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Founded in 1981, the Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra (KSO) underwent steady growth under Mazer’s musicianship and later underwent further expansion.  In 1991, the orchestra was renamed the Kaohsiung City Experimental Symphony Orchestra, a change toward a professional orchestra.  Violinist, Pang-Hsiang Hsiao was appointed maestro in 1993, and Shu-Si Chen succeeded as the General Director of the orchestra in 1999; in 2000, KSO became the in-residence orchestra in the Kaohsiung Music Center during Mayor Frank Hsieh’s term in the office  and was officially re-named the Kaohsiung City Symphony Orchestra.  In July 2007, Hung-Chang Chu was publically selected as the general director of the orchestra and in April 2009, the Kaohsiung City Symphony Orchestra and the Kaohsiung Chinese Orchestra were merged by Mayor Chen Chu as Kaohsiung Philharmonic Culture and Arts Foundation to enhance its functions, with Shih Che, the Director-general of the Cultural Affairs Bureau, as the president.  In January 2011, Chih-Chin Yang was appointed as the maestro of  the KSO.

 

For the past few years, the KSO has collaborated with considerable world-renowned artists and groups, including conductor Zdenek Macal, Erich Kunzel, George Fenton, Chrsitoph Poppen, Chiu-Shen Chen, Tsao Pen, Wen-Pin Chien, Kang-Ming Chen, Tomomi Nishimoto, Mei-Ann Chen, tenor Jose Carreras, Russell Watson, Hayley, the Canadian soprano- Natalie Choquette, violinist Shlomo Mintz, Ryu Goto, Reiko Watanabe, Akiko Suwanai, Ilya Gringotls, Mayuko Kamio, Cho-Liang Lin, Nai-Yuan Hu, Xiao- Cao Sha, Keng-Yuen Tseng, Salvatore Accardo, Rafael Gintoli, Sayaka Shoji and Anne Akiko Meyers, cellist Mischa Maisky and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, one of the most influential contemporary pianist Ivo Pogorelich, “Pianist-Poet” Fu Tsong, “Genius Pianist” Yundi Li, Alicia Terzian, Lukas Vondracek , Chen Sa, Meng-Chieh Liu, Piano Prodigy- Niu Niu, Jazz pianist Makoto Ozone, 2008 International Franz List Piano Competition Second prize winner Nino Gvetadze, the Swedish guitarist of the neo-classical genre- Yngwie Johann Malmsteen, the best Trumpetist of the world Sergie Nakariakov, the world renown Russian pianist- Andrei Gavrilov , the Gold Medal at the 2011 XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition- Narek Hakhnazaryan.  KSO has also performed with groups including the Canadian Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the English National Ballet, Ming Hwa Yuan Taiwanese Opera, Taiwan National Choir, Suzho Science & Culture Arts Center’s Ballet, Neo-Classic Dance Company, and Kaohsiung City Ballet.  In 2008, the KSO was invited to tour Nanking, Shanghai, Qingdao, Suzhou and Singapore, andwas also invited to perform at the presidential inaugural ceremony  of Taiwan and the World Games 2009 Kaohsiung.

 

Under director Chu’s leadership, the orchestra has been active in cross-pollination collaboration with diverse groups in hopes of expanding the dynamics of classical music.  Prominent works including a major production of the “Legend of the White Snake” with Ming Hwa Yuan Arts and Cultural Group (a Taiwanese Opera theatrical troupe) , “Zdenek Macal’s Bravo Maestro” , Tan Dun’s “Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon”, the joint production of BBC and Discovery’s “Blue Planet”, “Warner Brothers’ Bugs Bunny at the Symphony”, indigenous musical “ On The Road”,  Makoto Ozone’s George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue Jazz Concert, “Romeo and Juliet” Ballet with Suzho Science & Culture Arts Center’s Ballet Company, The 50th year anniversary of the debut of “The Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto”, “Love Songs of the Mandarin and Taiwanese” concerts, “Video Games Live Concert”, “Messiah”, “ May Day Band” live concerts, to name a few, drawing a large number of music lovers.  2012 KSO performed in two grassland concerts featuring twomost memorable movies scenes from “The Lord of the Rings” and “Seediq Bale” for the Kaohsiung Spring Arts Festival.  The orchestra had also been presented in the grassland concert of “The Planet and Orbit – an HD Odyssey” in the annual Festival, gaining remarkable reputation from all sides.  

 

In addition to its seasonal performances, the KSO also shoulders the responsibility of cultural education, regularly visiting schools and communities to perform indoor/outdoor concerts, chamber and solo works.  KSO does so by sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for music with students and communities, introducing classical music  and fostering meaningful relationships between with the community.  The KSO has developed its great popularity by its diversified programming and performing styles.