For the last couple years, the National Palace Museum (NPM, 國立故宮博物院) has felt the need to become more than a museum. It's most recent effort is to turn itself into a performance venue. Starting tonight, the NPM will host an evening of classical music every Saturday for two months. The focus is the music of Vienna, no surprise really, since it's currently exhibiting art from the collection of Austria's Hapsburg emperors.
While the exhibit is strictly baroque, the music - mostly works by Schubert, Mozart and Austrian-born American, Kreisler - spans the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. The recitals will vary in scale from intimate evenings of Schubert to a concert performance of Strauss and Mozart by the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra (長榮管絃樂團) under Gernot Schmalfuss. The climax of the series will be a New Year's Day concert in the NPM plaza (details yet to be released).
According to Sylvia Feng of the NPM, the concerts are also intended to publicize the NPM's 8:30pm closing time on Saturdays. For the same reason, it offers free access to local students from 5pm to 8:30pm on Saturdays. Feng said that the late opening has had some success, but hopes special events will further boost attendance.
The concerts are intended to allow visitors to experience the NPM in new ways and make good use of an underused public space. The organization of the music has been handed over to The Management of New Arts (MNA, 牛耳藝術), a major agency for musical events in Taiwan. According to Niu Hsiao-hua (牛效華), the selection of music will provide a comprehensive picture of Viennese music in various millieu, with Mozart representing the imperial court, Schubert literary salons and Kreisler coffee shop culture.
The series of musical evenings will begin tonight at 6pm with a presentation of Mozart's Serenade in G Major, K525 better known as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, five short pieces for the violin by Kreisler and the Fourth and Fifth Movements of Schubert's Piano Quintet in A Major: The Trout, which will be performed in the B1 Lobby of the museum. Although most events will be held there, the two-hour concert by the Evergreen Symphony to be held on Dec. 1 will take place in the NPM's plaza. Detailed concert information can be found in Chinese at www.npm.gov.tw/userFiles/File/zh-ch/vienna_programme.doc. An English version is in the works.