China NCPA Orchestra
Concert for the 11th Anniversary of NCPA: CHEN Qigang and Mahler with LÜ Jia and NING Feng
Dates:December 06, 2018
Violin Concerto La Joie de la Souffrance
Violinist: NING Feng
Symphony No.1 in D major (Titan)
I. Langsam, Schleppend
II. Kräftig Bewegt, doch Nicht zu Schnell
III. Feierlich und Gemessen, ohne zu Schleppen
IV. Stürmisch Bewegt
* Movement “Blumine” not included
The Chinese conductor LÜ Jia's work has received great acclaim internationally. Born into a musical family in Shanghai, LÜ began studying piano and cello at a very young age. He later studied conducting at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, under the tutelage of esteemed conductor ZHENG Xiaoying. At the age of 24, LÜ entered the University of Arts in Berlin, where he continued his studies under Professor Hans-Martin Rabenstein and Robert Wolf. The following year, he was awarded both the First Prize and Jury’s Prize at the Antonio Pedeotti International Conducting Competition in Trento, Italy, and launched his career as a conductor.
Over the past decades, he has conducted over 2,000 orchestral concerts and opera performances in Europe and America, and became the first Asian conductor to serve as the artistic director of a major Italian opera house, as well as the first Chinese conductor to lead Chicago Symphony. He has worked with important productions at the Bayersiche Staatsoper in Munich, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and La Scala in Milan, as well as opera houses in Lausanne, Turin, Rome, Naples, Verona, Venice, Florence, Frankfurt and Stuggart. He has also worked with many renowned orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Lyon National Orchestra in France, Finnish Radio Symphony, Hamburg Radio Symphony, Bamberg Symphoniker, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and many others across Europe, America and Australia.
LÜ Jia was the first Chinese conductor to record Felix Mendelssohn’s complete orchestral works, and also the only conductor so far who has recorded the complete works by the important Swedish composer Ingvar Lidholm. His interpretations of German Classical Romanticism and French Impressionists have been praised for their “extremely convincing musical interpretation" with "musical precision and perfect baton technique.” Having directed nearly 50 operas in Italy and Germany, homelands of the European opera tradition, he has also been praised by Italian music critics as “a conductor who understands Italian opera even better than the Italians themselves do ”. In 2007, his performance of La Gazza Ladra at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro was voted as European Opera Production of the Year. That same year, in recognition of his important contribution to musical culture in Italy, LÜ Jia was awarded the President’s Prize by President Giorgio Napolitano. In 2012, the Placido Domingo's Operalia: The World Opera Competition invited LÜ Jia to serve on the jury, making him the Competition’s first-ever Chinese jury member.
In 2012, LÜ Jia was appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of Opera at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing China. Under his musical direction, NCPA's own productions of Lohengrin, The Flying Dutchman, Otello, La Nozze di Figaro, Un Ballo in Maschera, Tosca, and many other works have been well-received by the audience. In the meantime, the China NCPA Orchestra, under LÜ's baton, has fast established itself as one of the leading new ensembles in the orchestral world in China, presenting impressive performances season after season.
In 2017, LÜ Jia has been appointed as Artistic Director of Music of NCPA, Music Director and Chief Conductor of China NCPA Orchestra. Before taking up his current posts in Beijing, LÜ served as Music Director at Verona Opera, Artistic Director at Symphony Orchestra of Tenerife, as well as Chief Conductor at Trieste Opera, Symphony Orchestra of Florence, Lazio Chamber Orchestra of Rome and Norrkopping Symphony Orchestra in Sweden. He is also the current Music Director of Macao Orchestra.
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. 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, Fabio Luisi, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Leif Segerstam, Gunter Herbig, Hannu Lintu, Claus Peter Flor, Shao-Chia Lü, TANG Muhai, ZHANG Xian, ZHANG Guoyong, ZHANG Yi, Rudolf Buchbinder, Stephen Kovacevich, Khatia Buniatishvili, Behzod Abduraimov, Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, CHEN Sa, ZHANG Haochen, WANG Jian, Gautier Capucon, Kyung-Wha Chung, Vadim Repin, Lu Siqing, NING Feng, Alison Balsom, Sabine Meyer, LI Biao, Placido Domingo, Leo Nucci, Renee Fleming, Liang Li and HE Hui, among 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”. After working with the orchestra in a series of concerts, Christoph Eschenbach also declared it as “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 such as Tristan und Isolde, Tosca, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Die Fledermaus, Aida, Otello, Nabucco, but also newly commissioned works including Rickshaw Boy, The Long March, FANG Zhimin, The Jinsha River, and Visitors from the Snow Mountain. In its own orchestral concert season, the orchestra has consistently presented creative and diverse programmes. Their performance of the Ring without Words with its creator, Lorin Maazel, was released on SONY Music 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, et al, 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 CHEN Qigang, ZHAO Jiping, 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.
The NCPA Orchestra has flexed its wings on the international stage, receiving widespread international praise for its performances at the Kissingen Summer Music Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and concerts in many cities in Germany, as well as in Sydney, Singapore, Seoul, Daegu, Abu Dhabi, Taipei and Macao. The orchestra undertook its first North American tour in 2014 and the revisiting tour in 2017, where it performed at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Center, Davies Symphony Hall and other major venues in the U.S. and Canada, under the baton of LÜ Jia. Musical America praised 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. With specially selected programmes and accessible ticket prices, these have become extremely popular with Beijing audience new to classical music. In addition, the orchestra frequently initiates wide-reaching educational projects in association with educational institutions across the city.
The 18/19 season has “Forever Young” as its theme, featuring concerts conducted by LÜ Jia, Rainer Honeck, CHEN Lin, ZHANG Xian, David Robertson, YUAN Ding, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Thomas Sondergard, LI Biao, Daniel Gatti, Shao-Chia Lü , with soloists Lu Siqing, Li-Wei Qin, SHEN Yang, MENG Meng, Clara-Jumi Kang, Truls Mork, Hsin-Yun Huang, Orli Shaham, YUAN Fang, Laticia Moreno, Alexei Volodin, Derek Han, NING Feng, SUN Yingdi, YANG Tianwa and many others. Lu Siqing and LI Biao, both as this season's Artist-in-Residence, will lead a number of concerts as well as educational projects. The orchestra will also perform in 13 NCPA opera productions including Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Roméo et Juliette, La Sonnambula, Don Giovanni, and LAN Huahua.