Suzhou Symphony Orchestra

The Suzhou Symphony Orchestra (SZSO), the first professional orchestra in Suzhou, co-founded by the City of Suzhou and the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), officially greets the world on the shores of Jinji Lake on November 18, 2016. 

The 66 musicians of the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra come from 17 countries and region, including China, United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Israel, Australia, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Morocco. With an average age of 30, it is a young orchestra composed of seasoned experts as well as youthful orchestral talents. The Suzhou Symphony Orchestra is headed by a first-rate team of administrators and musical leaders: General Manager Guangxian Chen, Music Director CHEN Xieyang, Principal Conductor XU Zhong, and Executive Director Katherine Chu.

The Suzhou Symphony Orchestra gave its inaugural concert on December 31, 2016, at the Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre Grand Theatre. Maestro CHEN Xieyang, Music Director of SZSO, led the orchestra with world-renowned violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, pipa player Zhao Cong, the Suzhou Ballet Theatre, the China National Symphony Orchestra Chorus, soloists Shu-ying Li, Fang Dong, Liming Chi and Heng Shi, in a program of musical tour-de-forces from both Chinese and Western orchestral repertoire.

The Suzhou Symphony Orchestra opened its 2017 Season with a concert performance of Die Fledermaus, under the baton of Maestro XU Zhong leading Israel's Bat Shir Choir and nine singers hailing from Italy, Russia, Israel, Latvia and Suzhou. 

Under the stewardship of Music Director, CHEN Xieyang and Principal Conductor XU Zhong, the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra has programmed a daring, illuminating and entertaining season: an “All Beethoven Cycle”, mini-series “Leipzig Tradition – Mendelssohn”, panorama of the major exponents of Romanticism from Schubert to Strauss and all the greats in between, and a sampling the Slavic masters from Dvořák to Tchaikovsky. The SZSO will co-produce the opera Aida with the Shanghai Opera House and Fuzhou Grand Theatre. Two ballets in collaboration with the Suzhou Ballet Theatre will also make history as Suzhou’s two professional performing arts groups unite their talents in fully staged productions of Romeo and Juliet and The Nutcracker. The SZSO will present and produce the first edition of the Suzhou Jinji Lake International Piano Competition, which promises to be a premier musical event for the city of Suzhou.

The SZSO embarks on its first international tour in August 2017 with performances of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 in Dieuze, France. And then Aida in Saarbrücken, Germany. The orchestra collaborates with the celebrated composer/conductor Tan Dun and the China Trio in Tan Dun’s Martial Art Trilogy at the SND Culture and Sports Centre and the Shanghai Disney Resort.

The SZSO is committed to education and community engagement and to that end it has conceived and implemented five projects targeting different segments of its audience, developing awareness and appreciation of classical music from the very root, including lecture series, school outreach programs, engagement programs with under-represented groups, eventually youth chamber music programs as well as a book series on arts appreciation.

The future home of the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra will be the Jinji Lake Concert Hall which is situated within the Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre. The internationally acclaimed acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota will lead his team of specialists in this project of architectural ingenuity and acoustical marvel. Upon its completion, projected for June 2017, the Jinji Lake Concert Hall will join a distinguished list of the most state-of-the-art concert venues in the world.

Founded with the mission of bringing high-end classical music to the citizens of Suzhou while encouraging the union between traditional Suzhou culture and Western symphonic art, the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra is committed to become a culture ambassador for Suzhou, and a champion of the arts for Suzhou.