China NCPA Orchestra

Date:2019-05-27      Source:National Centre for the Performing Arts

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Venue: Concert Hall

Dates: June 01 - 02, 2019


In modern history, Finland has always been positioned between the "Eastern" and "Western" world. This environment has prompted the cultivation of outstanding Finish musicians, who can accurately grasp the Western music of various styles as well as interpret the Russian and Soviet music works profoundly. Jukka-Pekka Saraste, who will conduct our concerts on June 1st and 2nd, is an exemplary Finnish conductor. When studying at the Sibelius Conservatory in Helsinki, he was a classmate of the conductors Salonen and Vanska. He served as an assistant to composer Leif Sergerstam and the conductor of Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, where he served as the chief conductor for more than a decade. He currently is the principal conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne. At the concert on June 1st, Maestro Saraste will present a selection from Ravel's Mother Goose and Britten's Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. Regardless of the age, we hope that every audience can unleash his/her imagination in music on Children's Day.

Mother Goose is probably the world’s oldest collection of nursery rhymes. In 1910, Ravel was inspired by the nursery rhymes and composed this childlike and imaginative four-hand piano music. In 1911, it was adapted into an orchestra version, constructing a paradise that belongs to the innocent.

Britten's Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. is a work tailored for the young audiences of the new era to showcase the beauty of the symphonic music. The work is specially structured to show the audience the tone colours and capacities of the various instruments and the exciting power of the orchestral ensemble.

In the second half of these two concert programmes, we will perform Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, one of the composer’s most popular symphonic works. This work was his attempt to compose an "orthodox" symphony. The second movement was a hit song of the time. It yielded several adaptations in the decades after the symphony was published, and was repeatedly adopted in movies, television and advertisements. The immense and even violent energy expressed in the final movement didn’t appeal to the audience in its premiere, but was widely understood and appreciated after several decades, especially during World War II.

At the concert on June 2nd, Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin will join to perform one of Tchaikovsky's most popular works, Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Minor. This is a magnificent piano concerto, a timeless classic that Tchaikovsky left us. The concert featuring Tchaikovsky works presented by the maestro from Finland and the pianist from Russia is surely an exciting programme.


June 1st
Maurice Ravel
Ma mère l'Oye
I. Prélude
VI. Laideronnette, impératrice des Pagodes
VII. Le jardin féerique

Benjamin Britten
Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34
Author: Yuan-Pu Chiao
Narrator: David Wang


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64
I. Andante - Allegro con anima
II. Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza
III. Valse. Allegro moderato
IV. Finale. Andante maestoso - Allegro Vivace

June 2nd
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23
I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso
II. Andantino simplice
III. Allegro con fuoco
Pianist: Yevgeny Sudbin


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64
I. Andante - Allegro con anima
II. Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza
III. Valse. Allegro moderato
IV. Finale. Andante maestoso (E Major) - Allegro Vivace


Jukka-Pekka Saraste

Jukka-Pekka Saraste has established himself as one of the outstanding conductors of his generation, demonstrating remarkable musical depth and integrity. Born in Heinola, Finland, he began his career as a violinist before training as a conductor with Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

An artist of exceptional versatility and breadth, Saraste feels a special affinity with the sound and style of late Romantic music. Equally, he maintains a strong connection with the music of our time, such as that of Dutilleux, Lindberg, Salonen and Saariaho, among others. He conducted world premieres of works by Wolfgang Rihm, Friedrich Cerha, Pascal Dusapin and others. Moreover, he is co-founder of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, which has a strong emphasis on contemporary music.

Saraste has served as Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne since 2010 and extended his contract in 2015 until the end of the 2018/2019 season. He was Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra from 2006 to 2013, and at the end of his tenure was appointed Conductor Laureate, the very first such title bestowed by that orchestra. His previous positions include the principal conductorships of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (1987-1991), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (1987-2001), after which he was made Conductor Laureate, Toronto Symphony Orchestra (1994-2001), and he also served as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (2002-2005). He has recently held the position of Artistic Advisor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and founded the Finnish Chamber Orchestra, for which he is still Artistic Advisor. He also founded the orchestra´s annual Tammisaari Festival, for which he is Artistic Director.

His guest engagements have led him to the major orchestras worldwide, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Munich Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and the leading Scandinavian orchestras, among others. In North America he has conducted the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic as well as Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste´s extensive discography includes the complete symphonies of Sibelius and Nielsen with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has made a number of well-received recordings with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra of works by Bartók, Dutilleux, Mussorgsky and Prokofiev for Warner Finlandia, most notably a recording of Dutilleux’s Second Symphony. His recording of Mahler´s 6th Symphony with the Oslo Philharmonic has received widespread acknowledgement. His CDs with WDR Symphony Orchestra for Hänssler have likewise earned him high critical praise, and include Schoenberg’s Pelleas and Melisande, Stravinsky’s The Firebird, Brahms’ Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3 as well as Mahler’s 5th and 9th Symphony and, most recently, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8. For Kairos, he and the WDR Symphony Orchestra recorded Friedrich Cerha’s Drei Orchesterstücke, again to great acclaim.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste has received the Pro Finlandia Prize, the Sibelius Medal, and the Finnish State Prize for Music. He was awarded an honourary doctorate from York University, Toronto and an honourary doctorate from the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki.


Yevgeny Sudbin

Yuan-Pu Chiao


David Wang


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 Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Fabio Luisi, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Leif Segerstam, Gunter Herbig, Hannu Lintu, Shao-Chia Lü, TANG Muhai, ZHANG Xian, ZHANG Guoyong, ZHANG Yi, Rudolf Buchbinder, Stephen Kovacevich, Khatia Buniatishvili, Behzod Abduraimov, Alexei Volodin, Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, CHEN Sa, ZHANG Haochen, Gautier Capucon, WANG Jian, Li-Wei Qin, Kyung-Wha Chung, Vadim Repin, LÜ Siqing, NING Feng, Alison Balsom, Sabine Meyer, LI Biao, Placido Domingo, Leo Nucci, Renee Fleming, Liang Li, HE Hui and CHEN Yang, 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 and Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Aida, Otello, Nabucco, Tosca, Turandot, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Eugene Onegin, but also newly commissioned works including Rickshaw Boy, The Long March, FANG Zhimin, The Jinsha River, Visitors on the Snow Mountain and The Dawns Here Are Quiet. 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 Qigang Chen, Jiping Zhao, 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 Macau. 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 US 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 19/20 season has “Cadenza” as its theme, featuring over 30 concerts conducted by LÜ Jia, ZHANG Yi, Christoph Eschenbach, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Markus Stenz, Tung-Chieh Chuang, ZHANG Xian, Myung-Whun Chung, Daniel Stabrawa, VIadimir Fedoseev, Manfred Honeck, LI Xincao, Ryan Bancroft with soloists Jian Wang, Paul Meyer, Gilbert Audin, Johannes Moser, HE Ziyu, George Li, Michaela Kaune, Kian Soltani, Radovan Vlatkovic, Vadym Kholodenko, Khatia Buniatishvili and many others. Anne-Sophie Mutter and WU Man, 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 eleven NCPA opera productions including Les Pecheurs de Perles, Le contes d'Hoffmann, The Long March, La Fanciulla Del West, Journey to Reims and Song of Youth.