Above: the NCPA Orchestra with Maestro Lü Jia
PLEASE NOTE: Playlists for this program can be found on the right-hand side of the WFMT Orchestra Series page! Please subscribe to the WFMT Orchestra Series on PRX by following the link on the right-hand sidebar.
This Week from China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts showcases the best-in-class musicianship of the orchestra of Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) and its affiliated programs in choral music, traditional Chinese forms, opera, and more. With a focus on presenting familiar Western masterworks alongside new and traditional Chinese composers, maestro LÜ Jia and the China NCPA Orchestra are sure to delight casual listeners and classical aficionados alike. This Week from China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts is a part of the WFMT Orchestra Series.
We travel to China to celebrate the Chinese New Year (February 10, 2024) with 4 programs from China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra! Each concert features Chinese composers alongside Western masterworks to showcase the beauty and power of music to cross continents and provide a shared musical language. The first program from China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts begins with Li Huanzhi’s rousing Spring Festival Overture, followed by Ravel’s Bolero and Ma Sicong’s Second Symphony. Listeners will be thrilled by pipa virtuoso Li Jia’s performance of the concerto Little Sisters of the Grassland, and the broadcast closes with Lü Jia conducting Brahms’s Symphony No. 3 (NCPA24-01 / WOS23-32). Highlights also include:
- Violinist Ning Feng performs Zhao Jiping’s beautiful violin concerto with the National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra, led by Lü Jia. Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 closes out the program, with Zhang Yi at the podium (NCPA24-02 / WOS23-33);
- Guo Wenjing’s Passacaglia for Orchestra is a work inspired by prehistoric rock paintings in ancient caves on Riyue Mountain. Li Biao leads the orchestra, painting a stunning tonal picture underpinned by a repeating phrase punctuated by deep drum hits and lush strings. Bruckner’s lyrical Seventh Symphony completes the program, conducted by Lü Jia (NCPA24-03 / WOS23-34);
- Based on an old melody by ancient composer Huan Yi, Chen Qigang’s Reflet d’un temps disparu is stunningly performed by cellist Gautier Capuçon. The program features lush and evocative works by Debussy and Berlioz before ending with Saint-Saëns’s beautiful Second Piano Concerto with Chen Sa as soloist (NCPA24-04 / WOS23-35);
China’s NCPA Orchestra is the resident orchestra of the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Beijing. Since its founding in 2010, the orchestra has fast established itself as one of the most adventurous and dynamic orchestras in the country and earned an international reputation through extensive performances abroad. Many world-renowned artists have collaborated with the orchestra, including Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Christoph Eschenbach, Rudolf Buchbinder, Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, Renee Fleming, and many others. Lorin Maazel worked closely with the orchestra before his passing and praised the musicians for their “amazing professionalism and great passion in music”. Christoph Eschenbach also declared it as “one of the finest orchestras in Asia”.
In February 2012, Lü Jia took up the post of Chief Conductor, succeeding Chen Zuohuang, NCPA’s then Artistic Director of Music as well as a founder of the orchestra. In January 2017, LÜ Jia started serving as NCPA’s Artistic Director of Music and the NCPA Orchestra’s Music Director.
Please Note: Chinese names use the family (last) name first, followed by the first name. Here, as in the listings, we follow the traditional order and provide the family name first.