CHINA NCPA ORCHESTRA

Music Director: LÜ Jia
Conductor Laureate: CHEN Zuohuang

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 and 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 on 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 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 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 forthcoming 18/19 season will have “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 thirteen NCPA opera productions including Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Romeo and Juliet, La sonnambula, Don Giovanni, and LAN Huahua.

CONDUCTORS

LÜ JiaMusic Director
LÜ Jia is Artistic Director of Music of National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Music Director and Chief Conductor of China NCPA Orchestra, and Music Director & Chief Conductor of the Macao Orchestra, prior to which he has acted as Music Director of the Verona Opera House, Italy, and Artistic Director of the Santa Cruz De Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, Spain.
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LÜ Jia

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, 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 Domingo International Vocal 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, Der Fliegende Hollander, Otello, La Nozze di Figaro, Un Ballo in Maschera, Tosca, and many other works, have received glowing reviews from the international press. With these brand new productions aspiring to high international standards, the NCPA has become a strong contender in the world of opera, and also launched an exciting new chapter in the history of professional opera productions in China. In the meantime, the NCPA Symphony 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 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. In addition to his NCPA music directorship, he is also currently the Music Director and Principal Conductor of Macao Orchestra.

CHEN ZuohuangConductor Laureate
Chen is a much sought-after musician and has been invited to be guest conductor of several dozens of orchestras around the world. He also has been invited as the jury member of many international musical competitions. Maestro CHEN’s art of conducting has won praises from the audience and musicians wherever he works. The persistent enthusiasm to introduce and promote Chinese symphonic music and young musical talents to the world made him a respected and welcomed musical figure worldwide.  
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CHEN Zuohuang

CHEN Zuohuang started his early piano study at the Middle School attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and later graduated from the Conservatory’s Conducting Department. At the recommendation of Seiji Ozawa, Chen went to the United States to study at the Tanglewood Music Center and at the School of Music, University of Michigan. He was the first person ever to have received the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Michigan, as well as the first Doctor of Musical Arts of P. R. China.

In 1987, CHEN assumed the position of conductor of the Central Philharmonic Orchestra of China and led it on a historic tour covering 24 cities in the United States, including New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. He also led more than a dozen of orchestral tours in Europe, America and Asia with the Central Philharmonic Orchestra of China, China National Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, China Youth Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, Hamburg Youth Orchestra and Incheon Philharmonic Orchestra of S. Korea.

Since 1980s, CHEN has been the Conductor of the Central Philharmonic Orchestra of China, Music Director of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. CHEN was the founding Artistic Director of China National Symphony Orchestra in 1996. He has also been the Music Director of UNAM Philharmonic Orchestra in Mexico City, Artistic Director of Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, and Music Director of Incheon Philharmonic Orchestra of S. Korea.

CHEN is a much sought-after musician and has been invited to be guest conductor of several dozens of orchestras around the world. He also has been invited as the jury member of many international musical competitions. Maestro CHEN’s art of conducting has won praises from the audience and musicians wherever he works. The persistent enthusiasm to introduce and promote Chinese symphonic music and young musical talents to the world made him a respected and welcomed musical figure worldwide. What’s more, he is committed to promoting extensively symphonic music in China and now also works as the Artistic Director of Guiyang Symphony Orchestra.

CHEN Zuohuang became the Artistic Director of Music at China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts in 2007, and was the first Chief Conductor of China NCPA Orchestra between 2010 and 2012. He is currently also the Music Director of Guiyang Symphony Orchestra.

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Dedicated to the staging of epic operas, ballets and dance dramas, the golden Opera House is considered the centerpiece of the NCPA. Its main tone is golden color, which looks glamorous and splendid. In the auditorium are the stalls and three higher levels of balconies, which can seat an audience of 2,207, including the venue of SRO. It is equipped with a modern stage that can be moved up/down/backward/forward or rotated, a ballet stage that can slant, and a rising orchestra pit for the triple winds orchestra. All the cutting-edge staging mechanism provides artists with enormous possibilities of creative performance.