Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) today [8 June] announced the programme for their annual Music in the Summer Air (MISA) Festival taking place in Shanghai this summer from 10-24 July. The classical-crossover Festival features visiting orchestras, ensembles, conductors and soloists performing across 23 concerts taking place in the Shanghai Symphony Hall’s Concert Hall, Chamber Hall, Urban Music Lawn and TRI – the venue of Yellow Lounge China, Deutsche Grammophon’s classical club night. The two-week Festival presents audiences with a range of music from Western classical and contemporary Chinese music to percussion and dance, and 14 of the concerts will be live streamed for global audiences via The Paper, Kankan News, Bilibili and other platforms. This year’s theme is ‘growing’, looking to bring new life into the city post-pandemic, with plans to reinvigorate Shanghai’s live music scene with a focus on the city’s musical education, both for adults and children.
MISA was founded in 2010 by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and its Music Director Long Yu in association with the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission to bring classical music to new audiences in Shanghai. The mixed genre programming attracts diverse audiences, some of whom have never been to a classical concert or heard an orchestra live before. Over the past twelve years MISA has presented hundreds of performances which have attracted hundreds of thousands viewers, including over 10,000 teenagers. The Festival aims to be as accessible as possible, with low ticket prices available for all concerts. All of the Urban Music Lawn performances are free to the public, and 14 of the concerts will be streamed globally via Bilibili, The Paper and various other Chinese outlets.
This year MISA opens with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, who are joined by theMagnolia Quartet and pianists Luo Wei and Wang Yalun performing works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, Elgar and Respighi [10 July]. Other main stage concerts include Tan Dun conducting his own Earth Concerto for Ceramic Percussion and Orchestra alongside Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, featuring soloists Hongni Wu and Wang Feng [14 July]. MISA also sees the return of the Dream Stage, in which young musicians perform to a global audience [15, 16, 17 & 20 July].
In the Shanghai Symphony Hall’s Chamber Hall, MISA presents a live-streamed concert by vocalist and producer YEHAIYAHAN accompanied by hand drum, trumpet and members of SSO’s string section. Rapper J-Fever provides lyrics to this cross-genre performance with music by Soulspeak [13 July].
A highlight of MISA is its annual Urban Music Lawn – a series of entirely free concerts staged outdoors. This year’s line-up includes a celebration of Chinese music by the East Coast Quartet [12 July]. Chinese instrumentation is also on display with Lu Yi Wen’s expert erhu playing accompanied by the GSO Feiyue String Quartet [13 July]. ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ concert features accordion and vocals by Zhang Weiwei alongside a string quartet of SSO players, in a programme written by WeiWei himself interspersed with Bach [14 July]. Festival favourites Strikeast Percussion Ensemble also return for MISA with their signature blend of Chinese and Western percussion techniques [16 July]. With the exception of the 17th July concert, all Urban Music Lawn concerts will be live-streamed internationally.
MISA is passionate about fostering young talent and giving young musicians performance opportunities. This year’s Festival includes main-stage performances by student performance groups, Shanghai Student Chinese Orchestra [20 July], Shanghai Youth Choir [17 July], Shanghai Youth Philharmonic Orchestra [15 July] and Guangzhou Symphony Youth Orchestra, who are visiting MISA this year as part of their 10thanniversary tour [21 July].
Closing the 12th MISA Festival, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and its Music DirectorLong Yu are joined by vocalist Zhou Shen and pianist Haochen Zhang for performances ofPie Jesu from Fauré’s Requiem and Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2.
Many of MISA’s concerts, including all those listed above, will be available to watch live online for free on Bilibili, Kankan News and The Paper.