Music Director: LÜ Jia
Conductor Laureate: Zuohuang Chen

China NCPA Orchestra is the resident orchestra of the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Beijing. Since its founding in 2010, the orchestra has fast established itself as one of the most adventurous and dynamic orchestras in the country and earned an international reputation through extensive performances abroad.

Numerous world-renowned artists have collaborated with the orchestra, including Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Fabio Luisi, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Leif Segerstam, Gunter Herbig, Shao-Chia Lu, Xian Zhang, Rudolf Buchbinder, Stephen Kovacevich, Khatia Buniatishvili, Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, ZHANG Haochen, Kyung-Wha Chung, Vadim Repin, Siqing Lu, NING Feng, WANG Jian, Gautier Capucon, Alison Balsom, Sabine Meyer, Placido Domingo, Leo Nucci, Renee Fleming 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”. Christoph Eschenbach also declared it as “one of the finest orchestras in Asia”.

Over the years, the orchestra has gained critical acclaim for its artistic excellence in both concerts and operas. To date they have played in over 60 NCPA opera productions, including classical repertoires such as Tristan and Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Aida, Otello, Nabucco, Tosca, Turandot, Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Eugene Onegin, and newly commissioned works Rickshaw Boy, The Long March, FANG Zhimin, The Jinsha River, Visitors on the Snow Mountain and The Dawns Here Are Quiet. Their live recording 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 an orchestra from China.

The orchestra has consistently offered creative and diverse programmes through its concert season. As part of its continuous efforts to promote contemporary music, the orchestra presented the China Premieres of major works by John Adams, Toru Takemitsu et al. and gave the World Premieres of dozens of substantial new orchestral works commissioned from composers across the globe, including Qigang Chen, ZHAO Jiping, Michael Gordon, Kalevi Aho, et al. It has also played a significant role in the NCPA's Young Composers Programme, providing a unique platform nurturing the next generation of composers in China.

Alongside its concert series, the orchestra has received widespread praise for its international appearances 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. In 2014, the orchestra undertook its first North American tour and returned 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, providing local audience specially selected programmes and accessible ticket prices. The orchestra also frequently initiates wide-reaching educational projects in association with educational institutions across the city.

In February 2012, LÜ Jia took up the post of Chief Conductor, succeeding Zuohuang Chen, NCPA’s then Artistic Director of Music as well as a founder of the orchestra. In January 2017, LÜ Jia started serving as NCPA's Artistic Director of Music and the NCPA Orchestra's Music Director.


Fu Xi invented the Qin, Nü Wa invented the Xiao, and Ling Lun made the Di with bamboo from the Kunlun Mountain. The vast and rich land of China has not only nourished generations after generations of descendants of Yan Emperor and Yellow Emperor, but also given birth to the ancient and profound Chinese civilization. For thousands of years we carry on the heartbeat and pulse of our ancestors. This unceasing pulsation of life, like the beating of drums, constitutes the original rhythm of the Chinese music. In ancient music like Yunmen, Xianchi, Xiaoshao, Daxia, Dahu, and Dawu, our ancestors have written the history and glory of the Chinese people into music, connecting, with music as the bridge, heaven and earth, the ancient and the modern. Music has always been a vital spiritual bond of the Chinese nation, incessantly carrying on the cultural bloodline of Chinese descendants.
As a home-grown orchestra in China, China NCPA Orchestra has always seen it as its duty, and pride, to carry forward and promote Chinese music culture through music. In the “Sounds of China” series of the 2021-2022 Season, we will work in varied ways with virtuosos of Chinese traditional instruments, and will stage many outstanding Chinese works that include well-known timeless classics as well as innovative contemporary works.

Through historic classics, we will look back on the unyielding perseverance of the Chinese people when they were fighting invaders. We will go back to those heroic and tumultuous ages as we immerse ourselves in Bright Sheng’s Nanking! Nanking! - A Threnody for Orchestra and Pipa, XIAN Xinghai's Yellow River Cantata, and Piano Concerto The Yellow River, and Julian Yu’s Raging Flames.

As for contemporary music, we will see how composers such as Chou Wen-chung, Qigang Chen, ZHOU Long, TAN Dun, CHEN Xinruo, and YAO Chen, fuse modern music elements with Chinese music traditions. They express the thoughts and ideas of the modern Chinese literati in music, and bring the sounds of China to reverberate around the global stage. In addition, The Butterfly Exchange composed by HUANG Ruo, which is jointly commissioned by NCPAO, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Theater und Philharmonie Essen GmbH will be premiered in this season.
Meanwhile the 6th NCPA Young Composer Programme will present its final evaluation and awards concert in this season. These new works composed by young composers will be performed by China NCPA Orchestra, transforming them from lines after lines of abstract symbols on paper into real sound of music on stage. As an active participant and facilitator of the NCPA Young Composer Programme, China NCPA Orchestra is making great efforts to empower the new generation of Chinese composers, and it is also witnessing the progress of Chinese music into the future.

ZHAO Jiping, as the orchestra's Composer-in-Focus for two seasons since last year, composed numerous outstanding compositions during his career. Last season, his Violin Concerto No. 1, Moments Musicaux of the Silk Road, and Symphonic Suite Qiao’s Grand Courtyard were successfully performed. In this season, we will continue to present his Guanzi Concerto The Silkroad Fantasia Suite, Pipa Concerto No. 2, Red Star Over China, and Sacred Cloud Music. What is more, The Story of Hua’er, a Cantata written by ZHAO Jiping who persists in composing over the age of 70, will be premiered in the 2021/22 season.

Since the Zhou Dynasty, ancient Chinese have categorized their music instruments into “eight sounds”: bronze, stone, earth, leather, string, wood, calabash, and bamboo. From this we know that at least 2,000 years ago Chinese musicians had already mastered the arts of making and performing many types of instruments. Passed down and built up over the centuries till today, Chinese traditional music and instruments have become an amazing treasure trove of art. In this season, ZHANG Qiang, CHEN Leiji, LU Yiwen, and HAN Lei, among other renowned artists will appear in the “Sounds of China” series with their Pipa, Guqin, Erhu, and Guanzi. They will present ancient songs like Birds Singing in a Desolated Mountain, and Swans on the Shoal, and folk music The Jasmine Flower and Sunshine on Tashkurgan, as well as modern pieces like Fiddle Suite, for Huqin and String Orchestra and Waltz in Summer Palace. We expect brilliance and glows from the diversified fusion of Chinese traditional instruments, orchestra and chamber ensembles.

Upcoming Performance






LÜ Jia and NCPAO

LÜ Jia and NCPAO

LÜ Jia and NCPAO

LÜ Jia and NCPAO

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