Beijing Symphony Orchestra
The Beijing Symphony Orchestra was founded in October 1977. In the 1990s, the Beijing Symphony Orchestra underwent a significant reform and reorganization under the leadership of artistic director TAN Lihua. The orchestra has held annual musical events for over ten years, with 90-100 concerts given each year. Starting with the classics, the orchestra has performed nearly 1,000 musical works, including operatic music, symphonic music, chamber music and contemporary music. It has cooperated with world-renowned maestros, instrumentalists and famous international orchestras to expand its repertoire. The Forbidden City Concert Hall, situated in the imperial garden, belongs to the Beijing Symphony Orchestra.
The orchestra has worked with many famous orchestras and top musicians, such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; famous virtuosos include maestro Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Yevgeny Svetlanov, Christoph Eschenbach, Lawrence Foster, Thomas Sandrine, Andrew Davis, Leif Segerstam and Pavel Kogan; piano virtuosos include Lazar Berman, JustusFrantz , Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Tzimon Barto; violin virtuosos Vadim Repin, Midori Gotō, Lin Cho-Liang, Christophe Barratier and Sergey Krylov; cello virtuosos include Mischa Maisky, Lloyd Webber and Corona Crainey; viola virtuoso Yuri Bashmet; trumpeter Garber Portotzky; singers José Carreras and Jennifer Larmore.
Maestro Eschenbach said, “The Beijing Symphony Orchestra is an orchestra with high professional qualities. Their extremely strong musical apprehensiveness and performance style have impressed me deeply." Over the past decades, Beijing Symphony Orchestra made many achievements, one of which is its first international commercial tour in 2001. By far, the orchestra has given commercial performances worldwide for years.
The Beijing Symphony Orchestra shows special preference to contemporary Chinese music compositions. It has planned, participated in, commissioned and premiered new works by most of the contemporary Chinese composers, and it has premiered nearly 200 works. Since 2007, the orchestra has released eight record albums globally with EMI Records, a world-famous music label founded over a century ago.
The Beijing Symphony Orchestra has taken part in many large-scale international cultural exchange activities, and made several visits to Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Czech, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Turkey, Slovenia, Serbia, South Korea, the USA, Canada and Montenegro. In 2001-2017, the orchestra toured Europe for eight times and won high praise from the European critics. In 2013, the orchestra made its debut in America during a two-week tour to Mexico and the USA. The Washington Post gave it a banner headline: “The Beijing Symphony Orchestra starts an Upsurge of Classical.” In February 2017, the orchestra gave a classic symphony concert at the Kennedy Center, receiving high acclaim from the audiences. It gave virtuoso performances at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto and National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada, kicking off celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the founding of Canada. The joint performance given by the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra was the first one to be given by the three orchestras together after the founding of Canada, which is of great historical significance. In September the same year, Beijing held the second 16+1 Summit of China and CEE Capitals Mayors in Podgorica, Montenegro as well as the “Beijing Day” Event in Belgrade, Serbia. Deputy Party Secretary and Acting Mayor of Beijing CHEN Jining attended the activities with a government delegation. The Beijing Symphony Orchestra gave a symphony concert under the theme, “Tour of Friendship” at the Podgorica National Theatre and Belgrade Sava Central Theatre respectively. The orchestra signed a memorandum of understanding with the Montenegro Symphony Orchestra and Serbia Belgrade Symphony Orchestra, entering into a specified relationship with them. Also, a symphony orchestra league was formed by Beijing with its international sister cities, enriching the connotations of the second 16+1 Summit of China and CEE Capitals Mayors and “Beijing Day” Event in Belgrade, Serbia, and achieving substantial results in cooperation.
In 1994, the Beijing Symphony Orchestra started devoting itself to popularizing symphonic music on a large scale in military camps, factories and mines, schools and communities in Beijing as well as Chinese concert halls and institutions of higher education. Over the past 20 years, the orchestra has held nearly 1,000 concerts for symphony popularization for millions of spectators of different professions and ages in school canteens and halls, factories and communities, as well as at opera houses and concert halls in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities. In the 2014 season, it gave the opening concert on campus. In 2016, it initiated an activity titled, “Capital Civic Hall” and performed “symphonic music for common people”, introducing classical music into capital citizens’ daily life.
As the 2019 season is now on, all members of the Beijing Symphony Orchestra are writing a more brilliant artistic chapter with full passion in high spirits.