NCPA May Festival 2018 to kick off soon

NCPA April/11/2018
One month later, the annual NCPA May Festival will return as scheduled. The NCPA May Festival 2018, themed “A Feast of Strings,” is expected to last for 18 days from May 9th to 26th, providing an extraordinary journey of violin to the audience.

One month later, the annual NPCA May Festival will return as scheduled
Photo by LING Feng

On April 10th, Deputy Director of NCPA Performing Department WANG Luli, Artistic Director of NCPA May Festival LU Siqing, violinists LIU Yuxi and JIANG Zhenyi attended the press conference, introducing the theme and highlights of the upcoming NCPA May Festival 2018 to the media. Moreover, JIANG also delivered a wonderful performance of Paganini’s Variations on a Theme of La Molinara, warming up the “Feast of Strings” in advance.

The press conference highlighted the upcoming NCPA May Festival 2018
Photo by LING Feng

The NCPA May Festival has come to its tenth year now since its establishment in 2009. In May each year, the audience can enjoy chamber music through high-level chamber concerts and a variety of outreach programmes. Over the past nine years, more than 140 performances and 120 non-profit events have inspired more and more people to appreciate elegant chamber music.

The NCPA May Festival 2018, with a focus on violin, will centre on “Master·Music·Violin.” World-renowned violinists will perform with precious violins manufactured by superb craftsmen, delivering 18 performances of classic Chinese and Western violin works in 18 days, offering an all-round “Feast of Strings” for audiences.

Violinist LU Siqing
Photo by LING Feng

This year’s May Festival will not only invite numerous violin stars but also assemble great Chinese and foreign chamber orchestras and symphony orchestras. Four international celebrated violinists Pinchas Zukerman, Joshua Bell, Fabio Biondi and Clara Jumi Kang, and more than 10 Chinese violinists including LU Siqing, NING Feng, HUANG Mengla, HUANG Bin, CHEN Xi, LIU Xiao and GAO Can will jointly fuel the performance. The three world-famous chamber orchestras- Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Europa Galante, and Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra; the two world top string quartet “Emerson” and “Leipzig”, and orchestras including Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, America’s Pacific Symphony, Beijing Symphony Orchestra and the China NCPA Orchestra, etc. will take the stage successively, together creating a starry revelry of violin music.

The programmes will feature classic works crossing various periods and genres of composer, ranging from the Baroque Period’s Vivaldi and Bach, the Classical Period’s Mozart and Haydn, and the Romantic Period’s Mendelssohn, Paganini and Bruch, to the Chinese composers of the 21st century. Diverse violin works will clash in the classical and modern, eastern and western music styles. The audience will get a chance to roam in the four seasons of Piazzolla’s violin concerto, bravo the master-hands in Paganini’s Caprice, and capture tender Chinese sentiments in the Butterfly Lovers and other Chinese music works. Also, two specially organized concerts - Bach’s full set unaccompanied violin sonatas and Partita’s complete works, and Brahms’s full set violin sonatas will be put on stage at NCPA’s Multi-functional Theatre to enable the audience to appreciate the charms of violin closeup.

Famous violins will be seen onstage together with artists at the NCPA’s Concert Hall. During the press conference on April 10th, LU Siqing described playing violin as tasting red wine. “Good wine tastes a little bit sour and also a little bit puckery, but it can’t be too sour or too puckery. Playing violin is just like appreciating red wine, technique and emotion should reach a balance and integrate together instead of one overweighing the other.”

This year’s May Festival will kick off with a special planned “double opening.” On the two evenings of May 9th and 10th, two violin themed gala concerts will present western classic works and Chinese popular violin music.
 
On May 9th, the first opening gala concert will gather six Chinese violinists - LU Siqing, NING Feng, HUANG Mengla, CHEN Xi, HUANG Bin and LIU Xiao, in which four performers are Paganini prize winners. The six violinists will present a variety of western classic music with multiple forms. They will perform Bach’s double violin concerto in pairs, and the four Paganini prize winners will jointly perform Vivaldi’s quartet violin concerto. Moreover, they will put on a specially commissioned recomposed medley of famous music pieces, raising the curtain of the NCPA May Festival 2018 in an ebullient “violin battle.”

Originating from Europe, the violin was brought to China by a western missionary in the 17th century. Until early 20th century, MA Sicong, HE Zhanhao, CHEN Gang and other Chinese composers started the creation of Chinese violin music, bringing forth a batch of violin works with Chinese style and national characteristics.

Violinist JIANG Zhenyi
Photo by LING Feng

On May 10th, the second opening gala concert will highlight the Chinese violin concerto. Four Chinese violinists LIU Yuxi, LU Siqing, JIANG Zhenyi and JIANG Yiying, along with conductor TAN Lihua and Beijing Symphony Orchestra, will contribute to the performance of Chinese classic music. The programmes include Butterfly Lovers, LIU Beimang’s Yearning for Motherland, LIU Tianhua’s noted Beautiful Evening and Song of Lament, and LIU Bannong’s Tell Me How to Stop Thinking of Her. At the concert, violinist LIU Yuxi will play White Haired Girl, part of his violin concerto North Wind Blows Capriccio. On site at the press conference, LIU Yuxi said, “Apart from playing violin, we need to create the Chinese violin music with our national style and spirit, only when can we say there is Chinese violin art. In the 20th century, the Chinese musicians started the exploration of violin creation; the process also presents the convergence and interconnection of the Chinese and western cultures. For instance, MA Sicong used the knowledge learned from the West into the Chinese violin music creation, and LIU Tianhua also borrowed the factors of violin performing into the Chinese traditional music. I am among the first generation of the Chinese artists. With more opportunities and platforms after the Reform and Opening up, I have also been working all along to contribute to the Chinese violin creation.”

Starting from 2012, the NCPA has organized many outreach programmes during the NCPA May Festival, bringing graceful chamber music to campuses, subways, museums and communities, etc. This year, the festival will feature more than 20 non-profit activities with string music as a highlight in the forms of solo, ensemble and chorus, aiming to take beautiful string sounds to every corner of the city with widely known melodies.

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