A harmonious way to ring in 2008 is to attend the New Year's concert at the 10,000-seat Great Hall of the People under the baton of conductor Zubin Mehta. The world-famous conductor is known for four New Year's concerts in Vienna. But Mehta is no stranger to China, having visited the country six times.
Leading the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, he will open the show with a score called Olympic Fanfare to mark the start of the year of the Olympic Games in Beijing. Other works would include Anton Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 From the New World, Johann Strauss II's Where Lemon Trees Bloom and Edward Strauss's Ohne Bremse Polka Schnell Op. 238, organizers say.
Metha, originally from Mumbai, has been the conductor of the Israel Philharmonic since 1991. Previously, he led the New York Philharmonic (1978-91), the Los Angeles Philharmonic (1962-78) and the Montreal Symphony (1961-67).
His musical career has been a long series of "firsts". He was the youngest man to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic, the youngest to become music director of a major American orchestra, and also the first and only music director of the Israel Philharmonic. His debut in London, on the night of Sir Thomas Beecham's death, was the first time any person from the former dominion of India had appeared with a major British orchestra.
The performers will spend four days in China, playing in Shenzhen and Shanghai before coming to Beijing for their tour's last show. The Beijing performance will have a touch of Chinese musicality, with works such as Ode to the Red Flag, a symphony written by Chinese composer Lv Qiming on the program.
Mehta had also collaborated with Chinese film director Zhang Yimou on a stage production of Puccini's Turandot, which debuted in Florence and was later staged eight times in Beijing's Forbidden City.
On December 31, 8 pm. At the Great Hall of the People.
Concert booking is available by calling 9609-6260. 200-2,800 yuan.
(Beijing Weekend December 29, 2007)