Long Yu, China’s pre-eminent conductor on the international scene, and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) have signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. The new partnership is set to build on Long Yu’s critically acclaimed work as Music Director of the SSO and help promote the orchestra’s powerful blend of tradition and ambitious future vision. It will also enhance the SSO’s “Music Connecting Worlds” ethos. Their first DG recording, an album of works from the Chinese and Russian repertoires, will be released in 2019 to mark the SSO’s 140th anniversary and celebrate its status as China’s earliest symphony orchestra. In addition to making new albums with the orchestra, Deutsche Grammophon will also release earlier recordings from the SSO’s existing catalogue.
Since his appointment a decade ago, Long Yu has steered the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra to new heights of artistic excellence, helping it to attract many world-class musicians to its ranks. Under his leadership, it is determined to become the finest orchestra in Asia, a mission supported by its work with outstanding guest conductors and soloists and by the creation of its state-of-the-art home base, the intimate Shanghai Symphony Hall. Deutsche Grammophon’s commitment to the SSO and its chief conductor represents the latest advance in the orchestra’s development.
“Shanghai’s profile as an international city, open to the world and cultural exchange, makes it the ideal place to explore fresh ideas and look at ways of bringing together the best of Chinese and western culture,” observes Long Yu. “This is why it’s such an exciting moment for us to join Deutsche Grammophon’s global family of artists. We are determined to reach out to people across the world and will now be able to connect with new listeners through our recordings for the yellow label. I look forward to recording works by Chinese composers and sharing these and the wonderful artistry that the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra brings to the great symphonic repertoire with international audiences.”
Founded in 1879, the SSO has built bridges in recent years between East and West, not least through international touring and its Shanghai Orchestra Academy, a joint initiative between the orchestra, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Long Yu, meanwhile, has forged a stellar career at home and overseas. Born in 1964, he studied at the Shanghai Conservatory, then at Berlin’s Hochschule der Künste. His time in Germany was influential in many ways, he notes: “It was in Berlin that I learned the most important things about life – not just from my music studies but from the city’s incredible cultural scene as a whole”. On his return to China in the 1990s, he began working with the country’s leading orchestras, his talents quickly recognised with a series of prestigious appointments.
Today, in addition to his work with the SSO, Long Yu is also Artistic Director of the China Philharmonic Orchestra and the Beijing Music Festival, which he founded in 1988, Music Director of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, co-director of MISA Shanghai Summer Festival and principal guest conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Long Yu’s guest-conducting work also includes collaborations with the New York Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, among others. He is dedicated to championing worldwide the work of China’s contemporary composers.
The recipient of many awards and honours, in 2014 Long Yu was appointed Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in France. The following year he was given the honourable Chinese title of “National Literature and Art Worker of Excellence” and received both the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Award and Yale School of Music’s Samuel Simons Sanford Award. In April 2016 he was elected Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and in June that same year was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Dr. Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon, welcomed Long Yu and the SSO to the yellow label. “I am excited about the new partnership,” he said. “We will collaborate with these leading and inspiring musicians and institutions in the world’s most vibrant classical music environment. The artistic work Long Yu has accomplished with the Shanghai Symphony in the last decade is truly remarkable. It is reflected today in his high-profile international engagements and in the orchestra’s impressive touring schedule, including its debut at last year’s Lucerne Summer Festival. The recordings will help draw global attention to the outstanding musicianship of Long Yu and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and foster the already significant profile of Deutsche Grammophon in China.”
Fedina Zhou, President of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra commented: “Everyone at the SSO is thrilled to be partnering with Deutsche Grammophon to help us reach music lovers around the world. The SSO is not only Asia’s oldest orchestra, it is also one of the most vibrant, diverse and imaginative arts organisations in the region. Music is the greatest way of connecting people and our new partnership with DG will ensure that the SSO continues to bring the power of music to more and more people.”