Hidden from small

2019 China, May 18: Beijing

May 20, 2019

Today’s activities included a side-by-side rehearsal and concert with students from Minzu University of China (MUC) and an official anniversary concert commemorating 40 years of US-China Diplomatic Relations at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA).

As part of the unique musical exchange at MUC, the students taught the Orchestra members two Mongolian folk tunes. Several students performed on the horsehead fiddle, a traditional Mongolian bowed stringed instrument. MUC has programs in ethnology, Chinese ethnic minority arts, and Chinese ethnic minority languages and literature. It was one of the first universities in China to enroll international students and is the only university in China where all of the country’s 56 ethnic groups are represented in its faculty and student body.

Concertmaster David Kim and violist Rachel Ku were among the musicians taking part in the side-by-side. Photo by Chris Lee

Principal Timpani Don Liuzzi gives some tips to the students. Photo by Chris Lee

English horn player Elizabeth Starr Masoudnia shares a laugh with her stand partner. Photo by Chris Lee

David Kim (left) and Rachel Ku (right) also joined students from MUC for a chamber music performance. Photo by Chris Lee

Pipa players entertained the audience. Photo by Chris Lee

A vocalist and sheng player were also on the program. Photo by Chris Lee

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, President and CEO Matías Tarnopolsky, and Ambassador Nicholas Platt joined Philadelphia Orchestra musicians and the traditional Chinese artists on stage. Photo by Chris Lee

Soprano Lei Jia, here with Yannick and the Orchestra at a sound check, was one of the soloists on this special anniversary concert, performing the world premiere of Tan Dun’s Vocal Concerto: Murals of Dunhaung, “The Deer of Nine Colors.” The piece is based on one of the historical murals found in Dunhuang’s Mogao Caves, specifically Cave No. 257. The mural tells the story of the Deer of Nine Colors and her ultimate betrayal by a Drowning Man, whom she had previously rescued. The work seeks to bring to life the beautiful and kindhearted Deer of Nine Colors, as well as the greedy and immoral Drowning Man, who sought only profit above all else. Through the foreseen betrayal of the Deer of Nine Colors by the Drowning Man and the final benevolence of the Deer of Nine Colors, the piece ultimately communicates hope for human nature, calling for a better and peaceful future. Photo by Chris Lee

Oboist Jonathan Blumenfeld grabs a quick snack before the concert begins. Photo by Chris Lee

Trumpet player Robert Earley warms up in the NCPA auditorium. Photo by Chris Lee

The Orchestra hosted a pre-concert reception at the NCPA for the sponsors of the tour. Matías Tarnopolsky introduces some of the other speakers: (left to right) Zhu Jing, vice president of the NCPA; Li Xiaolin, president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries; and US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad. Photo by Chris Lee

Lei Jia prepares to go on stage. Photo by Chris Lee

The cellos and basses perform the Tan Dun premiere. Photo by Chris Lee

Lei Jia, Yannick, and the Orchestra during the Tan Dun work. The piece was written for Lei Jia, who is tasked with portraying all five characters in the work and thus must covey each with a different vocalization and timbre. The composition explores different vocal techniques, including Western bel canto, Chinese national folk singing, Chinese opera, indigenous singing, and rapping. Photo by Chris Lee

Principal Percussion Christopher Deviney plays a traditional Chinese instrument in the Tan Dun work. Photo by Chris Lee.

Lei Jia, Yannick, and Tan Dun take a bow. Photo by Chris Lee

Next on the program was Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, with pianist Haochen Zhang. Photo by Chris Lee

The second half of the concert was devoted to Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 (“Great”). Photo by Chris Lee

Photo by Chris Lee

Photo by Chris Lee

The audience shows its appreciation at the end of the performance. Photo by Chris Lee

Haochen Zhang and Yannick pose backstage. Photo by Chris Lee