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About this performance

Tan Dun Choral Concerto Nine
Beethoven Symphony No. 9

Xian Zhang conductor
Lauren Fagan soprano
Caitlin Hulcup mezzo
Simon O’Neill tenor
Shenyang baritone
MSO Chorus

The concert
Superstar conductor leads Beethoven celebration.

Led by acclaimed Chinese–American Xian Zhang, MSO’s 2020 Principal Guest Conductor, this concert celebrates the idea of music as a bridge between nations, the connective tissue in humanity’s grand narrative.

The year 2020 sees the MSO present a year-long celebration of the genius of Beethoven, at the 250th anniversary of his birth. In this program, a superb international and Australian cast will bring the breadth and wonder of the famous composer’s ultimate masterpiece to life.

Beethoven is a phenomenon whose music knows no boundaries, physical or spiritual. This stunning performance of the Symphony No. 9, attests his enduring cultural significance, 195 years after its premiere.

The Ninth Symphony is astonishing as much for the context of its composition as for the music. It was the final of Beethoven’s symphonies, written when he was almost totally deaf. Still, Beethoven insisted on conducting himself, despite the orchestra hiring another conductor, at the first performance of the work in 1824. The finale was met with rapturous applause, which the maestro could not hear. It’s said the contralto turned him around to face the audience, and people waved handkerchiefs so he could see their adulation.

To complement this sublime program, the MSO performs Nine, a mesmerising choral concerto by MSO Artistic Ambassador Tan Dun. This work is Dun’s response to Beethoven, co-commissioned by the MSO and the Philharmonic Society of London - the very group who commissioned the Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

With the full force of the MSO Chorus, and a wealth of Australian and international talent, this is a live experience to rival all others — a genuinely global Ode to Joy.

Running time
1 hour and 25 minutes, including a 20-minute interval.

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