In spite of its coastal location and proximity to Hong Kong, Shenzhen does not exactly have a reputation for being a bastion of cultural enlightenment. A big reason for this is that many of Shenzhen’s residents are immigrants from other, poorer provinces outside of Guangdong and can be a bit, well, provincial. For instance, when Shenzhen Concert Hall opened its doors with a series of free performances of classical music in 2007, audiences were not prepared for periods of uninterrupted sitting and respectful hand clapping. Instead, many shuffled in 30 minutes after the show began, some with disruptive young children and even cell phones, which prompted conductor Yu Feng to lay down his baton twice before resuming the performance. Luckily, such disruptions were mere growing pains for a city whose “highbrow” culture could today be considered underrated. Rather than look wistfully to Shanghai, Beijing, or Guangzhou, Shenzhen’s expats need only look beneath their own feet to unearth some wonderful performance venues.
Shenzhen Grand Theatre 深圳大剧院View In Map
Shenzhen has a number of places to listen to a concert. The oldest of these venues is Shenzhen Grand Theatre, which was opened way back in 1989, before there was much of anything else in Shenzhen. It was refurbished in 2006. Despite its name, Shenzhen Grand Theatre is more than mere theatre, and is described as a “multifunctional, modern, and comprehensive cultural site combining arts, song and dance shows, cultural tours and leisure.” Its theatre hall seats 1199 people and its concert hall 612. Shenzhen’s own Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra, formed in 1982, performs here. Tickets to one of their performances will cost between 60 and 300 RMB.
Add: 5018 Shennan Donglu, Luohu District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755 89812344/11185, 2590 6000
Shenzhen Concert Hall 深圳音乐厅View In Map
If listening to the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra isn’t enough, then head to Shenzhen Concert Hall in Futian. Designed by the famous Japanese avant-garde architect Arata Isozaki, both the acoustics and the architecture of this building are world class. The main stage is the canyon-terraced Symphony Hall, which has 1,680 seats. There is also the 629 square meter Theatre Studio, which is a three storey auditorium that can expand from 400 to 580 seats. Interestingly Shenzhen Concert Hall boasts Shenzhen’s only pipe organ, which was produced in Austria. On April 17, legendary Chinese pianist Fu Ts’ong, who in the 1960’s was hailed by Time Magazine as “one of China’s greatest contemporary musicians,” performed a tribute to Romantic French composer and pianist, Frederic Chopin. Other notable artists to have passed through Shenzhen Concert Hall since its opening in 2007 include Zubin Mehta, Tan Dun, Gidon Kremer and Lang Lang.
Tickets for performances usually start at just over 100RMB and rise quickly thereafter.
Shenzhen Concert Hall is located across from Book City in Futian.
Add: 2016 Fuzhong Yilu, Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755 8284 1888
Shenzhen Poly Theatre 深圳保利剧院View In Map
In 2008, after three years of construction, the Beijing-based Poly Group finished construction on Shenzhen Poly Theatre. With 15,000 seats, three terraces, and eight balconies, Poly Theater represents one more step towards sophistication for Shenzheners. Since opening, Poly Theater has hosted a number of different concerts and musicals, including the acclaimed show Cats. This April brought a performance from the Guangzhou Acrobatics Troupe titled Journey to the West, as well as a reenactment of Shakespeare’s Macbeth by England’s TNT Theatre Troup. Tickets for most performances start at 60 RMB.
Add: Intersection of Houhaibin Lu and Wenxin Wulu, Nanshan District, Shenzhen
Tel: 0755-86371698, 86371699
C:UnionView In Map
Many of Shenzhen’s clubs have cover bands or other forms of live music, but they tend to be unremarkable. The big exception to this is C:Union in OCT (Overseas Chinese Town), which plays host both to foreign and local acts, many of which are very interesting. To give you an example, C:Union’s house band features a mandolin player from Kazakhstan as well as a guitarist who played with Radiohead in Hong Kong in 1994. For those craving art in general, the OCT-Loft area is an excellent area to explore the works of Shenzheners more interested in creating art than earning money. Local performances at C:Union are often free, while foreign acts will charge a cover that might reach one hundred RMB.
Add: F3 Block, Enping Road, Oversea Chinese Town, Nanshan
Tel: 135 3751 9985
Also in OCT is Liangcha Shop, a mini art space created for artists to experiment with electronic music and avant garde art.View In Map
Add: F3 Block,OCT-LOFT,Enping Road,Oversea Chinese Town, Shenzhen
地址: 深圳市山区恩平街华侨城创意文化园OCT-LOFT F3栋,LSD对面
To view upcoming performances at any of these venues, check the Shenzhen Upcoming Events section.
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