Music Director and Conductor Lü Jia Leads Orchestra
in US Premiere of a New Work by Qigang Chen;
Pianist Haochen Zhang Is Featured Soloist
| The China NCPA Orchestra—resident orchestra of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing—makes its Carnegie Hall debut on Monday, October 30 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage as part of a six-city coast-to-coast US tour, with programs emphasizing East-West influences in classical music and cultural exchange.
At Carnegie Hall, Music Director and Conductor Lü Jia leads the NCPAO in the US premiere of Itinéraire d’une illusion by Qigang Chen, acclaimed composer and music director of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The work was co-commissioned for the occasion by the Hall as part of its 125 Commissions Project. Pianist Haochen Zhang —a Gold Medal and First Prize winner at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and a 2017 recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant— joins the orchestra as soloist in the Yellow River Concerto by Yin Chengzong / Sheng Lihong / Chu Wanghua / Liu Zhuang, a work noted for its sweeping musical landscape evoking traditional Asian melodies and its colorful Western orchestral writing. The concert concludes with a performance of Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2.
During their New York visit, Maestro Lü and the China NCPA Orchestra will also hold an open working rehearsal on Monday afternoon, October 30 in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage for Carnegie Hall Patrons, Notables, and Friends Members.
The NCPAO’s 2017 North American tour—celebrating the National Centre for the Performing Arts’ tenth anniversary—also includes performances in Chicago, Philadelphia, Chapel Hill, Ann Arbor, and San Francisco with concert programs showcasing Chinese and Western musical influences, including classic masterpieces and new works. Through outreach activities on the tour, the orchestra reinforces its commitment to people-to-people exchange and partnership with international arts organizations. During the National Youth Orchestra of the USA’s 2015 visit to Beijing, Carnegie Hall and the NCPA formed a special partnership, agreeing to explore areas of mutual interest, particularly opportunities that support cultural exchange between China and the US and in music education. NYO-USA returns to Beijing in summer 2018 for a concert presented by the NCPA, a highlight of the orchestra’s upcoming tour to Asia led by conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.
About the Artists
Lü Jia has conducted nearly two thousand orchestral concerts and opera performances in Europe and the United States. He has worked with such renowned opera houses and symphony orchestras as La Scala, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Lyon National Orchestra, and many others.
A highly acclaimed opera conductor, Lü Jia has led over fifty productions so far internationally. As the first Asian conductor appointed as Music Director in an important opera house in Italy, he has been praised by critics as “a conductor who has a deeper understanding of Italian operas than the Italians themselves do.” In 1989, he was awarded both the First Prize and Jury’s Prize at the Antonio Pedrotti International Conducting Competition in Trento, Italy. In 2007, the Italian President bestowed the “President’s Prize” on Lü Jia for his exceptional contribution to Italian culture. That same year, the production of La gazza ladra that he conducted at the Rossini Opera Festival, held in the composer’s hometown of Pesaro, Italy, was voted “Opera Production of the Year” in Europe.
Since his Gold Medal win at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009, 27-year-old Chinese pianist Haochen Zhang has captivated audiences in the United States, Europe, and Asia with his unique combination of deep musical sensitivity, fearless imagination, and spectacular virtuosity. In 2017, he received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, which recognizes the potential for a major career in music.
Mr. Zhang has appeared at many of the world’s leading festivals and concert venues, He received rave reviews for his performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Long Yu and the China Philharmonic Orchestra at the BBC Proms. A popular guest soloist with many orchestras in his native China, Mr. Zhang made his Munich debut with the Munich Philharmonic and the late maestro Lorin Maazel in April 2013, preceding a sold-out tour. Mr. Zhang has also toured in China with the Sydney Symphony and David Robertson, and to Tokyo, Beijing, and Shanghai with the NDR Hamburg and Thomas Hengelbrock. Following a performance in December 2014 with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra in Beijing, Maestro Gergiev immediately invited him to his Easter Festival in Moscow, Russia.
Haochen Zhang is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied under Gary Graffman. He was previously trained at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Shenzhen Arts School, where he was admitted at the age of 11 to study with Professor Dan Zhaoyi.
China NCPA Orchestra is the resident orchestra of National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Beijing. Established in March 2010, the orchestra performs in more than a dozen opera productions presented by its home venue every year as well as in regular orchestral concerts in its own season. Artists associated with the orchestra included Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Fabio Luisi, Lang, and Yuja Wang among many others. The orchestra has gained critical acclaim for its performances in the NCPA’s opera productions of not only classical repertoire, but also Romantic works such as Tosca, Die Fledermaus, Lohengrin, Aida, Nabucco, and also newly commissioned operas such as The Chinese Orphan and The Rickshaw Boy. Their performance of the mammoth Ring Without Words with its creator, Lorin Maazel, was released on SONY Classics worldwide, the only recording the great maestro ever made with a Chinese orchestra.
The China NCPA Orchestra has also undertaken explorations in contemporary music. It gave the Chinese premieres of works by Toru Takemitsu and Giya Kancheli and the world premieres of many works by Michael Gordon and Augusta Read Thomas. The orchestra has flexed its wings on the international stage, receiving widespread international praise for its performances at the Kissingen Summer Music Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and concerts in many cities throughout Germany as well as in Sydney, Singapore, Seoul, Daegu, Taipei, and Macau. During the 2014–2015 season, the orchestra undertook its highly-successful first North American tour.
Please note that soloist Haochen Zhang will NOT be participating in this Open Working Rehearsal
Rehearsal passes are available to Carnegie Hall Patrons, Notables ($500 and up), and Friends Members beginning Thursday, September 21 at 11:00 a.m. by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Box Office at 57th Street and 7th Avenue. Patron members are invited to call the Patron Desk.
Monday, October 30 at 8:00 p.m.
QIGANG CHEN Itinéraire d’une illusion (US Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
This performance is proudly supported by ICBC U.S. Region.
Lead support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Additional funding is provided by members of Carnegie Hall’s Composer Club.
Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.
Photo of Haochen Zhang at the top of the release by Benjamin Ealovega.