Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) Orchestra opens its US tour tonight in Chicago, reaching New York midweek. Its chief conductor, Lü Jia, has been telling our friend Elijah Ho how his ensemble went from zero to full houses in four years.
Lü Jia: The NCPA orchestra does not pay (its musicians) quite as much as some orchestras in China, but it is 100% funded by the government, and we never do any commercial concerts. We perform the operatic and symphonic repertoire, and have no time to earn extra money on the side. But I think that’s alright for us.
Just two years ago, the NCPA started its symphonic season. Concerts were then only 60% full, but now, it’s very difficult to get even a single ticket. China is getting stronger, economically, and every major city – even the smaller cities – is building concert halls and opera houses. It is a commitment to the future.
Click here for full interview.