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China meets Russia with two guest artists and two great works

Two guest musicians from China join the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra for a concert highlighting Tchaikovsky Nov. 12.

The concert will be led by guest conductor Zhonghui Dai, chief conductor of the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor of the Tianjin Symphony Orchestra, and features “Variations on a Rococo Theme, op. 33” and Symphony No. 4, op. 36 in F minor. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. at the Koger Center.

“As a composer Tchaikovsky is one of my favorites,” Zhonghui Dai. “I do love very much his beautiful and passionate melody and the energy inside of his music. ‘Rococo Variations’ for cello is an amazing piece musically and technically for the instrument.” The soloist for the Variations will be Jiapeng Nie. He and the conductor met when the cellist was a student in China but this will be the first time the two have performed together.

Zhonghui Dai is professor of trumpet at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and has performed at the National Performing Arts Grand Theatre, Beijing Concert Hall, Forbidden City Concert Hall and other major venues in China with performances broadcast on the national television network of China. He has also conducted and given master classes in the United States, France, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Zhonghui Dai studied at the International University in San Diego and the School of Music at the University of Southern California and was awarded a fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute where he studied and collaborated with Seiji Ozawa and Simon Rattle.

The conductor comes to Columbia at the invitation of orchestra Music Director Donald Portnoy who last year led master classes at the Central Conservatory.

Jiapeng Nie studied in his native China, at the Morningside Music Bridge international exchange in Canada, the Höchschüle für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, Germany and the International Great Mountains Music Festival & School in South Korea. He has performed with orchestras throughout the world and lives in Germany. He recently performed with the acclaimed pianist Bruno Canino at the Emilia Romagna Festival in Italy, with the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra and gave several concerts with a piano trio in Beijing.

USC Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 12 at the Koger Center. Tickets are $30 for the general public, $25 for USC faculty and staff and seniors, and $8 for students. Call (803) 251-2222 or go to Capitol Tickets.