MISA festival dedicated to coloring the season

DEDICATED to coloring the summer in Shanghai, the 8th Music in the Summer Air (MISA) will keep bringing high-quality, low-cost concerts to local residents in the two-week festival next month.

Under the theme of “Classical With a Twist,” the 2017 MISA will present 25 music-related programs on July 2-15 at Shanghai Symphony Hall and Urban Music Lawn in Huangpu District.

More than 2,000 tickets were sold within one hour after the booking started. And those for the 2017 MISA opening concert by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Alan Gilbert, and the concert by the popular local choir Rainbow Chamber Singers were sold out immediately. That, to the organizer’s relief, proves MISA’s success in bringing together musicians and ordinary residents in the past eight years.

With the festival themes ranging from “hot classic,” “relaxing classic,” “cross-over classic,” “fun classic,” “classical plus” and “swing 60s,” MISA has kept exploring the boundary of classic music, so as to reach for more potential audiences, according to Zhou Ping, president of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, which initiated the event.

A rich variety of musicians and artists who have performed on MISA stage included classic musicians Charles Dutoit and Gil Shaham, as well as the non-mainstream like Gong Linna, pioneering in new traditional Chinese music, and “Percussion Prince” Martin Grubinger.

According to Zhou, MISA has received more than 200,000 audiences since its launching in 2010, with a quarter of those being teenagers. That was quite an envy of musicians worldwide witnessing the global aging of classic music fans.

“We are always thinking about new ways to attract a wider audience to our concerts. Succeeding at this often involves adding something new and unprecedented into the mix,” says Zhou, “Greatness is nothing unless it is lasting. We will work hard to keep it on.”

Classic, jazz, rock, cross-culture works and multimedia are all covered as elements for the MISA this year. And quite a number of programs will be presented in pairs.

‘Amadeus’ and ‘Titanic’

Two Oscar-winning movies — “Amadeus” (1985) and “Titanic” (1997) will both be presented live in concert. Key works of Mozart are beautifully woven into the film and will be staged live by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra with a mixture of both instrumental and choral music on July 6.

The three-hour “Titanic” concert will be screened at Shanghai Urban Music Lawn on July 12, with an instrumental accompaniment by Shanghai Opera House Orchestra.

Symphony and jazz

The two top music groups housed by Lincoln Center — the New York Philharmonic and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will perform at Shanghai Symphony Hall.

Led by Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will have their very first concert in Shanghai on July 5, while the New York Philharmonic led by Alan Gilbert will join hands with the orchestra on July 7.

Choir music

Two of the most popular local choirs — the Rainbow Chamber Singers and the Echo — will sing for MISA at Shanghai Symphony Hall.

The Rainbow Chamber Singers shot to overnight fame in 2016 with their hit “Zhang Shichao, Where on Earth Have You Hidden My Key?”

The Fudan University-based choir Echo will join forces with renowned bass-baritone Shen Yang to perform rendition of Republican-era composer Huang Tzu’s works on July 9.

Penguin Cafe and Hanggai

MISA also arranges two non-classical concerts this year, presented by multicultural music group Penguin Café and Chinese rock band Hanggai.

Penguin Café, which reformed with a new lineup in 2009, will perform their new album on July 11.

Hanggai will participate in a symphony rock concert together with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun on July 10.

Visit www.misa.org.cn for more information.