Above: the NCPA Orchestra with Maestro LÜ Jia
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 NCPA Orchestra are sure to delight casual listeners and classical aficionados alike. This Week from China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts is designed to complement WFMT’s orchestral series and is available for broadcast starting in late December or at any time throughout the year.
Highlights of the series include:
- A focus on Beethoven’s symphonic works, beginning with his Symphony No. 6 in F Major (22-01) and concluding with the awe-inspiring Symphony No. 9 in D Minor with the exceptional NCPA Chorus (22-13);
- Two astounding piano soloists: the inimitable Lang Lang performing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto (22-11), and 2021 Chopin Competition winner Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu playing Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major (22-04);
- Audience-centered works such as Hideo Saito’s arrangement of the Bach Chaconne in D Minor (22-10), waltzes by Glazunov (22-11) and Johann Strauss II (22-12), and the always-gorgeous tone poems of Debussy with La mer (22-09) and Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (22-08);
- Masterful compositions by Chinese composers, including HE and CHEN’s beautiful violin concerto The Butterfly Lovers (22-10), LI’s rousing Spring Festival Overture (22-07), XIAN’s stunning Yellow River Cantata for orchestra, chorus, and soloists (22-03), ZHAO Jiping’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (22-11), and two exceptional works by CHEN Qigang, L’éloignement for orchestra (22-06), and the enthralling Jiang Tcheng Tse (22-12), featuring elements of Peking Opera in an approachable and moving performance by acclaimed soprano Meng Meng;
- The familiar but often-underrepresented sounds of traditional Chinese instruments, featuring the erhu in a concert performance of TAN Dun’s powerful soundtrack to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (22-01), concertos for pipa (Chinese lute) in Little Sisters of the Grassland (22-05) and Flying Fairies of the Silk Road (22-08), the dizi (a traditional flute) in Julian YU’s Concerto on Chinese Themes (22-10), and an exciting trio of percussion soloists in XU Changjun’s Dragon Dance to round out the series.
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 in capital letters.