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The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1879 originally as the Shanghai Public Band, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) is the oldest established ensemble in Asia. In 1919, Italian pianist Mario Paci became its conductor and expanded the ensemble into a full-scale orchestra, which was renamed in 1922 as the Shanghai Municipal Council Symphony Orchestra. It cooperated with the most distinguished musicians of its day and established a reputation before the Second World War as "the best in the Far East." After 1949, the orchestra changed its name several times and took its current name in 1956. Distinguished conductors and soloists of have collaborated with the SSO in the past two decades, among them John Nelson, Muhai Tang, Tan Dun, Gil Shaham, Cho-Liang Lin, Lu Siqing, Yo-Yo Ma, Jian Wang, and Yundi Li.