Strings festival, a happy gathering for fans

Writer: Debra Li  | Editor: Doria Nan  | From:  | Updated: 2018-August-9

About 200 strings learners, mostly local students, have enrolled in the first strings festival organized by the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra (SZSO) this summer.


Qin Liwei


Cellist Qin Liwei has signed on as artistic director of the festival, scheduled between Aug. 15 and 20.

Other well-known strings players including Alejandro Drago, Eliseu Sliva, Joseph Elworthy and Ole Bohn will perform at concerts, give lectures and master classes, and tutor students as they rehearse in orchestra.


Alejandro Drago


Eliseu Sliva


The opening concert, to be held at the Mixc World theater in Nanshan District, will feature violinists Drago, Bohn and Sliva, cellists Elworthy and Nie Jiapeng and others. The program will include Paganini’s “Variations on ‘I Palpiti,’” “Vocalise No. 14” by Rachmaninoff and Bruch’s “Kol Nidrei.”

Then, on the evening of Aug. 17, a string quartet concert will feature four Shenzhen artists headlined by SZSO concert master Zhang Jingting, at the orchestra’s venue in Luohu District. On Aug. 19, pianist and conductor Huang Zulin will collaborate with violinists Drago, Bohn and Sliva, cellist Elworthy, and violist Liu Hongyan to perform works of Shostakovich, Mendelssohn and Schumann.

The closing concert at Shenzhen Grand Theater on Aug. 20 will be performed by the youth orchestra attached to SZSO. The program familiar to the public will include Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” Mozart’s beloved “Eine kleine Nachtmusik” (meaning “a little serenade”) and “Dance of the Yao Tribe.”

Cellist Qin, a familiar name to local music fans, is a soloist and a chamber musician. A silver medal winner at the 11th Tchaikovsky International Competition, he also won first prize at the prestigious 2001 Naumburg Competition in New York City. Currently a professor at the YST Conservatory of the National University of Singapore, he plays a 1780 Joseph Guadagnini cello.

Elworthy, a soloist and chamber music performer, is executive director of the Vancouver Academy of Music where he also serves as head of the Cello Department. A pupil of Aldo Parisot, he was awarded the Aldo Parisot Prize — the highest honor issued by Yale University to a graduating cellist. Also a member of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, he plays on a rare Ferdinando Gagliano circa 1760 that once belonged to the legendary German cellist Hugo Becker.

A native of Argentina, Drago is a violin and viola professor with the Department of Music at University of North Dakota. Apart from being a soloist and pedagogue, he is also known for his authoritative research on tango music.

Born in Oslo in 1945, Bohn is regarded one of Norway’s leading violinists, and has toured in a large number of countries in Europe, Asia and America. His repertoire includes both classical compositions and contemporary music. Among his recordings is the first performance of Elliott Carter’s “Violin Concerto,” which won the 1994 Grammy Award for best classical contemporary composition. Several composers, including Johan Kvandal, Niels Viggo Bentzon and Noel Lee, have dedicated their works to Bohn.

Subsidized by government funds, the event wishes to help strings lovers to hone their skills and broaden their horizons by learning face to face with masters.