Cultural collaboration program between Chicago WFMT, China's NCPA to debut in U.S.

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"This Week from China's National Centre for the Performing Arts," a multiple program series and a cultural collaboration product between Chicago's WFMT Radio Network (WFMT) and China's National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), will debut on WFMT radio Thursday night.

"This Week from China's National Centre for the Performing Arts" consists of 13 two-hour programs. Starting from Thursday, WFMT will broadcast a new program each Thursday until 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 an erhu, which is referred to as the "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 product also offers works of Ravel, Schubert, Wagner, 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 music treasures from China and the world with American listeners through the radio waves," said Gong Jicheng, vice president of NCPA. "We also hope that the American listeners can have a better understanding of and love for Chinese music and culture through this series."

Gong said 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, expressed the same sentiment. "Since its founding in 2010, NCPA Orchestra has established itself as one of the most adventurous and dynamic orchestras in China and earned an international reputation through performances abroad."

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

"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," Preston continued.

Many famous 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," said Lyu. "It's a connection to people without any problem."

WFMT will also offer the series to radio stations around the United States through its WFMT Radio Network starting in January, and radio stations across the United States will have the opportunity to air the series throughout 2022. 

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