Fri, Oct 10, 2003 - Page 19 News List

One more NSO comeback tour

By Ian Bartholomew  /  STAFF REPORTER

Bringing back Taiwan's classical musicians The National Symphony Orchestra under Chien Wen-pin (簡文彬) has been responsible for many popular events that have been enlivening the classical music scene in recent years.

His most recent initiative is a series of concerts to bring successful Taiwan artists living and working abroad back to Taiwan to perform. The first of these concerts took place yesterday and will be followed by performances in Nantou and Kaohsiung tomorrow and Sunday.

The concert, Tribute to Vienna, stars violinist Hu Nai-yuan (胡乃元), Bion Tsang (章雨亭) and Jenny Lin (林佳靜), who will be playing Beethoven's Triple Concerto in C major and a number of works by Johann Strauss that are related to Vienna. Chien said that many Taiwanese have gone overseas and achieved considerable success in classical music.

"It is important that they perform here [in Taiwan] so that local people can also learn of their achievements. It is only by performing that they can establish their reputation at home."

While violinist Hu and pianist Lin both make regular visits back home, they said it was different this time having the chance to tour the island with the NSO and perform Beethoven's triple concerto.

Hu said that performing again in Taiwan involved many emotions. And though the 1985 winner of the prestigious Queen Elisabeth International Competition now performs regularly with some of the most famous international orchestras, he said that playing in front of a home crowd was still the greatest pleasure -- even if it might lack the sophistication of New York or European audiences.

Cellist Bion Tsang said he was impressed by the young audiences that he found in Taiwan, as opposed to the aging audiences for classical music events in the US. While the home crowd might be lacking in the musical sophistication of its European counterparts, classical music obviously has considerable potential in Asia, he said.

Broadening the audience for classical music has been a priority for the NSO and the concerts in Nantou and Kaohsiung look to be popular with local audiences who rarely have access to such big ticket performers. The Tribute to Vienna concert in Kaohsiung will take place under the umbrella of the Love River Music Festival, which has gathered a host of musical talent from around the island, ranging from Chinese opera to traditional instrumental and Western classical music, all to be performed in the plaza outside the Kaohsiung City Concert Hall through to the end of October.

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