NCPA's birthday gifts

Updated: 2012-01-13 17:18

By Mu Qian (China Daily)

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The National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) has just celebrated its fourth anniversary, for which it prepared a gift not only for itself but also for anyone who loves classical music - an online Classical Music Channel:

NCPA's birthday gifts

"Using the resources of National Center for the Performing Arts, we will try to build the website into an advanced platform for the public to appreciate music," Chen Ping, president of the center, says.

Chen says the website will creat more fans of classical music.

"Without the audiences and market, there won't be a future for the arts," he says.

The website consists of four parts: "NCPA concert hall", which broadcasts concerts in high-definition formats; "rehearsal room", which provides backstage footage; "music chat room", which invites musicians and experts to give guidance on music; and "classical music appreciation", a jukebox-like webpage with a discography of 800 CDs of various eras and styles of classical music provided by EMI.

"I hope the website will become a high-end classical music portal, which is very much needed in China," Wang Lu, director of China Radio International's Easy FM, says.

The National Center for the Performing Arts also plans to cooperate with other media to develop mobile TV and provide classical music to a broader base.

On Dec 26, the center's artistic director of music Chen Zuohuang conducted the China NCPA Concert Hall Orchestra and the NCPA Chorus for a concert to celebrate the launch of the Classical Music Channel, with violinist Lu Siqing, pianist Sun Yingdi, soprano Yao Hong and tenor Ding Yi.

The program was a selection of some of center's best-received works at the center, including Lei Lei's Market Scene from the center's original opera The Chinese Orphan; Verdi's Triumphal March from Aida; Sha Hankun's Pastoral; and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 4 in F Minor.

Apart from celebrating the fourth anniversary of the center's founding, the concert also opened its 2012 Spring Season, which has attracted considerable attention because of its many world-class artists.

In three months' time, the 2012 Spring Season will present 189 performances of 106 programs.

The most eye-catching concerts appear to be the "3+2" project, which will feature three of the most renowned symphony orchestras in the world and two more lighthearted concerts of crossover music.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Myung-whun Chung; the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev; and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Harding (all in the top six on Gramophone's list of the world's 20 best orchestras in 2008) will perform in February and March at the center.

Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble will return to China in March, playing a cross-cultural concert of music ranging from mountain songs to blues. Another crossover concert to watch will be Air Travel, in which British violinist Daniel Hope and five other musicians will give their unique interpretation of Baroque music, with violin, cello, harpsichord, lute and percussion.

Besides big-name visiting artists, the NCPA will continue to present its own regular projects in the Spring Season of 2012, including the Piano Series, Global Chinese Spring Festival Concert and 100 Concerts of China's National Music.

In the field of dance, the center will present two gala performances in January: the Chinese Star Dancers Gala and Ballet Gala.

The Chinese Star Dancers Gala will feature established Chinese dancers, such as Wang Yabin, Liu Fuyang and Zhu Jiejing, and cover classical, folk and contemporary dances of China. The Ballet Gala will present dancers from such prestigious companies as American Ballet Theater, the Stuttgart Ballet and the Compagnia Aterballetto.

The center is also planning its first dance festival, which will be held in October and November. The lineup of the festival will include Akram Khan, the Cloud Gate Dance Theater and Yang Liping.

NCPA's birthday gifts

Since its inauguration in December 2007, the NCPA has held an average of 900 performances every year. More than 100,000 artists from all over China, as well as 54 countries and regions, have performed on its stage. It has also held more than 4,100 educational events.

At the same time, the center has produced 21 original works of opera, drama, dance drama and Peking Opera, and has commissioned nine musical works.

"We will put more effort into producing original theater works, and we plan to accumulate 50 original productions by the end of 2015," Deng Yijiang, vice-president of the center says.

In 2012, the center will establish its creation center, stage set production base, and a branch company in Europe to act as an agent to promote Chinese performing arts overseas.

"Our aim is to act as an aircraft carrier for China's performing arts," Deng says.