel to Shanghai 3 more times during the 2014-2015 academic year, and conduct long-distance teaching sessions during off-campus periods. SOA students will also study under principal musicians of SSO and enjoy practical training opportunities such as participating in SSO rehearsals and concerts. Highly qualified students may have the opportunity to play with musicians from NYP during its annual summer residency in Shanghai beginning in 2015 or through an official apprenticeship program in New York City.
The nine New York Philharmonic musicians who came all the way from New York to Shanghai in September are Acting Concertmaster Sheryl Staples, Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, Acting Associate Principal Bass Max Zeugner, flutist/piccolo player Mindy Kaufman, Principal Oboe Liang Wang, Principal Bassoon Judith LeClair, trumpet player Ethan Bensdorf, Principal Horn Philip Myers, and bass trombone player George Curran.
The SOA’s inaugural class comprises 22 students, including three auditors, ranging in age from 22 to 35 who have been trained in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Italy. The matriculating students include violinists, violists, double bassists, flutists, an oboist, bassoonists, horn players, a trumpet player, and trombonists.
The opening weeks of the SOA culminated with the Opening Concert for both the Academy and also the Shanghai Symphony Hall Chamber Hall on September 12, which featured a chamber orchestra made up of SOA students and musicians from SSO and NYP. Led by Long Yu, the program included Karen LeFrak’s String Serenade; Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1, with Jian Wang as soloist; and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, with Philharmonic Acting Concertmaster Sheryl Staples and Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps as soloists.
Su Ming, Head of Shanghai Education Commission, and Matthew VanBesien, President and Executive Director of NYP, gave inspiring speeches at the concert to congratulate on the opening of SOA. As Su Ming pointed out, “Shanghai is making faster progress on constructing its identity as an international cultural metropolis. The establishment and development of SOA will surely offer guiding reference for traditional music education, further Shanghai’s cultural impact and influence, and invigorate Sino-US exchange on culture and arts education.”
“This partnership is about many things — the teaching and nurturing of young orchestral musicians from Shanghai, China and from throughout Asia and the world; and of course sharing great musical performances in both Shanghai and New York. We will achieve this throughout the partnership, and this partnership can even transcend music to embody the best of what our two orchestras, our two cities and our two countries can achieve by working together,” said Matthew VanBesien.