Shanghai Symphony Orchestra & Long Yu

Biography Shanghai Symphony Orchestra & Long Yu

Shanghai Symphony Orchestra & Long Yu

Long Yu
Hailed by The New York Times as “the most powerful figure in China’s classical music scene,” the conductor and impresario Long Yu has devoted his illustrious career to steering China’s growing connection to classical music while familiarizing international audiences with the country’s most eminent musicians and composers. From north to south, Maestro Yu currently holds the top position in China’s three most prominent orchestras—Artistic Director of the China Philharmonic Orchestra in Beijing and Music Director of both the Shanghai and Guangzhou symphony orchestras—as well as Principal Guest Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He is co-director of Shanghai’s Music in the Summer Air festival and Chair of the Artistic Committee of the Beijing Music Festival, an annual autumn event that he founded in 1998 and served as Artistic Director until 2017. He is currently Vice President of the China Musicians Association and Chairman of its recently established League of China Orchestras.

Under Maestro Yu’s baton, the China Philharmonic Orchestra became the first Chinese orchestra to perform at the Vatican’s Paul VI Auditorium, a concert attended by Pope Benedict XVI marking a giant step in bridging East and West. In 2014, Maestro Yu led the China Philharmonic in the first Chinese orchestral performance at the BBC Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall, a concert viewed by millions of people across the United Kingdom.

Since taking the reins of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in 2009, Maestro Yu’s initiatives include the 2014 opening of Shanghai Symphony Hall. That same year, he founded the Shanghai Orchestra Academy, China’s first post-graduate training program for orchestral musicians, in partnership with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the New York Philharmonic, which also named Maestro Yu an honorary member of their International Advisory Board, a 12-member network of advocates and ambassadors gathered to connect the Philharmonic with individuals and institutions in their home countries. Two years later, he launched the biennial Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition, a result of his relationship with the Stern family dating from the violinist’s appearance at the Beijing Music Festival in 2000 marking the 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking China tour. In June 2018, Maestro Yu became the first Chinese conductor to sign an exclusive relationship with Deutsche Grammophon, offering the Shanghai Symphony a global release and distribution partnership. Their DG debut, Live from the Forbidden City, a recording of the label’s 120th-anniversary gala concert in Beijing, was released in January 2019, and has since been followed by Gateways (June 2019) and The Song of the Earth, which pairs Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the world premiere recording of Xiaogang Ye’s settings of the same texts in the original Mandarin (July 2021). In 2019 Maestro Yu led the orchestra on a tour of the United States and Europe, with performances at the BBC Proms and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw as well as the Edinburgh, Lucerne and Ravinia festivals.

As Music Director of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra since 2003—an orchestra he first conducted in 1994—Maestro Yu has expanded the orchestra’s repertory and touring outreach (to Europe, the US, Australia, Africa and the Middle East) as well as its educational mission. Between 2005 and 2007, the GSO organized the Canton International Summer Music Academy with a distinguished faculty including Martha Argerich and Gary Graffman. In January 2017, the GSO inaugurated Youth Music Culture Guangdong, a performance and educational initiative “opening a new page in the Chinese symphonic world” with Yo-Yo Ma as Artistic Director and Maestro Yu leading its Artistic Committee.

Also a towering figure on the international stage, Maestro Yu has conducted many highly-acclaimed orchestras throughout the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Staatsoper Hamburg, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic and Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

Born in 1964 into a Shanghai musical family, Maestro Yu received his early musical education from his grandfather, the renowned composer Ding Shande, later continuing his studies at the Shanghai Conservatory and the Hochschule der Kunst in Berlin. In 1992, he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Central Opera House in Beijing and served as its conductor for three consecutive years.

Among his citations in China, Long Yu was named the 2010 Person of the Year in the Arts Field and was also granted the 2013 China Arts Award and named an Honorary Academician by the Central Conservatory of Music for his dedication to cultural exchange and music development in China.

Internationally, Maestro Yu received the Arts Patronage Award of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation in 2002. A year later, he was named a Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2005, the Italian government honored him with the title of L’onorificenza di Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito. He was awarded France’s highest order of merit by joining the Légion d’Honneur in 2014. The following year, Maestro Yu received the prestigious Global Citizen Award from the Atlantic Council and the Samuel Simons Sanford Award from the Yale School of Music. In 2016, he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and also awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2018, he was conferred an Honorary Doctorate from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

Aaron Zigman
Emmy-winning American composer Aaron Zigman is a master of multiple genres whose concert music is championed by leading artists and orchestras worldwide. He is also a stalwart of popular song and one of today’s preeminent film and television composers.

Zigman’s concert output encompasses operatic, orchestral, chamber and vocal music. His new oratorio, Émigré, receives its world and U.S. premieres this season from the co-commissioning Shanghai Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic respectively, with a Chinese and American cast led by conductor Long Yu in a semi-staged production by Mary Birnbaum. Set to lyrics by Mark Campbell, with additional lyrics by Brock Walsh, the 90-minute work for soloists, chorus and orchestra tells the story of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai to escape the Holocaust. The work will also be performed in Hong Kong, Berlin and London during the next two concert seasons.

As a longtime devotee of the tango, Zigman pays tribute to the Argentinean form in his award-winning piano concerto, Tango Manos (2019), a co-commission of the Beijing Music Festival, Radio France and the San Francisco Symphony. The concerto’s critically acclaimed world and U.S. premiere performances featured its dedicatee, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, with the China Philharmonic under Long Yu and the San Francisco Symphony under Fabien Gabel. Zigman’s other orchestral works include his tone poem Rabin: An Orchestral Work in Five Movements (1994), written in memory of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan premiered Zigman’s Rhapsody for cello and piano at California’s La Jolla Music Society in 2021. The composer’s earlier chamber works include No Strings Attached (2007), a sextet for French horn player Brian O’Connor; Vis Vitae (2006) for mixed octet, as featured at the third annual Beverly Hills International Music Festival; and Impressions (2004), a suite for wind ensemble that was premiered by French horn player Richard Todd and members of the USC Symphony Orchestra. Zigman’s vocal works include a setting of Shir L’Shalom, two Ave Maria vocalises and La Donna in Viola for soprano soloists and chorus, which is set to an Italian translation of a poem by American feminist playwright Ntozake Shange.

Zigman has firmly established himself as one of Hollywood’s go-to composers. His film career launched in 2000, when director Nick Cassavetes heard a performance of Rabin by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony. Zigman and Cassavetes went on to collaborate on six films, including the romantic cult classic The Notebook, for which the composer’s score sold a record number of albums. Working with top studios and directors, he has scored more than 70 Hollywood motion pictures to date, including such substantial box-office hits as Bridge to Terabithia, The Proposal, For Colored Girls, The Company Men, Wakefield and the Sex and the City franchise. Similarly distinguished in television, he has penned songs for shows including the popular series Fame and the Showtime TV movie Crown Heights, for which his setting of the Hebrew peace prayer “Sim Shalom” received an Emmy Award. Most recently, he scored American Dream/American Knightmare, Antoine Fuqua’s acclaimed Suge Knight documentary for Showtime.

Zigman began his career in the 1980s as a session pianist. A student of renowned MGM composer and orchestrator George Bassman, he signed a song-writing contract with music publishing giant Almo Irving while still in college. Subsequently working for industry legend Clive Davis, Zigman went on to write, arrange and produce more than 50 hit albums for some of the world’s foremost performing and recording artists, including Christina Aguilera, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Phil Collins, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, John Legend, Seal, Carly Simon, Sting, The Four Tops, Tina Turner and Dionne Warwick.

Zigman has accrued numerous honors, including the 2005 Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Song, two International Film Music Critics’ Award nominations and twelve BMI Film & TV Awards.

© 2010-2024 HIGHRESAUDIO