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A very 'American' New Year's concert
By Li Anlan

GERSHWIN'S "An American in Paris" and symphonic dances from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story" will ring in the new year in this night concert by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

The orchestra will be conducted by New Yorker Alan Gilbert, the first American-born music director of the New York Philharmonic. Gilbert has built much of his reputation conducting contemporary and American music. His more conservative predecessors include Larin Maazel, Kurt Masur and Zubin Mehta.

Gilbert's New Year's Eve program at the Shanghai Grand Theater will also include Act II from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker."

On January 12 Gilbert stunned the audience of 2,700 people in New York when he stopped the final movement of Mahler's Ninth Symphony when a cell phone kept ringing.

Besides the all-time Christmas favorite "Nutcracker," the American compositions are not typically played in New Year's concerts.

"I chose the program with the idea of providing our audience with a rich and joyous musical experience," Gilbert told Shanghai Daily. "All the music is very close to my heart and if we can dance and sing throughout the evening I will be very happy."

Gilbert was appointed three years ago as music director of the famous, 170-year-old orchestra. He has been acclaimed for selecting more contemporary works.

"Changing with the times and rethinking the very definition of what orchestras are is essential to our continued viability. These two aspects can coexist and work together in a way that is truly vital and bodes well for the future of music," Gilbert said.

This is Gilbert's first visit to China.

"I'm thrilled and tremendously excited to build a relationship with the musicians and music-loving public of Shanghai," he said. "I have no doubt that this collaboration will become a very important feature of all of our musical lives."

Date: December 31, 7:15pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater, 300 People's Ave

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