China NCPA Orchestra
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.