Chinese orchestra's concert showcases unique combination of Western, Chinese music

Updated 2017-10-30 10:03:06 Xinhua
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Members of the China National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) Orchestra perfom at the Symphony Center in Chicago, the United States, Oct. 28, 2017. A sold-out concert performed here Saturday by China NCPA Orchestra caught the attention of the whole audience by showcasing a unique combination of Western and Chinese music.(Xinhua/Wang Ping)

Members of the China National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) Orchestra perfom at the Symphony Center in Chicago, the United States, Oct. 28, 2017. A sold-out concert performed here Saturday by China NCPA Orchestra caught the attention of the whole audience by showcasing a unique combination of Western and Chinese music.(Xinhua/Wang Ping)

A sold-out concert performed in Chicago Saturday by China National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) Orchestra caught the attention of the whole audience by showcasing a unique combination of Western and Chinese music.

The concert, performed at the Symphony Center in Chicago, started with Chinese composer Zhao Jiping's Violin Concerto No. 1, with Ning Feng as the soloist.

Zhao's piece was commissioned by the orchestra and just had its world premiere in Beijing a couple of weeks ago, said Lu Jia, music director and chief conductor of the NCPA Orchestra.

"Zhao's music is fantastic," Lu said, in praise of its harmonious combination of Western music with Chinese elements.

Zhao is one of the best-known composers in China. He gained his international fame for his music scores in films, such as "Farewell My Concubine," directed by Chen Kaige in 1993, and "Raise the Red Lantern" and "To Live," directed by Zhang Yimou in 1991 and 1994 respectively.

The concert also features the use of pipa, a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument, with Wu Man, a world-renowned pipa virtuoso, as the soloist. Wu played American composer Lou Harrison's "Pipa Concerto with String Orchestra," which was commissioned for her in 1997.

"I'm so thrilled to play it with China NCPA Orchestra in the United States," she told Xinhua.

Wu said she had played Harrison's piece hundreds of times with foreign orchestras in Europe and the United States, but Saturday night's concert marked her first time to play it with a touring Chinese orchestra outside China.

"I feel very honored," she said, adding that the concert's characteristic use of pipa made her feel "a major change" in her efforts in introducing traditional Chinese musical instruments to Western audiences.

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Lu Jia, music director and chief conductor of the Performing Arts (NCPA) Orchestra greets the audience at the Symphony Center in Chicago, the United States, Oct. 28, 2017. A sold-out concert performed here Saturday by China NCPA Orchestra caught the attention of the whole audience by showcasing a unique combination of Western and Chinese music.(Xinhua/Wang Ping)

Lu Jia, music director and chief conductor of the Performing Arts (NCPA) Orchestra greets the audience at the Symphony Center in Chicago, the United States, Oct. 28, 2017. A sold-out concert performed here Saturday by China NCPA Orchestra caught the attention of the whole audience by showcasing a unique combination of Western and Chinese music.(Xinhua/Wang Ping)

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