President, China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts
On the occasion of the 35th anniversary of thediplomatic relations between China and the United States, as well as the successful conclusion of the 2013/14 China-Canada Cultural Series program,China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) Orchestra,led by its Chief Conductor LüJia, sets off on its historic first tour to the United States and Canada.
As one of China’s most dynamic orchestras, the NCPA Orchestra, formed of some of the nation’s finest young musicians, is excited to interact with their friends and audiences from North Americanduring this tour and celebrate their shared passion for music and friendship.
While embracing rapid economic growth, China also attaches great importance to the thriving of culture and arts. As a great example of China’s renewed passion and effort in culture and arts since its reform and opening-up, the NCPA has created enormous opportunities for both established and emerging Chinese artists to transform their artistic aspirations into substantial presentations, and successfully extend its reach to international collaboration and achieved acclamation from its global partners. For seven years since its establishment, NCPA has been working “for the people, for thearts and for the world”, as its motto says, enhancing cooperation with renowned institutions of performing arts across the world. Resident orchestras of landmark concert halls that the NCPA Orchestra will visit during this tour, including Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Washington’s National Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and Canada’s NAC Orchestra, have all presented their fascinating performances on the NCPA stage before. Therefore, this North American Tour is also a reciprocal visit to respond to the good will of thesefriendly partners.
Music knows no boundary, and beautiful melodies will draw the people of the United States and Canadacloser to Chinese culture. I sincerely believe that this Tour will bring China-US and China-Canada cultural exchange to a new high, and leave brilliant marks in the memories of the people in these three countries. Hereby, on behalf of the NCPA, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the arts institutions and partners for your great efforts to make this Tour a reality. I wish the North American Tour of the NCPA Orchestraa complete success.
China NCPA Orchestra
Chief Conductor: LÜ Jia
Conductor Laureate: Chen Zuohuang
China NCPA Orchestra is the resident orchestra of the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Beijing. Established in March 2010, the orchestra consists of highly accomplished musicians from around the world, who perform in more than a dozen opera productions presented by its home venue each year as well as in ballets and regular orchestral concerts in its own season. With a notably busy schedule, the young ensemble has fast established itself as one of the most adventurous and dynamic orchestras in the country. Lü Jia took up the post of Chief Conductor in February 2011, succeeding Chen Zuohuang, the current Conductor Laureate, NCPA’s Music Director and also one of the founders of the orchestra. Yuan Ding was appointed Assistant Conductor in the same year.
The NCPA Orchestra demonstrates an abiding commitment to the highest levels of artistic excellence and takes pride in its long-term collaborations with the finest musicians of our time. Artists associated with the orchestra in the past two years have included Lorin Maazel, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Gunter Herbig, Gilbert Varga, Lang Lang, Stephen Kovacevich, Leo Nucci, Yuja Wang and Han-Na Chang, among many others. Maestro Lorin Maazel praised the orchestra for its “amazing professionalism and great passion in music”. After working with them in a series of concerts and the NCPA’s new production of La Traviata in June 2010.Maestro Christoph Eschenbach also declared it “one of the finest orchestras in Asia”.
In 2011 alone, the first season after its establishment, China NCPA Orchestra gained critical acclaim for its performances in NCPA’s new productions of Tosca (directed by Giancarlo Del Monaco), The Barber of Seville (co-produced with Castleton Festival), Die Fledermaus, and a newly commissioned opera The Chinese Orphan. In addition, the orchestra also played a key part in NCPA’s 2011 Gustav Mahler Project, performing his Symphonies No. 1, 2, 3, 8 and 10 under the batons of Christoph Eschenbach, Yoel Levi, Jun Maerkl and Chen Zuohuang respectively. These were followed by performance of two Wagner operas in 2012, in their Chinese premieres, Der fliegende Holländer and Lohengrin. Most recently in 2013, the orchestra presented varied programmes marking major anniversaries of Wagner, Verdi and Britten, including a performance
of the mammoth Ring without Words under the baton of its creator, Lorin Maazel. It continues to build on important partnerships with prominent musicians such as Mehta, Eschenbach, Ashkenazy, Placido Domingo .
Another important field of work that the orchestra has explored extensively in the short period of time since its establishment is the creation and promotion of contemporary music. Having presented the Chinese premieres of major works by Toru Takemitsu and Giya Kancheli, in 2013 it gave the world premieres of ten substantial new orchestral works commissioned by the NCPA, written by composers from across the globe including Michael Gordon, Augusta Read Thomas, Kalevi Aho, and Joby Talbot. It has also played a major role in the NCPA's annual Young Composers Programme, providing a unique platform nurturing the next generation of Chinese composers.
Most recently, the NCPA Orchestra has flexed its wings on the international stage with high-profile touring work, receiving widespread international praise for its performances. In 2012, the orchestra was invited by Kissingen Summer Music Festival and Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, and its first German tour continued with concerts in Nürnberg, Hamburg and Berlin, followed by appearances at the Sydney Opera House. In 2013, the orchestra undertook its first Asian tour with concerts in Singapore, Seoul and Macau. During the 2014/15 season, the orchestra will participate in NCPA's opera productions including Eugene Onegin, Aida and Cavalleria Rusticana, as well as appearing on concert stage with conductors and soloists such as Lu Jia, Zubin Mehta, Christoph Eschenbach, Myun-Whung Chun, Anthony Wit, Lang Lang, Jian Wang and Yuja Wang. The orchestra will also embark on its very first North American tour, under the baton of its Chief Conductor Lü Jia.
With its commitment to educational and outreach activities, the Orchestra has presented a series of Weekend Matinee Concerts at its home venue since its establishment. With specially selected programmes and accessible ticket prices, these have become extremely popular with Beijing audiences new to classical music. Current plans in this context include a new series highlighting the Beethoven symphony cycle, led by its Chief Conductor, Lü Jia. In addition, the Orchestra frequently initiates wide-reaching educational projects in association with educational institutions across the city.