It was the SSO’s third tour of China in five years, performing seven concerts in 12 nights, and the first for chief conductor David Robertson, who took over earlier this year from maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Managing director Rory Jeffes said he was delighted with the audiences—both in terms of numbers and their enthusiasm—including selling out the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing.
‘It’s clear that the SSO has an increasing band of loyal supporters in the major cities,' he said.
Taking 102 musicians to seven-cities on a two-week tour is a huge logistical effort that requires a great deal of planning and support.
‘Life on the road for my team is 16-hour days, the exciting challenge of new venues and their crews,’ says the SSO Production Manager, Laura Daniel.
‘We’re bumping 63 boxes in and out of every venue, which requires careful planning because every concert hall is different.’
The SSO runs a music talent exchange program, and while in China held workshops and one-on-one masterclasses with aspiring musicians in Beijing, led by second violin Shuti Huang, cellist Fenella Gill, principal viola Roger Benedict and principal double bass Alex Henery.
‘I think it’s important for us to be giving to the community that we’re visiting by offering these free masterclasses and workshops’, Director of Learning and Engagement, Kim Waldock, said.
Its cultural exchange program in China is a true exchange—one where the SSO not only teaches, but also learns the skills of Chinese-raised musicians. The orchestra already has Chinese members and last year hosted musicians from Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou in Sydney.