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Symphony puts on private performances for music lovers

By ZHANG KUN | China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-17 09:04

Musicians from the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra perform at the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center for breast cancer survivors and their families on April 25. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Classical music lovers now have a chance to enjoy a private performance by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra-all they have to do is write a convincing enough application letter that wins the most public votes on the SSO's WeChat account.

The first batch of seven letters that won the hearts of the project committee at the SSO have already been published on the orchestra's WeChat account. The second window for the public to submit their applications ended on Wednesday. There will be two more windows over the course of the year.

Titled "Symphony in the City: SSO for You", this initiative is part of the orchestra's efforts to celebrate its 140th birthday this year. Previously known as the Shanghai Public Band, the SSO is China's first symphony orchestra. Its first documented performance took place in Shanghai in 1879.

The SSO has encouraged everyone, regardless of whether or not they are fans of the orchestra, to pen invitation letters.

"Tell us your stories, your ideas, your wishes, and why you want the musicians of the SSO to come and play for you," says Zhou Ping, director of the orchestra.

"We have organized this project as a way to express our love for the city and share our music with people from all walks of life."

The first person to win a private performance was Tang Lichen, a surgeon from Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center. The concert for him took place at the lecture hall of the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center on April 25.

"Many people are devastated when they first receive their diagnosis," Tang says.

"Every year we treat 6,000 breast cancer patients. The treatment process is long and very challenging for the patient, physically and emotionally. I hope music can help alleviate their anxiety, give them hope, and cheer them up."

More than 300 breast cancer patients and their families attended the concert which featured the East Coast string quartet of the SSO playing Nocturnes by Mozart, The Swan by Camille Saint-Saens and The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II.

"Music gave me great emotional support when I was sick and having a hard time in my life," says 74-year-old Hu Zhichu, who has been a member of a chorus of cancer survivors since 2006.

The hospital established a salon for its breast cancer survivors in 1999 before setting up a chorus in 2006. The salon currently has a membership of 7,000 people.

"I feel full of strength when I sing. I used to think the orchestra was high above and far away, but now I feel it close to my heart," says Hu. "If I have the chance, I want to listen to music in a proper concert hall."

Another winner was a young mother named Liu Qingmei who requested that the musicians play at her daughter's kindergarten as she does not meet the height requirement to gain entry into theaters and concert halls in Shanghai.

"There are many music-loving children in the kindergarten. They would love an opportunity to listen to your music," she writes.


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