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US radio station partners with NCPA for classical program

Updated: 2022-01-11 08:55 ( China Daily )
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Work by Tan Dun is featured in a collaboration program produced by China's National Center for the Performing Arts and Chicago's WFMT Radio Network. CHINA DAILY

CHICAGO-This Week from China's National Center for the Performing Arts, a program series and collaboration between a Chicago radio network and China's NCPA, debuted on Thursday night.

The series consists of 13 two-hour programs. Starting from Thursday, WFMT Radio Network will broadcast a new program at the same time each week through March 31.

The first program features composer Tan Dun's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from the Oscar-winning film of the same title. Instead of the familiar cello performance, the version in this program is performed with erhu, or "a two-stringed Chinese violin".

Also featured in the first program are Mozart's Piano Concerto No 23, a folk-inspired Chinese composition by Liu Tianhua and Beethoven's Symphony No 6 Pastoral.

For the series as a whole, besides works by Mozart and Beethoven, the cultural product also offers works of Ravel, Schubert, Wagner and Verdi from the West, as well as works of Xian Xinghai, Zhao Jiping, Chen Qigang and Guo Wenjing from China.

"We hope to share these musical treasures from China and the world with US listeners through the radio waves," says Gong Jicheng, vice-president of the NCPA. "We also hope that the US listeners can have a better understanding of and love for Chinese music and culture through this series."

Gong says art has no borders. "We expect the broadcast of the series will further accelerate the exchange and collaboration of performing arts between China and the United States."

George Preston, general manager of WFMT and executive producer of the series, says: "Since its founding in 2010, the NCPA Orchestra has established itself as one of the most adventurous and dynamic orchestras in China and earned an international reputation through performances abroad.

"The NCPA in Beijing is quickly gaining an international reputation for artistic excellence in its programming. We at the WFMT Radio Network are privileged to share its rich diversity of performances."

Preston adds: "It's especially important in turbulent times that we focus on the power of music and art to serve as a bridge to bring people together in celebration of the wonder of human creativity."

Many renowned artists have collaborated with the NCPA Orchestra, including Zubin Mehta, Fabio Luisi, Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, Alison Balsom, Sabine Meyer and Renee Fleming.

Lorin Maazel used to work closely with the NCPA Orchestra and praised its musicians for their "amazing professionalism and great passion in music".

Lyu Jia, NCPA's artistic director of the music and principal conductor who has conducted at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and La Scala in Milan, was also the first Chinese conductor to lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

"Music is a passion, a beauty," says Lyu.

"It's a connection to people without any problem."

WFMT is also offering the series to radio stations around the US through its WFMT Radio Network from January, and radio stations across the US will have the opportunity to air the series throughout 2022.


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