SHANGHAI, July 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Commencement Ceremony of the inaugural class of the Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA) of 2014 was held on July 5th 2016 at Shanghai Symphony Hall. Distinguished guests who spoke at the ceremony included: Zhaojian Bei, representative of Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film and Television; Long Yu, President of Shanghai Orchestra Academy; Zaiyong Lin, President of Shanghai Conservatory of Music; and Matthew VanBesien, President of the New York Philharmonic. Long Yu and Alan Gilbert, Music Director of the New York Philharmonic conferred SOA Certificates upon graduates.
Since its inception, the SOA has received strong encouragement and support from the Shanghai Municipal Government. According to Zhaojian Bei, "To develop culture, we must nurture talents. To nurture talents, we must develop their professional skills. In the past two years, the Shanghai Orchestra Academy has established a base to cultivate professional orchestral players in the country. On one hand, the Academy provides knowledge and skills; on the other, it offers practical training and experience. A group of new artistic talents have since been molded."
To celebrate the occasion, graduates performed the first section of J.S. Bach's The Art of Fugue and "La Chasse" (The Hunt) from Alexander Tcherepnin's Six Pieces for Horn Quartet. SOA trumpet graduate Tianhao Yao spoke on behalf of the inaugural class: "The two-year course radically changed our understanding of how to play in professional orchestras. We also witnessed the Academy's constant push for excellence in teaching and management. We have so much gratitude for our beloved faculty from the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Shanghai Conservatory of Music. We also thank the Academy for providing invaluable internship opportunities and master classes. SOA is such an excellent platform in integrating resources provided by these driving forces in the industry. It helps us students make rapid progress." Yao won several awards in international music competitions during his study at SOA and has been offered the Associate Principal Trumpet position by the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra.
The vast amount of internship opportunities with professional orchestras is the core strength of SOA education, as the experience gained through such internships is crucial to nurturing orchestral talent. SOA students Aolie Wu (violin), Tong Ba (viola), Shuang Lv (oboe), and Hui Zhang (bassoon) were selected by audition to participate in the New York Philharmonic's Global Academy Fellowship program in mid-June as part of the SOA program, which included a week-long immersion in the life of the New York Philharmonic. During the Fellowship, the SOA students played alongside the entire New York Philharmonic in Manhattan's Central Park and Brooklyn's Prospect Park under the baton of Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert during the Orchestra's free Concerts in the Parks series, performing works including Beethoven's Overture to Fidelio and Symphony No.3,"Eroica." Though having interned multiple times with orchestras in Sydney, Singapore, and Hong Kong during her two years' study at SOA, Tong Ba treasures the internship with the New York Philharmonic as priceless. She reminisced, "Every day we sat alongside Philharmonic musicians during rehearsals and performances, so naturally we got to notice how these musicians think and play on both conscious and subconscious levels. Apart from observing from a micro perspective, we also experienced on a macro perspective how this great orchestra functioned as a whole. All these vivid impressions made an extraordinary impact on us." The four students will perform in concert with the New York Philharmonic on July 8th as part of the 2016 Shanghai Music in the Summer Air (MISA) Festival. On July 6th, all SOA students participated in a side-by-side rehearsal of Beethoven's Symphony No.3,"Eroica," with the New York Philharmonic during the residency.
During the past two years, SOA students like Tong Ba had the opportunity to audition for internship placements with top professional orchestras, such as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and others. A five-year educational cooperation agreement recently signed between SOA and NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra is just another example of the recognition and influence of SOA on the international arts scene.
Another major event in June was the successful Horn Festival organized by SOA in Shanghai Symphony Hall. The festival was co-chaired by New York Philharmonic Principal Horn Philip Myers and SSO Principal Horn Zhongbao Guo and Peter Solomon. This is the second time SOA organized a music festival dedicated to a single musical instrument, after last year's Trombone Festival.
With outstanding faculty, extensive internship opportunities, and a wide variety of enrichment activities, SOA has made tremendous achievements since its founding. Almost all students who entered SOA without orchestra employment have upon graduation secured contracts with professional orchestras in China and abroad, making the commencement ceremony of the inaugural class a testament to the efforts SOA put forth during the past four years since its establishment in 2012. At the ceremony, New York Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien recalled the circumstances for SOA's founding: "This program is about many things, but primarily it's about ensuring the success of the next generation of talented and committed orchestral musicians. Our orchestras--in New York, in Shanghai and around the world--will always want talented young people who will dedicate their energies to the art and the craft of orchestral performance, and who will also serve as ambassadors for and leaders of their future orchestras and for the world of classical music."Long Yu remarked, "the SOA has established its solid reputation as an excellent educational institution and become one of the most sought after academies for professional orchestra players. Three years ago when SOA held its first round of admission, we travelled to various cities in China and abroad to promote the academy to prospective students, compared to this year, when a few graduating students from top international conservatories, including the Juilliard School and Curtis Institute of Music, eagerly sent in their applications. I have full confidence for the bright future of SOA and its graduates."
Opened in September 2014, the Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA) is a joint endeavor of the New York Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in partnership with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. The Academy provides advanced, post-graduate orchestral training, offering classes such as Orchestra Performance, Chamber Music, and Musicianship Skills for Orchestral Performance. SOA provides different levels of scholarships to all of its students, and graduates receive a Master of Fine Arts in Orchestral Performance. Musicians from the New York Philharmonic and other Orchestras from around the world travel to Shanghai regularly each season for master classes, coachings, mock auditions, and seminars, and selected students have the opportunity to participate in internships with professional orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, in their hometowns.
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SOURCE Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA)