Chinese city of Suzhou, situated 100 kilometres northwest of Shanghai, has announced the creation of a symphony orchestra which was absent from the list of the city’s cultural offer. 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. Conductor Chen Xieyang was named as music director.

Currently, the orchestra is recruiting musicians and a press release says, 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.

The inaugural concert is planned for 31 December 2016.

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