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NCPA Orchestra takes Chinese music stateside

Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra made its North American debut at the Chicago Symphony Center on Nov 2. The tour is part of a larger initiative marking the 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and the US. And it’s giving North American audiences a chance to hear some serious Chinese compositions.

The concert started with a piece called ‘Wu Xing’ — a collection of contrasting movements symbolizing the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

Under Chinese tradition, these five elements make up the universe.

Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra made its North American debut at the Chicago Symphony Center on Nov 2.[Photo/cntv]

It was composed by Chen Qigang in 2001. He served as music director for the opening ceremony at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“We want to portray through music how China has changed in the last 30 years. The music also communicates the changes in the hearts of the musicians,” said Ren Xiaolong, orchestral manager of NCPA

The NCPA orchestra was established in 2010 as the resident orchestra for Beijing’s ultramodern home of the arts.

Chicago was the first leg of a 12-day tour that will also see the orchestra perform in Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York, and the Canadian cities of Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal.