China NCPA Orchestra

Date:2018-08-06      Source:National Centre for the Performing Arts

Font Size:   A   A   A
  • China NCPA Orchestra.jpg
  • China NCPA Orchestra.jpg

China NCPA Orchestra

Venue:Concert Hall
Dates:August 11-12,2018


In this concert, we will travel through time with maestro David Robertson, violaist Hsin-Yun Hunag, and pianist Orli Shaham to experience the changes that classical music has taken over in the past one hundred years.

In 1910, Stravinsky rose to fame overnight in Paris with the premiere of his ballet, The Firebird. The audience was astounded by the composer's manic and fierce musical language and amazed by its exceptional creativity. The composer has depicted a fantasy world with demons, princes, and firebirds so vividly with a kind of new and not quite harmonious musical style. After the success of The Firebird, Stravinsky came out with another major ballet masterpiece, Petrushka, in 1911. This time, the composer veered even further from the traditions of ballet music. Stravinsky used even more brutish harmony and tearing rhythm to show the grotesque nature, jealousy, and hatred of the puppets in the show. By using controversial methods, the composer managed to overturn 300 years of manners and courtesy in European music, and unleashed the wild power of music that had been inhibited throughout the years. The Parisian audience was shocked but soon realized that an auditory revolution had arrived. As an important link between The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, Petrushka helped Stravinsky venture ever further on the anti-tradition path, and cemented his personal style of this period of his career. In 1913, the composer strengthened his aggressive and rebellious composition style in The Rite of Spring, and a revolution was finally brewed in Paris.

Composers such as Alfred Schnittke, Bernstein, and John Adams each responded in their own way to the old order of things. In his Viola Concerto, Schnittke totally discarded the violin parts so as to let the viola stand out. Instead, he put a piano and a harpsichord in the place of first violin and second violin. Not only did Schnittke abandon violin, the cornerstone of any orchestra, he also cast as die the traditional tonality and replaced it with the twelve-tone technique to express “the struggle between spirit and morality” with jarring sounds. In Symphony No. 2, “the Age of Anxiety”, Bernstein broke away from the traditional structure of a symphony which consists four movements without any solo. Instead, he made it in two parts and six sections to be performed continually. He saluted Age of Anxiety, the epic poetry of W. H. Auden, with a half symphony, half piano concerto piece of music. John Adams, as a leading figure of the Minimalism movement, used extremely limited musical resources in repetition to topple traditional composition methods with music sentences that do not clearly move forward. He also challenged the basic logic of innovation. Minimalist composers represented by Adams not only deconstructed music, they also destroyed the original auditory intentions of chords in their daring march toward anti-progress.


August 11th
John Adams 
Short Ride in a Fast Machine

Alfred Schnittke
Viola Concerto
I. Largo
II. Allegro molto
III. Largo
Viola: Hsin-Yun Huang


Igor Stravinsky 
Petruschka (original version, 1911)
I. The Shrove-Tide Fair
II. Petruchka’s Cell
III. The Moor’s Cell
IV. The Shrove-Tide Fair (Towards Evening)
August 12th
John Adams
Short Ride in a Fast Machine
Leonard Bernstein 
Symphony No.2 (The Age of Anxiety)
Part 1
a. The Prologue: Lento moderato
b. The Seven Ages: Variations 1–7
c. The Seven Stages: Variations 8–14
Part 2
a. The Dirge: Largo
b. The Masque: Extremely Fast
c. The Epilogue: Adagio – Andante – Con moto
Pianist: Orli Shaham
Igor Stravinsky
Petruschka (original version, 1911)
I. The Shrove-Tide Fair
II. Petruchka’s Cell
III. The Moor’s Cell
IV. The Shrove-Tide Fair (Towards Evening)


David Robertson

David Robertson – conductor, artist, thinker, and American musical visionary – occupies some of the most prominent platforms on the international music scene. A highly sought-after podium figure in the worlds of opera, orchestral music, and new music, Robertson is celebrated worldwide as a champion of contemporary composers, an ingenious and adventurous programmer, and a masterful communicator whose passionate advocacy for the art form is widely recognized. A consummate and deeply collaborative musician, Robertson is hailed for his intensely committed music making.

Currently in his valedictory season as Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony, and his fifth season as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, he has served in artistic leadership positions at musical institutions including the Orchestre National de Lyon, and, as a protégé of Pierre Boulez, the Ensemble InterContemporain, which he led on its first North American tour. At the BBC Symphony Orchestra, he served as Principal Guest Conductor.

Robertson has served as a Perspectives Artist at Carnegie Hall, where he has conducted, among others, The Met Orchestra, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He appears regularly in Europe with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic, the Bayerische Rundfunk and the Dresden Staatskapelle, and at the Berlin Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the BBC Proms, and the Musica Viva Festival in Munich.

In March and April 2018, Robertson returned to The Metropolitan Opera to conduct the premiere of Phelim McDermott’s new production of Così Fan Tutte. Since his Met Opera debut in 1996, with The Makropulos Case, he has conducted a breathtaking range of Met projects, including the Met premiere of John Adam’s The Death of Klinghoffer (2014); the 2016 revival of Janáček’s Jenůfa, then its first Met performances in nearly a decade; the premiere production of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys (2013); and many favorites, from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro to Britten’s Billy Budd. Robertson has frequent projects at the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including La Scala, Théâtre du Châtelet, Bayerische Staatsoper (orchestra), the San Francisco Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera.

During his 13-year tenure with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Robertson has solidified the orchestra’s standing as one of the nation’s most enduring and innovative. His established and fruitful relationships with artists across a wide spectrum is evidenced by the orchestra’s ongoing collaboration with composer John Adams. The 2014 release of City Noir (Nonesuch) – comprising works by Adams performed by the SLSO – won the Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance. Robertson is the recipient of numerous musical and artistic awards, and in 2010 was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France.

Robertson is devoted to supporting young musicians and has worked with students at the festivals of Aspen, Tanglewood, Lucerne, at the Paris Conservatoire, the Juilliard School, Music Academy of the West, and the National Orchestra Institute. In 2014, he led the Coast to Coast tour of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the USA.

Born in Santa Monica, California, Robertson was educated at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he studied horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting. He is married to pianist Orli Shaham.


Hsin-Yun Huang Viola

Hsin-Yun Huang has forged a career as one of the leading violists of her generation. She has been soloist with the Berlin Radio Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic, Zagreb Soloists and the London Sinfonia, among many others. She performs regularly at festivals, including Marlboro, Spoleto, Rome, Santa Fe among many others. She was a member of the Borromeo String Quartet from 1994 to 2000.

She is active in commissioning works for solo viola and chamber ensemble. Her 2012 recording, Viola Viola, for Bridge Records, included commissions from Shih-Hui Chen and Steven Mackey, and works by Elliott Carter, Poul Ruders, and George Benjamin. Upcoming recording project include complete Solo Bach Violin Sonatas and Partitas on the Viola to be released in 2017.

A native of Taiwan, Ms. Huang first came to international attention as the gold medalist and youngest competitor in the 1988 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition. She was educated at the Menuhin School in UK prior to received degrees from The Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School. She and now serves on the faculties of both schools and lives in New York City.

Orli Shaham Pianist

A consummate musician recognized for her grace, subtlety and brilliance, Orli Shaham has established an impressive international reputation as one of today's most gifted pianists. Hailed by critics on four continents, Ms. Shaham is in demand for her prodigious skills and admired for her interpretations of both standard and modern repertoire. The New York Times called her a "brilliant pianist," The Chicago Tribune recently referred to her as “a first-rate Mozartean” in a performance with the Chicago Symphony, and London's Guardian said Ms. Shaham's playing at the Proms was “perfection."

Orli Shaham has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego and Utah symphony orchestras; and internationally with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bilbao Symphony, Filarmonica della Scala, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra della Toscana, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de Lyon, Stockholm Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the Taiwan Philharmonic. A frequent guest at summer festivals, she has performed at Aspen, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Bravo Vail, Caramoor, La Jolla, Mostly Mozart, Music Academy of the West, Ravinia, Spoleto, Sun Valley, Tanglewood, and Verbier music festivals.

Ms. Shaham has given recitals in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia at such renowned concert halls as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Chicago's Symphony Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Frankfurt's Alte Oper, and the Sydney Opera House, and has worked with many eminent conductors including Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Roger Norrington, Christopher Hogwood, David Robertson, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, Hans Graf and Jacques Lacombe among others. In performance she has collaborated with the pianists Emanuel Ax, Joseph Kalichstein, Jon Kimura Parker and Marc-Andre Hamelin, the cellist Lynn Harrell, the violinists Gil Shaham (her brother) and Phillip Setzer, and the sopranos Christine Brewer and Michelle DeYoung, among many others.

Concerto highlights of the 2017/18 season included performances with the Indianapolis Symphony (Michael Francis conducting), St. Louis Symphony (David Robertson conducting), Nashville Symphony (Giancarlo Guerrero conducting), Santa Rosa Symphony (Graeme Jenkins conducting), Bangor Symphony Orchestra (Lucas Richman conducting, and Orlando Philharmonic among others. Ms. Shaham continues to serve as the Artistic Director for Pacific Symphony’s chamber music series in Costa Mesa, California, a position she has held since 2007.

In addition to her activities on stage, Ms. Shaham gives frequent master classes and has served on the jury of numerous piano competitions, including the Cliburn International Junior, New York International, Sydney International, and Virginia Waring International piano competitions. Baby Got Bach, the interactive concert series for young children which Ms. Shaham launched in 2010 to immediate acclaim, is recognized by parents, media and the music community as a significant force in music education and entertainment for pre-schoolers.


China NCPA Orchestra

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 2012, succeeding CHEN Zuohuang, the current Conductor Laureate, NCPA’s then Artistic Director of Music as well as a founder of the orchestra. YUAN Ding was appointed Assistant Conductor in the same year. In January 2017, upon CHEN Zuohuang's retirement, LÜ Jia started serving as NCPA's Artistic Director of Music and the NCPA Orchestra's Music Director.

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 few years have included Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Gunter Herbig, Leif Segerstam, Shao-Chia Lü, TANG Muhai, ZHANG Xian, Gilbert Varga, Lang Lang, Rudolf Buchbinder, Stephen Kovacevich, Yuja Wang, Khatia Buniatishvili, Kyung-Wha Chung, Vadim Repin, WANG Jian, Gautier Capucon, Han-Na Chang, Alison Balsom, Leo Nucci, Placido Domingo and HE Hui, 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 few 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, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Die Fledermaus, Lohengrin, Aida, Otello, Nabucco, but also newly commissioned works The Chinese Orphan, Rickshaw Boy and Visitors on the Snow Mountain. 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 ZHAO Jiping. 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 Macao. During the 2014/15 season, the orchestra undertook its first North American tour, where it performed in seven 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 its “joyful confidence and youthful strength”. Concerto Net described it “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.

This 17/18 season the orchestra have “Ode to Friends” as its central theme, featuring concerts conducted by LÜ Jia, ZHANGXian, ZHENG Xiaoying, Christopher Eschenbach, Shao-Chia Lü, Alexandre Bloch, ZHANG Guoyong, Rainer Honeck, YUAN Ding, with soloists Rene Fleming, Lang Lang, Kristin Lewis, Gautier Capucon, Liang Li, NING Feng, WU Man, Alexei Volodin, ZHANG Haochen, Behzod Abduraimov, SUN Yingdi, LU Siqing, TAN Dan, Hsin-Yun Huang, Gabriel Schwabe, LI Biao, SUN Li, SONG Yuanming, LI Xiaoliang and many others. Renowned composer CHEN Qigang and pianist Lang Lang, both as this season's Artist-in-Residence, led a number of concerts as well as educational projects. The orchestra also perform in 15 NCPA opera productions including, Tristan und Isolde and Falstaff. In this season, the orchestra initiated its very second tour to the US under the baton of LÜ Jia, and gave performances to Carnergie Hall, Chicago Symphony Centre, Kimmel Centre, Davies Symphony Hall, Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor and Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill, in collaborations with ZHANG Haochen, Gautier Capucon, WU Man and NING Feng.