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.
China NCPA Chorus
China NCPA Chorus is the resident chorus of National Centre for the Performing Arts.
China NCPA Chorus was established on December 8th, 2009. WU Lingfen, the famous conductor, serves as its chorus master. As the professional artistic performing group that belongs to the highest palace of performing arts, the chorus adheres to the NCPA's guiding principle of "for the people, for art, for the world" and is recognized as a vigorous professional chorus with infinite potential.
During the process of its growth, names of many most outstanding artistic masters in today's world have been observed, including famous directors Francesca Zambello, Giancarlo del Monaco, Hugo de Ana, CHEN Xinyi, CAO Qijing, LIAO Xianghong, WANG Xiaoying, YI Liming, LI Liuyi, TIAN Qinxin and YANG Xiaoyang; famous conductors Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Daniel Oren, Myung-whun Chung, Jaap van Zweden, Antonio Pappano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, YAN Liangkun, YANG Hongnian, LÜ Jia, ZHANG Guoyong, LI Xincao, ZHENG Jian and YANG Li; famous singers Plácido Domingo, Leo Nucci, Inva Mula, Juan Pons, Brandon Jovanovich, Francesco Meli, YAN Weiwen, DAI Yuqiang, WEI Song, Warren Mok, YUAN Chenye, LIAO Changyong, ZHANG Yalun, ZHANG Liping, Dilbèr, SUN Xiuwei, HE Hui, YANG Guang and XiaoLiang LI. The masters have given high appraisals to the chorus. The world famous tenor Domingo once said, "I am honoured to cooperate with these gifted young artists"; the late conductor Lorin Maazel said, "It is a Chorus of passion"; conductor Daniel Oren, who was excited after rehearsal, said, "This is the chorus that has the best sound I have ever heard. Young as they are, they are better than many of the choruses in Europe"; conductor Antonio Pappano said, "This is a youthful and passionate chorus that has been well trained to sound wonderful and harmonious".
As one of China's leading choruses both in the orchestra pit and concert hall, the NCPA Chorus brings to life fresh and vivid operatic characters one after another with their lavishly expressive singing and passionate theatrical performance, playing an active role in pushing forward the artistic production of National Centre for the Performing Arts. Since its establishment, it has participated in more than 50 operas by NCPA such as opera commissions Xishi, A Village Teacher, The Chinese Orphan, The Beautiful Blue Danube, The Ballad of Canal, Rickshaw Boy, Visitors on the Snow Mountain, Sunrise, The Dawns Here Are Quiet, FANG Zhimin, The Long March, Jinsha River, LAN Huahua and Effendi, and Chinese and foreign classic operas such as The White-Haired Girl, The Red Guards on Honghu Lake, Turandot, Carmen, La Traviata, L'Elisir d'Amore, Tosca, Die Fledermaus, Der Fliegende Holländer, Un Ballo in Maschera, Lohengrin, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Otello, Nabucco, Le Nozze di Figaro, L'Italiana in Algeri, Il Trovatore, Cavalleria Rusticana & I Pagliacci, Norma, Don Pasquale, Aida, Rigoletto, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Eugene Onegin, Andrea Chenier, Der Rosenkavalier, Simon Boccanegra, Samson et Dalilah, La Gioconda, Tannhäuser, Macbeth, Rusalka, Lucia di Lammermoor, Tristan und Isolde, Falstaff, Thais, La Figlia del Regimento, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Romeo and Juliet, La sonnambula, Don Giovanni, La fanciulla del West, Les Pecheurs de Peries. Its artistic attainments have won favourable comments from the insiders and audiences.
Apart from operas, the chorus has also planned and performed in many large-scale vocal works and theme concerts including Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Mahler's Second, Third and Eighth Symphonies, Verdi's Requiem, and Concert to Commemorate the 110th Anniversary of HUANG Zi's Birth, the opera concerts such as William Tell, Don Juan and many politically significant state level shows including large-scale music and dance epic Road to Rejuvenation, Victory and Peace – Evening Gala to Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Victory of the World Anti-fascist War and the Counter-Japanese War of the Chinese People, Evening Gala for the G20 Hangzhou Summit, the Gala Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Victory of the Long March, the gala "Millennial Road" for the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the National Day Celebration Performance Go for the Better, The Sons and Daughters of the Chinese Nation. By means of the concerts, the chorus makes more audiences to understand more of its charm and the artistic spirit of its unremitting efforts.
As the singing envoy of zeitgeist, the chorus has always been paying attention to fostering audience, supporting and participating in the artistic education and popularization activities of NCPA. It actively plans and participates in NCPA's Weekend Concert series, Classic Art Lectures series, and appears in more than 40 public benefit events held in schools, communities, enterprises, militar camps and hospitals every year to help popularize elegant art, so as to improve people's aesthetic taste. Meanwhile, the chorus commits itself to introducing NCPA's artistic productions and outstanding classic works to audiences at home and abroad. It participated in the tour of NCPA's opera Visitors on the Snow Mountain in seven provinces and municipalities across China, opera commission FANG Zhimin's tour in Jiangxi Province, opera The Long March’s tour in Nanjing as part of the 3rd China Opera Festival and has visited foreign countries like Singapore, South Korea, Japan and China’s Hong Kong and Macao for exchanges. The chorus's performances have been critically acclaimed by the audiences and local counterparts. Especially in 2015, the chorus went with NCPA to Italy for a 17-day tour of the opera Rickshaw Boy to a great success, demonstrating the rich musical expression of the chorus.
Beijing, in the new century, is full of the prosperous atmosphere of elegant art. The young artists of the chorus devote their most vigorous and dynamic youth to the cause of China's opera, and strive for dream and art!