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Taipei City Goverment

City News

Taipei Symphony Orchestra Marks 50th Anniversary with Exhibition and More

* To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Taipei Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is holding a series of special events, including the TSO 50th Anniversary Exhibition, which will run until May 22 on the second floor of Zhongshan Hall. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey across five eventful decades.

Established in 1969, TSO is part of the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs’ Taipei City Symphony Orchestra. Over the course of half a century, Taipei City has grown a symphony orchestra of international stature. The TSO 50th Anniversary Exhibition offers snapshots of stage successes at home and abroad as well as glimpses at the blood, sweat, and tears that are spent backstage to make it all happen, from the early beginnings to this day. The exhibition’s two main story lines, Symphony of Time and Spaces Revisited, introduce the inner workings of the orchestra and all the dedication that goes into delivering its brilliant performances.

In 1969, when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, famously calling it “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” Taipei also took a small step by founding its very own city orchestra, which proved the first step of a long and celebrated journey. TSO has always been a darling of the public and critics alike, and has won the admiration and appreciation of music lovers around the globe. This is why the orchestra’s milestones coincide so often with historic events, as the documents and video fragments in the Symphony of Time corridor show.

The scenes displayed in the Spaces Revisited corridor offer glimpses into the orchestra’s daily operations and its transformation over time. From passionate posters, flyers, and tickets that many visitors will fondly remember, to models and costumes used for the opera Madame Butterfly, as well as the chairs used on stage. The waiting lobby displays items used backstage to prepare for concerts and shows today’s rehearsal rooms where the musicians gather to rehearse and discuss, which is where it all started.

Ranking among the most complicated activities in the history of human civilization, symphony orchestra performances can transport people across time and space. The presence and indeed participation of the audience has been a necessary ingredient for TSO during its semi centennial journey. This is why at this exhibition, photography and videography are not prohibited as other exhibitions, in order to help visitors to truly immerse themselves into the unique exhibition in this historic space, feel a sense of connection with the musical instruments and accessories on display, and be drawn into the photos and videos and feel part of the audience in those past moments that resonate to this day.

Besides the TSO 50th Anniversary Exhibition, the celebratory TSO 50th Anniversary Performance Series includes the Asian Orchestra Summit on May 18 and the TSO 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert on May 19. The orchestra’s musicians and fans are looking forward to another 50 years of musical milestones to be envisioned, and then reached!