Press Releases Index

August 27, 2003
CONTACT: Faith Jackson
Office of University Relations
(908) 737-3410

Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Opens U.S. Tour at Kean University

UNION, N.J. – Kean University will be the first stop on the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra’s 10-city tour of the U.S., beginning on Friday, September 26, 2003, at 7:30 p.m. in Wilkins Theatre, located on the University’s main campus at 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, N.J.

Best known for the music performed with cellist Yo-Yo Ma for Tan Dun’s Oscar-winning original soundtrack for the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra has a history dating back to the 1870s. With more than a century of continual growth and development, it now has earned the reputation of being the best in the Far East and embraces nearly a hundred veteran players, three resident conductors and two composers. The orchestra will present selections from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Rossini’s Ouverture to William Tell and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Minor, led by Maestro Chen Xieyang, one of the most accomplished Chinese conductors of his generation. Guest pianist Tian Jiang will be featured on two pieces.

Jiang is today recognized as one of the world’s most exciting virtuoso pianists, but was once barred from music school in China during the Cultural Revolution because his father, a singer of Western opera, and his mother, a dentist, were condemned as intellectuals and relegated to third-class citizenship. As one of the first musicians permitted to leave China after the Revolution, Jiang completed his piano studies at the Juilliard School. Upon his North American debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, The New York Times noted that he had "a formidable technique... shining, crisp, energetic and colorfully illuminated.”

The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra made its international debut in 1975 with concerts in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong and was warmly welcomed in the United States at the Carnegie Hall Centennial Celebration in 1990. It has since toured around the world and, in 1994, took part in a landmark concert tour to Taiwan. The orchestra has explored many forms of music, including traditional Chinese and classical as well as more modern sounds. Its CD River Water, released in 2000, was praised by Rhythm Magazine for capturing “a series of powerful tone poems,” many of which were based on Chinese poetry.

Tickets are $25 for the public; $19 for seniors and $15 for students. For further information, to order tickets, or request a brochure, call the Wilkins Theatre Box Office at 908-737-SHOW (7469).