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Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony

BBC Symphony Orchestra/Wong

Sayaka Shoji with her eyes closed, and circular blue swirls framing her head

Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony crowns an evening of music that speaks directly to the world around us, in the first London appearance by conductor Kahchun Wong.

No composer works in a vacuum. Shostakovich called his mighty Fifth Symphony 'a Soviet artist’s response to just criticism', but in truth he was fighting for his freedom, and perhaps his very life. Two Japanese masterworks – both written in response to events in the wider world – offer a mirror and a contrast to this great Russian epic.

So Toru Takemitsu mourns a beloved teacher in his haunting wordless Requiem. And Toshio Hosokawa offers up a Prayer for the world we see today – a scene of pandemic and war – in a striking new violin concerto that positions the violinist as shaman, mediating between the world and the cosmos. Violinist Sayaka Shoji takes that role tonight, as Kahchun Wong (soon to become chief conductor of the Hallé Orchestra) makes a very personal London debut.

The end time for this performance will be added closer to the performance date

Produced by BBC Symphony Orchestra

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