September started with a recording in the south of my home city, in the Friedrich-Ebert-Halle. This school auditorium is famous in the recording world (but unknown even to Hamburg citizens) and many famous pianists have recorded here, including Wilhelm Kempff, Ivo Pogorelich, Vladimir Horowitz, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Nelson Freire, and Maria Joao Pires. I was here for an unusual combination of harp and piano original repertoire, played by the Swiss virtuosi Praxedis Duo.
For the rest of the month and much of October I decided to take a long holiday, interspersed with some editing. In November there was a giant and exciting project planned in Shanghai, a work commissioned by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and its music director Long Yu. Émigré, composed by Aaron Zigman on a libretto by Mark Campbell, is a 90 minute cross between an opera and a musical and is based on the story of two Jewish brothers, Otto and Josef, who fled from Germany to Shanghai in the late 1930s. (Shanghai welcomed at least 25,000 Jews from central Europe despite the Japanese invasion.) Josef falls in love with Lina, a Chinese woman recovering from her loss of her mother in the Nanjing Massacre. The cast included Meiji Zhang, Diana Newman, Huiling Zhu, Matthew White, Arnold Geis, Andrew Dwan, Shengyang, and members of the New York Philharmonic Chorus with their chorus master Malcolm Merryweather. The week in Shanghai was hard work but fun, and as always we were well looked after by the staff of the SSO. The weeks following, up to shortly before Christmas, I spent editing so that Émigré was ready for the launch of Apple Music in China and for its release on Deutsche Grammophon coinciding with performances with the New York Philharmonic at the end of February.
- Long Yu
- Lang Lang
- Duo Praxedis