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Post-Event Press - Release Inbal & Shostakovich Offer Reflections on Justice

At a 13 March press conference, Eliahu Inbal, renowned conductor of the Taipei Symphony Orchestra (TSO), announced the orchestra programme and highlights for the 2023 spring and summer season. Also in attendance was Tsai Shih-ping, Commissioner of the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) at his first such conference, to show support for TSO.

Inbal began by telling the DCA, “TSO desperately needs its own concert hall.” Only by rehearsing in a proper concert hall, feeling the interplay between the musicians and the venue’s unique acoustics, can the orchestra develop its own sound. Director-General Tsai reassured the maestro that the Taipei Music Center and Library is under development, with completion expected in 2029.

Inbal explained why for his first concert with TSO in the first half of 2023 he chose Shostakovich’s 13th Symphony “Babi Yar”: he believes Shostakovich’s music is the most powerful statement against totalitarianism, injustice and oppression. The programming could be seen as his own response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Shostakovich was brave enough to be critical in his works while he was alive. But the works are not only critiques, but also reflections on human examination of history. They also carry hope,” he said.

As a musician, Inbal said, he too must learn from history.

“Humans will never be free from war. From the end of the Second World War until now, the world has with great difficulty maintained a strained stability, but that is now disintegrating.”

The conductor intends the performance to convey his thoughts on the current international situation and to express his concern for Taiwan’s international status.

On the subject of how an orchestra can be led to artistic excellence, Inbal said that orchestral rankings are not comparable to sports rankings because everyone has their own preferences. The most important thing is for the conductor and the orchestra to have sufficient rehearsal time to jointly develop a deeper sense of musicality and artistic creativity. This is also why he enjoys working with TSO.

In addition to performances of symphonies by Shostakovich and Bruckner, this season’s highlights will include romantic classics such as Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 and Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 “The Great”, as well as joint performances with violinists Alena Baeva and Baiba Skride, and pianist Lilya Zilberstein.

Baeva, first prize winner of the International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition, is a virtuoso with over 40 concertos in her repertoire, and her recordings are highly regarded by music critics. For this performance, she will present Mendelssohn’s original version of the Violin Concerto of 1844, which certainly merits hearing for its unique interpretation.

Fellow violinist Baiba Skride has been called “the most exciting violinist since Perlman” and “the successor to Anne-Sophie Mutter”. She will perform the Britten Violin Concerto, which even Heifetz proclaimed too difficult.

Virtuoso pianist Lilya Zilberstein, beloved of Taiwan audiences, will perform Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 with the TSO in Tapei and at the Hsinchu Performing Arts Center.

The first concert of the Master Series, “Inbal and Shostakovich No. 13,” will debut on 18 March at the National Concert Hall in Taipei and on 19 March at the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying). Inbal will conduct two epic works with deep connections to his Jewish heritage: Bloch’s “Schelomo” and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 “Babi Yar”. The concert will be performed by cellist Victor Coo, Russian bass Grigory Shkarupa and Müller Chamber Choir led by choir conductor Peng Meng-Hsien, together with over 120 TSO musicians. The rich orchestration and voices will create a stunningly powerful sound at the National Concert Hall and the Weiwuying Center for the Arts. Music fans of Taipei and Kaohsiung are warmly invited to come and experience it first hand.

“Schelomo” uses the rich, deep sound of the cello accompanied by the orchestra to portray the glory and spiritual journey of the biblical figure King Solomon. By contrast, “Babi Yar” is named after a historical tragedy, a Nazi massacre of Soviet Union Jews during the Second World War. The piece calls on humanity to reflect on history and learn the lessons of mutual help and love. 

Both these works are rarely performed in Taiwan. Through the glory and suffering of the Jewish people, they invite the audience to reflect on the essence of humanity and the true meaning of peace. This performance is Eliahu Inbal’s heartfelt message to Taiwanese audiences.

“I’m delighted to collaborate with the TSO as their laureate conductor and work on larger-scale 20th-century musical works,” Inbal said. 

“Shostakovich’s music evokes the people’s resistance to tyranny and their yearning for freedom and justice, while Bruckner’s music brings solace and hope to humanity. I’m looking forward to performing these great works for fans and audiences and I hope everyone will come and enjoy this season of warm and passionate music.”


For information on performances and to purchase tickets, visit the TSO website or OPENTIX.


Appendix: Concert Information for 2023 TSO Master Series 

“Eliahu Inbal and Shostakovich No. 13”

18 March 2023 

Saturday, 19:30 

National Concert Hall


19 March 2023 

Sunday, 19:00 

National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying)


Cello: Victor Coo

Bass: Grigory Shkarupa

Choir conductor: Peng Meng-Hsien

Müller Chamber Choir


Ernest Bloch, Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque for Violoncello and Orchestra, B.39

Dmitri Shostakovich, Symphony No. 13 in B-flat minor, Op. 113, “Babi Yar”



“Eliahu Inbal and Alena Baeva”

31 March 2023 

19:30, Friday

Zhongzheng Auditorium, Zhongshan Hall


Violin: Alena Baeva


Felix Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 (1844 version)

Johannes Brahms, Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68



“Eliahu Inbal & Lilya Zilberstein”

13 April 2023 

19:30, Thursday

National Concert Hall


15 April 2023 

19:30, Saturday 

Hsinchu Performing Arts Center


Piano: Lilya Zilberstein


Johannes Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15

Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 3 in D minor, WAB 103 (1873 version)



“Eliahu Inbal & William Wei”

28 April 2023 

19:30, Friday

National Concert Hall


Violin: William Wei


Sergey Prokofiev, Violin Concerto No.1 in D Major, Op.19 

Schubert, Symphony No. 9 in C major, D.944, “The Great”