A New Year’s Concert Series will replace the usual single performance this year to celebrate the arrival of 2015.
Pianist Krystian Zimerman and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO), conducted by Pavvo Järvi, will raise the curtain on the series on December 27. The local orchestra and Järvi will ring in 2015 alone on December 31, while the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vassily Sinaisky, will conclude the series on January 3-4.
Interestingly, none of the concerts will feature music by Strauss, a tradition for most New Year’s concerts in Shanghai.
Shanghai Symphony Orchestra’s year-end concert marks the 150th anniversary of Jean Sibelius, whose music was inspired by beautiful lakes and forests in Finland.
Sibelius’s most well-known pieces “Finlandia” and “Violin Concerto in D Minor” will be played. Other works like Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite” and Stravinsky’s “The Firebird Suite” will also be performed. German violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann will play alongside the SSO.
“Sibelius is one of my favorite composers, and I would like to pay tribute to the master with our performance,” Järvi says.
The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra started cooperating with world-class conductors for the New Year’s concerts five years ago.
“It is like having a master class each time and helps us improve tremendously,” says viola player Guo Weiqi, “To us, conductors are like chefs cooking very different dishes with the same ingredients.”
It will be the third time Järvi has been in Shanghai in the past six months and he is happy to return.
“I enjoy sharing my music with the audiences here,” says Järvi.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s concerts will feature Russian compositions like Tchaikovsky’s “Overture 1812,” “Farewell of the Guests” and “Waltz” from “Swan Lake.”
Zimerman will present Brahms’s “Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor,” one of his favorite pieces, during the December 27 concert.
Zimerman recorded the piece with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1980s. However, he wasn’t satisfied with the recording because he was using a replacement piano after his was damaged in an accident during transportation to the studio.
He has listened to more than 80 versions of Brahms’s “Piano Concerto No. 1,” trying to recreate the genuine Brahms.
“Music is not a racing movement,” says Zimerman. “The speed should not be set by formalist rhythm, and the most important thing is to interpret the feelings.”
Zimerman will also play Schumann’s “Overture, Sherzo and Finale,” as well as Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 1 in F Minor.”