Dvorak, Weber, Liszt and Brahms with Stenz, TIAN Bonian, Ullman and NCPAO

Date:2019-06-24      Source:National Centre for the Performing Arts

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Venue: Concert Hall

Dates: June 28 - 29, 2019


Turmoil plagued the entire Europe in the 19th century. With the industrial reform and the global expansion of colonists, the old system fell apart and new changes surged. Resistance, uprisings, expeditions, nations, and revolution were the catchwords of that era, and its background music was Romantic music, as it is called in the history of classical music. Together with the German conductor Markus Stenz, we will join hands with two soloists, TIAN Bonian and Alexander Ullman, to revisit the style of the era through two concerts.


June 28th

Antonin Leopold Dvorak
Violoncello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104        
I. Allegro
II. Adagio, ma non troppo
III. Finale
Cellist: TIAN Bonian
Johannes Brahms 
Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68
I. Un poco sostenuto - Allegro
II. Andante sostenuto
III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
IV. Adagio - Più allegro

June 29th

Carl Maria von Weber
Der Freischutz: Overture
Franz Liszt
Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major, S. 125
Pianist: Alexander Ullman
Johannes Brahms
Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68
I. Un poco sostenuto - Allegro
II. Andante sostenuto
III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
IV. Adagio - Più allegro


Markus Stenz

Markus Stenz has been Principal Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra since 2012 and Principal Guest Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since the 2015/16 season. Since January 2017, he has also been Conductor in Residence with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

The 2017/2018 season once more took Markus Stenz to numerous concerts in the U.S., including with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. He also made his début in the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg in the same year it opened, giving the German première of Detlev Glanert's Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch with the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra. Other highlights are engagements with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and the revival of Franz Schreker's opera Die Gezeichneten (The Stigmatized) at the Bayerische Staatsoper.

In the 2016/17 season, Markus Stenz conducted the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Mozarteumorchester Salzburg, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Bern Symphony Orchestra and – for the first time since leaving his position as Gürzenich-Kapellmeister – the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln. He also presented numerous exciting concert programmes with his Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, performing works by Mussorgsky, Liszt, Szymanowski, Rachmaninov, Mozart and Wagner, with Jörg Widman's Babylon to end the season.

As a concert conductor, Markus Stenz has been at the helm of many prestigious orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Tonhalle- Orchester Zürich, the Vienna Symphony, the Hallé Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Staatskapelle and Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Bamberg Symphony, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra and the radio orchestras of German broadcasters BR, HR, WDR and NDR. In the USA, he has worked with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas.

As an operatic conductor, Markus Stenz has given many world and national premières, including Hans Werner Henze's The Ocean Betrayed (Das Verratene Meer) in Berlin, Venus and Adonis at the Bayerische Staatsoper and L'Upupa and the Triumph of Filial Love (L’ Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe) at the 2003 Salzburg Festival. He has performed in major international opera houses, among them the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the English National Opera, the Lyric Opera Chicago, the San Francisco Opera, in Los Angeles, the Staatstheater Stuttgart, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, the Hamburg State Opera and the Oper Frankfurt, as well as at international festivals such as the Glyndebourne Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival and the festivals in Bregenz and Salzburg.

Markus Stenz made himself a name early on with unusual projects and numerous premières. In 1989, he took over the musical direction of the Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte in Montepulciano (until 1995) and was Principal Conductor of the London Sinfonietta, the most renowned British contemporary music ensemble, from 1994 to 1998. From 1998 to 2004, he was Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

For 11 years (since the 2003/04 season), Markus Stenz was the Kapellmeister of the Gürzenich- Orchester Köln – an extremely productive period in which he received a prize for “The Best Concert Programme of the 2003/04 Season”. In addition to high-profile opera productions (including Wagner's Ring des Nibelungen, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Janáčeks' Jenůfa und Kátja Kabanová and Schreker's Die Gezeichneten), Stenz initiated a number of youth and educational projects such as “Experiment Klassik”, “3. Akt” and the concert live-recording project “GO live”.

His large discography includes many prize-winning productions and e.g. the recording of Mahler’s 5th Symphony (Oehms Classics) is to be found in the German Record Critics' quarterly “Best” list. Recently, the recording of Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder with the Gürzenich-Orchester received the Gramophone Classical Music Award.

Markus Stenz has been honoured with the Fellowship of the Royal Northern College of Music. In a laudatory speech, Clark Rundell, the head of the conducting faculty at the internationally renowned music conservatory in Manchester, described him as one of the greatest conductors of his generation. In receiving this honour, Stenz joins the ranks of musicians such as Zubin Mehta, Mstislav Rostropovich and Brigitte Fassbaender.


TIAN Bonian

Alexander Ullman


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, Siqing Lu, 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 Pêcheurs de Perles, Le contes d'Hoffmann, The Long March, La Fanciulla Del West, Journey to Reims and Song of Youth.