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Suzhou, China Launches Its First Symphony Orchestra

July 16, 2016 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

Suzhou, a historically rich and renowned city in China, is well known for its cultural treasures, including traditional Chinese opera, ballet, storytelling and ballad singing in the Suzhou dialect, as well as Kunqu Opera, one of the oldest extant forms of Chinese opera. However, to date a symphony orchestra has remained absent from the list of its art forms.


Suzhou Symphony Orchestra Holds its First News Conference

To address the growing demand from local residents for this art form and to meet the demand as a result of the cultural appeal of classical music, Suzhou is forming its first symphony orchestra, to be named the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra. Chen Xieyang, a famous conductor, was named as music director to ensure the artistic value of the orchestra. In addition, Chen Guangxian, president of the China Symphony Development Foundation and former general manager of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Robert Blocker, dean of the Yale School of Music, were invited to be members of the organizing committee.

The official website of the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra was launched on March 20, 2016 along with the announcement of the orchestra’s 2016 recruitment drive. As of the date of this release, the orchestra has received applications from 14 countries and regions, including mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, the US, France,Russia, Spain, the UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Israel and Morocco. Following an initial screening, 389 applicants were selected to join a second round of tests.

The organizing committee has recently completed three rounds of recruitment at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music (June 2, 2016), the Central Conservatory of Music (June 5, 2016) and the Philharmonie de Paris (June 27-28, 2016). Of note, performers from world-renowned orchestras, including Germany’s Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Belgian National Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra, took part in the recruitment exam in Paris.

The organizing committee also plans to conduct two interview sessions, one at the Yale School of Music(September 21-22, 2016) and the other at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (September 23-24, 2016). An additional two recruitment exams will be held in Suzhou, China and Israel.

The Suzhou Jinji Lake Concert Hall, a concert hall within the Suzhou Culture and Arts Center especially customized for the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra, was designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, one of the world’s most reputable acoustics designers. After the completion of the hall, the stage will be able to accommodate four brass sections consisting of 120 performers and an 80-person chorus which can perform together, and the auditorium, which has been designed taking into account the latest advances in modern stereophonics, can accommodate 500.

Suzhou Symphony Orchestra held its first news conference on June 16, announcing the lineup for its debut performance entitled The crow of golden rooster heralds the dawn, Suzhou is full of happiness, to be held onDecember 31. The well-known Chinese conductor and now music director of the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra, Chen Xieyang, will take the lead at the conductor’s podium.

The first half of the concert opens with the orchestral overture Ode to Red Flags and, in honor of the culturally richJiangsu region where Suzhou is located, the Jiangsu folk song Mo Li Hua (“Jasmine Flower“), followed byCarmen Fantasy and Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso by world famous violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, while the second half commences with Concerto for Pipa and Orchestra, followed by selected numbers from the balletThe Nutcracker jointly performed by the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra and the Suzhou Ballet Theatre.

The grand finale, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Fourth Movement, will be jointly performed by one of China’swell-known domestic symphony choruses and four famous singers.

With a generous compensation and benefits package and an international environment, the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra sincerely welcomes musical talent from both China and abroad to become a member. For more information about the Orchestra, please visit If wishing to apply for a place in the orchestra, please send your resume to

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