As an active conductor in the Chinese and international music circles, TAN Lihua has conducted Russian National Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and other world-class orchestras. He has also been in cooperation with over 30 well-known symphony orchestras from the United States, Germany, Britain, Czech Republic, France, Belgium, Italy, Canada, Switzerland, Israel, Spain, Australia, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, etc. Maestros who have cooperated with TAN Lihua include Lazar Berman, Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Justus Frantz, Lang Lang, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Midori, etc.
TAN Lihua is currently the Vice President of Chinese Musicians Association, President of Beijing Musicians Association, Deputy Director of the NCPA Art Committee, Vice President of China Symphony Development Foundation, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of Beijing Symphony Orchestra.
TAN Lihua began his conducting career at the age of 16. He was admitted to the Conducting Department at Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1977, and studied under Professor HUANG Xiaotong, a famous Chinese conductor and educator. Subsequently, he continued his studies with conductor LI Delun, and worked as his assistant. From 1982 to 1991, he taught at Tianjin Conservatory of Music. From 1991 to 1995, he served as the conductor of China National Symphony Orchestra. In 2000-2001 music season, TAN was the permanent conductor of Russian National Orchestra. As one of the most active conductors in China, he has also cooperated with major orchestras in the country, such as China National Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic Orchestra and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and has attended a number of important festivals, contests and concerts.
TAN Lihua’s repertoire includes a large number of classical and romantic symphonic works, as well as symphonic works created in different modern times. He has conducted performances of many classic symphonic works by famous Chinese and foreign composers and contemporary works, including the symphonic poem Pines of Rome by Respighi, Symphony No. 5 by Prokofiev, mostly symphonic works of Dvorak, etc. As an enthusiastic advocator and supporter of Chinese contemporary music creation, TAN has conducted the premiere of over 100 new works by Chinese composers. In 2012, he conducted the premiere of Piano Concerto No.1 by Chinese composer WANG Xilin in Beijing, and the symphonic overture Lotus by Chinese composer GUO Wenjing for the 2012 London Olympic Games in China and London respectively. Since 2013, four contemporary Chinese composers – YE Xiaogang, ZHOU Long, WANG Xilin and ZHANG Qianyi have gained TAN’s new commissions.
Led by TAN Lihua, Beijing Symphony Orchestra has toured Europe for four times in 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2009 respectively. In 2009, the orchestra performed 18 concerts in eight countries in 26 days, winning wide acclaim.
In 2012, as the representative of Chinese culture, Beijing Symphony Orchestra led by TAN took part in the “China Culture Week” during 2012 London Olympic Games. On July 29th at the Royal Festival Hall, TAN conducted the joint performance of Beijing Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra in Celebration of 2012 London Olympic Games.
In September 2013, TAN Lihua led the Orchestra to make the seventh European tour, taking part in the world-famous Bruckner Festival and Dvorák Festival. In October the same year, the orchestra made a two-week tour in America for the first time, and attended the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico. Later, it gave performance at Carnegie Hall.
TAN Lihua has conducted nearly 1,000 concerts in many major cities of China. Since 1997, he has taken part in planning Beijing New Year concert. To promote symphony music, he leads the Orchestra to present simple symphonic and orchestral music pieces for many universities and middle schools every year, and holds free concerts for students regularly. From 2012 to 2015, such performances reached over 50. Moreover, TAN has conducted a large number of important performances in China, and has nearly 50 recordings, as well as several hundred TV and film music works. In 2007, EMI has issued eight recordings of Beijing Symphony Orchestra under TAN’s baton. The repertoires include Concerto for Orchestra by Bartok, symphony Peking Opera by BAO Yuankai, percussion concerto Sacred Fire – 2008 by TANG Jianping, percussion concerto The Rite of Mountains by GUO Wenjing, Beijing Rhyme by ZHOU Long, Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky, the suite Firebird by Stravinsky, Symphony No. 3 by Rachmaninoff and Symphony No. 9 From the New World by Dvorak.
From 2012 to 2018, TAN Dun proposed and carried out the establishment of the “one-hundred-performance season”, with five series, including “Maestros”, “Symphony Classics”, “Chinese Musicians”, “Art Popularization” and “Tours”, and has led the Beijing Symphony Orchestra to become one of the most influential and promising orchestras in China.