Chinese music resounds at time-honoured university in Ann Arbor

NCPA November/08/2017
On the evening of November 7th (local time), the China NCPA (National Cenre for the Performing Arts) Orchestra, which came to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor for the first time under the leadership of the music director LÜ Jia, showed the audience in Ann Arbor pieces of music blended with Chinese and Western cultural essence in the Hill Auditorium.

Ann Arbor is the last stop for the China NCPA Orchestra’s six-city U.S. tour

Ann Arbor is the last stop for the China NCPA Orchestra’s six-city U.S. tour this autumn, and it is the first time the Orchestra has given a performance in Ann Arbor, which is where the campus of the University of Michigan is located. The university has a concert hall with a history of over one hundred years, which is known as Hill Auditorium, and had witnessed live performances given by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and many other legendary musicians. The hall is also a regular destination for the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and etc.

Pipa performer WU Man with the Orchestra

In the evening’s performance, composer CHEN Qigang’s first variation for orchestra Luan Tan, which had taken him four years to compose, was played. With a constant rhythm, smallish dynamic jump and strength accumulated time after time, the variation impressed the audience so deeply. The second programme played in the first half of the concert was Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Lute and String Orchestra. The lutanist playing solos on the instrument was WU Man, who has deeply exploited the European and American music circles with the lute in her hand for over thirty years, opening a new era for Chinese musical instruments in the world’s leading music circles. When the audience was still lost in the mixture of lute tones and stringed instrument music and in the wonderful colors pictured, WU Man had started playing an encore, the icing on the cake to bring the concert to a climax. She specially-invited her colleague and friend Joseph Gramley, a percussion music professor at the University of Michigan, to put on a joint improvisational performance of Poplar Blossoms flying in September, a piece composed by WU Man herself, the passionate mixture of lute tones and percussion music spreading over the hall presto, bringing down the house. In the second half, the Orchestra played Brahms’ most impassioned and dramatic Symphony No. 4 in E minor under the conductor LÜ Jia’s baton.

The Orchestra brought pieces of music blended with Chinese and Western cultural essence

The concert ended up successfully with the encore Hungarian Dance No. 6 by Brahms and the other encore Black Bamboo Melody by BAO Yuankai. ZHANG Min, the cultural counsellor at the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago, said, “The concert is a great success! The city of Ann Arbor has a profound musical cultural tradition, and everybody can realise that the audience here is very professional. The Hill Auditorium features excellent audio effects, and the Orchestra had performed very well. I’d like to congratulate the successful end of the China NCPA Orchestra’s U.S. tour 2017! Thanks so much to the China NCPA Orchestra very much for touring the US and assist us in doing so much work to promote Chinese culture. I hope the Orchestra will give more performances here in the future; the American audience is also keenly interested in Chinese culture, and we will work on this together in the future. Thank you!”

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