A saying in Taiwanese folk belief says that “if you offer incense, you will be protected.” In Taiwan’s entertainment world, there’s a popular song titled “Bobee,” meaning “singing for divine protection.” Now in Taiwan’s classical music world, Quanta Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) also has something divine to offer, making its debut with a concert entitled Nalakuvara, Sanskrit for the nearest Chinese equivalent “Nezha the third prince,” at the National Concert Hall in Taipei on March 6. Teaming up with the orchestra, the dancing deities will step onto the stage of the National Concert Hall for the first time in history to present a “divine” concert that is meant to “protect the audience.”
QPO asked Taiwanese composer Lee Che-yi, music director of QPO, to compose two original works: Wind Fire Wheel Techno Nalakuvara, a concerto for traditional and electric violin, and Beethoven’s Samsara and Incarnation, a stylistically eclectic symphonic fantasy. As the concert will also be conducted by Tony Huang, known as Taiwan’s Shinichi Chiaki, it promises to cross boundaries in the world of classical music in Taiwan, and will certainly stir up a lot of interest here.
Wind Fire Wheel Techno Nalakuvara features National Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Li I-ching, a beautiful and talented violinist. Li will alternate between traditional and electric violin, exploring new timbres to bring an entirely new listening experience to audiences. Based on Taiwanese gezai opera, nanguan and beiguan music, Taiwanese puppet theater, known as budaixi, and the rhythms of Taike (Taiwanese style) techno music, the composer imbues the rigorous composition of classical music with distinctly Taiwanese elements. In Beethoven’s Samsara and Incarnation, presented in the second half of the concert, the composer blends Taiwanese folk songs, such as “Bang Chhun Hong” (Awaiting the Spring Breeze), with Beethoven style orchestrations and arrangements, reminding audiences that many of the familiar melodies they encounter every day are actually from Beethoven’s works.
The Taoyuan-based QPO — currently the youngest orchestra in Taiwan — was founded by Quanta Computer Chairman Barry Lam in August, 2010. Under the direction of Mel Yang, artistic director of QPO and executive director of Quanta Arts Foundation, the dare-to-dream orchestra is planning to eventually present a rock ‘n’ roll symphony, and a computer game big band, among other ideas. Yang told the Taipei Times yesterday that he hopes QPO will not only be a performing arts group, but also a perfect platform for creative and talented young people.
(Lin Ya-ti, Taipei Times)