With new sounds in the beginning of the concert to the tried and true of the Western canon, the Shanghai Symphony’s debut at Wolf Trap was a wonderful snapshot of its musical history and tradition.
“A Happy Excursion” had a fitting companion in Tchaikovsky’s emotive “Pathétique” Symphony. The [New York] Philharmonic musicians can probably play this overprogrammed piece in their sleep; in the past, it has occasionally felt as if they were doing just that. But under Mr. Yu’s baton, they summoned surprising extremes, leavened occasionally with the brisk lightness of a Tchaikovsky ballet.
Though [Isaac Stern] died at age 81 in 2001, his spirit lives on in the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition, a bi-annual international violin competition to be held starting Aug. 10 with winners to be announced on Sept. 1. The $100,000 first prize is the largest in the world for a violin competition.
Michael Landers and Ariel Hsing, table tennis champions in their early 20s, are featured as the Ping-Pong-playing soloists in Andy Akiho’s energetic concerto “Ricochet,” which will have its American premiere on Tuesday as part of the Philharmonic’s Lunar New Year gala. And yes, this is the first time a Ping-Pong table has been onstage at David Geffen Hall.