The 7th China Orchestra Festival will be held from April 8th to May 7th. On the afternoon of March 19th, GONG Jicheng, Vice President of the NCPA, BIAN Zushan, a famous conductor, TANG Jianping, professor at the Department of Composition, Central Conservatory of Music, and LI Xincao, Principal Conductor of the China National Symphony Orchestra, attended the press conference, where they gave a detailed description on this year’s theme and performance highlights and spoke about their fond memories of the Chinese symphony.
As a national performing arts centre, the NCPA remains committed to promote development of the Chinese symphony. The China Orchestra Festival, the first major proprietary music brand launched in the early days of the NCPA, is designed to render Chinese symphonic works with Chinese symphony orchestras as the main performers. Held every two years, the music festival has emerged as a grand symphony event exclusive to Chinese audiences and a theatrical art brand that flies its own colours. From its establishment in 2008 to 2018, the China Orchestra Festival has been held for six consecutive times. The 7th China Orchestra Festival is returning gloriously this spring. It is also the first large-scale music festival to be held by the NCPA after a resumption of its offline performance season in the context of the regular COVID-19 prevention and control.
2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. Themed, “One Hundred Years of Brilliance - Echoes of the Times”, the 7th China Orchestra Festival will be held from April 8th to May 7th with 21 concerts to be given. 22 famous Chinese symphony orchestras, 17 Chinese conductors, and over 30 well-known musicians and performers will be invited to the festival to present a number of Chinese symphonic works composed to eulogize the Party and the people and write heroic tales of the times. They will present the vigorous development of contemporary Chinese symphony, as well as the brilliant achievements by the Chinese symphony over the past 100 years under the leadership of the CPC.
22 symphony orchestras of all types from 14 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) will appear, including China’s top forces China National Symphony Orchestra, China Philharmonic Orchestra and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, fresh forces including the Ningbo Symphony Orchestra, Jiangsu Symphony Orchestra and Xi’an Symphony Orchestra, as well as the symphony orchestras from minority nationality regions such as Guangxi and Liangshan Prefecture, Sichuan. Some of the orchestras are directly under the Ministry of Culture, some are municipal orchestras, some are department-run orchestras, some are corporate orchestras and some are new-type combined orchestras. Their combination reflects the institutional vitality and diversified development of Chinese symphony achieved under the leadership of the Party; the older generation of conductors ZHENG Xiaoying and BIAN Zushan, the backbones of the contemporary music scene such as LÜ Jia, YU Long, YU Feng, TANG Muhai, LI Xincao, ZHANG Guoyong, SHAO En, TAN Lihua, ZHANG Yi, LI Biao and TANG Qingshi, and rising conductors LIN Daye, XIA Xiaotang, QIN Zhifeng and CHENG Ye, will appear on the stage with an orchestra one after another. More than 30 well-known performers and actors, including QU Xianhe, PU Cunxin, XU Tao, ZHAO Cong, JIANG Guoji, YANG Xiaoyong, SONG Yuanming, GUAN Dongtian, ZHANG Haochen, TAN Xiaotang and SUN Yingdi, will also give performances. A powerful lineup is taking shape to render the greatness of Chinese symphony.
The more than 50 works selected for 21 concerts are all Chinese works, which are not only classics composed by the first generation of Chinese composers including DING Shande, MA Sicong, CHEN Peixun and ZHU Jian’er, but also masterpieces composed by contemporary Chinese composers including GUAN Xia, ZHANG Qianyi, ZHANG Qianyi, BAO Yuankai, HAO Weiya, TANG Jianping and WANG Danhong. The works include classics such as XIAN Xinghai’s The Yellow River Cantata, DING Shande’s Long March Symphony, The Yellow River Piano Concert and Butterfly Lovers; LÜ Qiming’s Ode to Red Flag, SHI Wanchun’s Long Live the Great Chinese People, GUAN Xia’s The Years Burning With Passion all reveal how the Party leads the Chinese people in rejuvenating the great nation; ZHANG Qianyi’s My Motherland and YU Yang’s Ode to China reflect on how the Chinese nation starts a new journey to modernization through the great rejuvenation and stands towering as a giant in our world; Beijing Harmony and Quanta are two symphonic masterpieces that the NCPA commissioned foreign composers to sing the praises of today’s beautiful China; and TANG Jianping’s new work Winter Olympics Symphony expresses the anticipation for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. Meanwhile, the large-scale symphonic poem Journey for a Century, XIE Peng’s Anqi Capriccio, WANG Danhong’s Great Jiangnan: Memories of Jiangnan, and ZHANG Qianyi’s My Motherland are key artistic works included in the “One Hundred Masterpieces in One Hundred Years” Programme by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism; Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra’s Reborn from the Fire, and Lighthouse, which is to be performed by six orchestras, are key works included in the “Times Symphony” Programme by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism; ZHANG Chao, HAO Weiya, YANG Fan and JIANG Ying’s Journey for a Century, LIU Sijun’s Without the CPC There Would Be No New China, JIA Guoping’s Ningbo Suite, symphonic suite Warm Mountains, WANG Danhong’s Lighthouse, YANG Fan’s Fathers, HAO Weiya’s Let’s Run to the Sea to Look at the Stars, and YU Yang’s Ode to China, are new symphonic works composed to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. They will have their world premiere with TANG Jianping’s Winter Olympics Symphony composed for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The music bears the imprint of the times to converge into a magnificent epic of a century-long journey.
It is worth mentioning that this year’s Festival will kick off on April 8th to mark the first anniversary of the lifting of the Wuhan lockdown. The Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Reborn from the Fire, a symphonic work for the fight against COVID-19 by GUAN Xia, SHAO En, YANG Fan and HUANG Kairan, under the leadership of SHAO En.
This year’s China Orchestra Festival will make full use of the “second stage” on the Internet; the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra and Xi'an Symphony Orchestra will bring the charm of Chinese symphony music to a wider audience through live streaming.
A variety of art popularization and education activities will be launched both online and offline at the Festival for the first time. Famous composers and conductors will talk face-to-face with the audience on different topics of Chinese symphony such as the interpretation of Chinese classic symphonic works including The Red Detachment of Women and The Echoes of Hakka’s Earth Buildings, how to make an urban cultural brand with symphony, and how to enhance public awareness of music through the China Orchestra Festival.