China NCPA Orchestra
China NCPA Orchestra is the resident orchestra of 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 2012, succeeding Zuohuang Chen, the current Conductor Laureate, NCPA’s Music Director and also one of the founders of the orchestra. LÜ Jia has been appointed as NCPA’s Artistic Director of Music and Music Director of China NCPA Orchestra since 2017. Ding Yuan was named as Assistant Conductor in 2012.
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 Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Gunter Herbig, Leif Segerstam, Shao-Chia Lü, Muhai Tang, Xian Zhang, Gilbert Varga, Lang Lang, Stephen Kovacevich, Leo Nucci, Jian Wang, Gautier Capucon, Yuja Wang and Han-Na Chang, among many others. Maestro Lorin Maazel worked closely with the orchestra before his passing and praised the musicians for their “amazing professionalism and great passion in music”. After working with the orchestra 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 the first six years since its establishment, China NCPA Orchestra has become one of the leading ensembles in the country both on stage and in the pit, gaining critical acclaim for its performances in NCPA’s many opera productions. To date they have played for over 30 new productions, including not only classical repertoire works such as Tosca, The Barber of Seville, Die Fledermaus, Lohengrin, Aida, Otello, Nabucco, but also newly commissioned works The Chinese Orphan, Rickshaw Boy and The Visitor from the Ice Mountains. In its own orchestral concert season, the orchestra has consistently presented creative and diverse programmes, including a remarkable Beethoven Project under the baton of LÜ Jia, in 2013. Their performance of the mammoth Ring Without Words with its creator, Lorin Maazel, was released on SONY Classics worldwide, the only recording the great maestro ever made with a Chinese orchestra
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 John Admas, Toru Takemitsu and Giya Kancheli, it gave the world premieres of more than ten substantial new orchestral works commissioned by the NCPA, written by composers from across the globe including Michael Gordon, Augusta Read Thomas, Kalevi Aho, Joby Talbot and Jiping Zhao. 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.
The NCPA Orchestra has flexed its wings on the international stage with high-profile touring work, receiving widespread international praise for its performances. From 2012 to 2015, the orchestra was invited by Kissingen Summer Music Festival and Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, and made its German tour continued with concerts in Nürnberg, Hamburg and Berlin. It also gave performances in Sydney, Singapore, Seoul, Daegu, Taipei and Macau. During the 2014/15 season, the orchestra undertook its first North American tour, where it performed in 7 major cities in the US and Canada, under the baton of LÜ Jia. This was not only a milestone for this young ensemble, but also a breakthrough for any Chinese orchestra performing abroad. Musical America praised the orchestra for its “joyful confidence and youthful strength”. Concerto Net described it as “a polished, first rate ensemble”.
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.
The 16/17 season has 'Music Speaks' as its central theme, featuring concerts conducted by LÜ Jia, Myung-Whun Chung, Shao-Chia Lü, Claus Peter Flor, Pavel Kogan, Hannu Lintu, Muhai Tang, Yi Zhang, Biao Li, with soloists Kyung-Wha Chung, Gautier Capucon, Henning Kraggerud, Jian Wang, Man Wu, Haochen Zhang, Sa Chen, Li-Wei Qin, Tianwa Yang, Feng Ning, Wei Wu and many others. Renowned composer Qigang Chen and pianist Yuja Wang, both as this season's Artist-in-Residence, has lead a number of concerts as well as educational projects. The orchestra has also performed in fifteen NCPA opera productions including Tannhauser, Rusalka.
Conductor: Jia LU