The Shanghai Concert Hall, formerly known as the Nanjing Grand Theatre, opened in 1930. Being the first concert hall in all of China, it was renamed Beijing Cinema in 1950, and again the Shanghai Concert Hall in 1959. The Nanjing Grand Theatre was the first building of western classical style designed and built by Chinese architects in Shanghai. The task was led by Fan Wenzhao, himself the first Chinese designer to return from studying overseas. In 2002, in order to allow for the renovation of Shanghai’s old city and the construction of the park below Yan’an Elevated Road, engineers undertook a daunting task as part of a renovation and expansion project, moving the entire building 66.4 metres to the southeast. It reopened to the public in 2004.
The track is called Shanghai Blue because of the wonderfully warm and relaxing shade of paint on the ceiling of the hall and also because Shanghai is proud of itself as a place that accepting of new and creative ideas. That’s how the city felt to me as I explored Shanghai’s many aspects during my stay.
The central violin piece is written and performed by London-based musician and composer Midori Komachi, and it reflects the serene beauty of this magnificent space. I imagined some of the micro sounds of that amazing feat with electrical pulses and clicks representing the hydraulic systems used. The track also features the sound of a mobile phone gaming app, as played by a taxi driver en route to the concert hall.