Opposite the Shanghai Symphony Hall on Middle Fuxing Road is a shoemaker’s. At the bottom of the shop sign are the words “Since 2005”. A curious customer once asked the shopkeeper why they felt this date was worth drawing attention to. He replied, “Try and find me one other shop on this street that’s been open for 12 years!” Music in the Summer Air, or MISA, is eight years old this year. Eight is an auspicious number in Chinese. And just like for the shoemaker, while some may see it as an embarrassingly small number, it still means that we’ve stood the test of time. There is a Chinese saying “you’re as old as you’ll ever be at three”. The logic behind this is that the way a person develops in the first few years of their life sets the tone for how they will develop after this point. Eight years may not be a particularly long time, but MISA has certainly matured as an event during this time. Then again, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra is always thinking about new ways to attract a wider audience to our concerts. Succeeding at this often involves adding something new and unprecedented into the mix. In our promotions so far this year, we’ve style MISA variously as a time-honoured tradition and an all-new event. The truth of the matter is that MISA embraces both tradition and innovation. So, without further ado, we bring you MISA 8th: Classical with a twist. Here’s what we’ve added to the mix this year: Amadeus & Titanic Released in 1985, Amadeus is an all-time classic and a winner of 8 Oscars.. Key works from throughout Mozart’s life, such as Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Requiem, are beautifully woven into the film’s narrative. SSO will recreate this classic film with a mixture of both instrumental and choral music. Another classic film, Titanic, is celebrating 20 years since release this year. To mark the occasion, MISA is hosting an open-air screening of the full three-hour film, with instrumental accompaniment provided by the Shanghai Opera House Orchestra. Wynton Marsalis & Symphonic Jazz What was once New York’s most run-down slum is now home to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, a venue aspired to by all on the performing arts scene. The Lincoln Center houses both the New York Philharmonic and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO), two top groups renowned worldwide. It is a rare privilege for MISA to feature concerts by both groups on its schedule this year, especially since this will be JLCO’s first ever performance in Shanghai. They will be led by the legendary Wynton Marsalis, also in Shanghai for the first time. An even more precious opportunity is a joint concert by the two groups, a once-in-a-lifetime occasion even in their hometown of New York. Echo & Rainbow Chamber Singers Shanghai enjoys a vibrant social scene. Choirs are a part of this scene which have grown in popularity over the last two years among the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s. They have proven effective at connecting individual hobbies with social life. They have also matured in ability, broadening and diversifying the range of what is on offer in the city. The Rainbow Chamber Singers no longer need any introduction in China. They shot to internet fame in 2016 with their hit My Body is Hollowed Out, poking fun at China’s grueling overtime culture. The growth of Fudan University–based Echo in recent years has impressed many on the professional choir scene. Echo will join forces with renowned bass-baritone Shenyang to perform a rendition of Republican-era composer Huang Tzu’s Song of Everlasting Sorrow, based on the Tang-dynasty poem of the same name. This promises to be an exciting musical journey for the discerning enthusiast. Penguin Cafe & Hanggai Each year, MISA features two concerts which are strictly non-classical. They attract a diverse audience, from producers and creatives to film lovers and electronic music enthusiasts, and we are always excited by the chance for those in the cultural and creative industries to cross paths and interact. One of the non-classical concerts we have arranged this year is Penguin Cafe. Famed for their eclectic musical style, the group was most active in the final decades of last century. They reformed with a new lineup in 2009 after a hiatus lasting more than a decade, and this year they will be performing their brand-new album at MISA. The other is Hanggai — the most internationally recognized Chinese rock band. Hanggai will be joined by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in a joint performance led by contemporary classical composer Tan Dun, of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame. Expect an exciting atmosphere. New York Philharmonic & Shanghai Symphony 2017 will be the third consecutive year that the New York Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony Orchestras have been the cornerstones of MISA. In keeping with the emerging tradition, the New York and Shanghai groups will give the opening and closing performances of the event, respectively. The New York Philharmonic will open with a tribute to Antonín Dvořák, the Czech composer who was commissioned by the orchestra to write the New World Symphony in 1893, while director of the National Conservatory of Music of America. The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director Long Yu, will close with a set that they plan to take to the Lucerne Festival in August. This will be a chance to warm up before showcasing Chinese orchestra on the world stage at the prestigious event in Switzerland. The MISA open air stage is preparing to welcome a unique range of acts this year. The Baltic Guitar Quartet, the Saxony Brass Player Quintet, and the CHAARTS, founded by Claudio Abbado, will each take the stage in turn. The young people’s unit has worked with the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission for many years now to bring activities aimed at young people to MISA. These events will continue to run this year, including the composition workshop, student ensemble, and professional music training. Since its inception in 2010, the MISA stage has witnessed the birth and growth of the Shanghai Student Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Youth Choir, the Shanghai Youth Chinese Orchestra, and the Shanghai MISA International Youth Music Summer Camp. The youth orchestras represent the top young musical talent in the city, while the summer camp is a unique learning opportunity for international students and local university students alike. This year, MISA will once again feature a performance by each one of these groups, including a gala concert from the summer camp. One major change from previous years is that this year’s MISA 8th is generously supported by Shanghai Pharmaceutical Holding (SPH). We believe that MISA’s success owes itself both to the organizations responsible for driving cultural development in Shanghai as well as each and every audience member who has participated in the event over the last eight years. We are grateful for everyone’s support as we look forward to taking the event further this year.