Strings: Shanghai Orchestra Academy Taps International Principal Players in Cutting-Edge Curriculum

Cristina Schreil

The Shanghai Orchestra Academy (SOA) launched in 2014, offering professional training along with a master’s degree in music curriculum (from the nearby Shanghai Conservatory of Music). There is a heavy emphasis on internships with professional orchestras. The academy is also a joint effort between the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and Germany’s NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester. Principals comprise the faculty. The rigorous two-year program is the brainchild of Chinese maestro Long Yu. While SOA is international, its origins are very much homegrown. It rose from a booming classical-music movement sweeping China: In the past 20 years, the number of Chinese orchestras jumped from around ten to 72. Naturally, this proliferation demands skilled players. Maestro Yu dreamed of an epicenter for training the next generation.

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