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Taipei Symphony Orchestra celebrates 50th anniversary

May 20, 2019 | By Rudolph Tang

Taipei Symphony Orchestra celebrates 50th anniversary

Taipei Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 50th anniversary over the weekend in Taipei. The commemorative events included an Asian Orchestra Summit, an exhibition, highlighted by a world premiere night on Sunday.
The orchestra started as a self-governing music teachers ensemble and had about 30 players in 1965. In 1969 it was incorporated as a city orchestra under the administration of the municipality of Taipei, and its musicians enjoy the benefit of a public servant. Over half a century the ensemble has expanded into a full symphony orchestra with over 85 musicians that plays anything from early music to contemporary music in its 40-concert subscription season.

Its scope of repertoire and power of delivery was fully displayed Sunday night at the National Concert Hall in Taipei. On the programme is the world premiere of David Loong-Hsing Wen's Taipei Symphony commissioned by TSO for the occasion whose six movements are equally shared by three conductors long associated with the orchestra: Gilbert Varga who just stepped down as its Chief Conductor last season, Chih-Chin Yang, Tien-Chi Lin.

TSO 50th anniversary concert

The 70-minute piece, performed by a 250-member chorus, four soloists and a further expanded 180-member TSO that reminds people of Beethoven Symphony No. 9, is inspired by all the symphonic giants from the core repertoire of TSO like Jean Sebelius, Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich, according to the composer. Lyrics of the final movement are taken from Taiwanese tribe Kavalan's lullaby Mrina and home-yearning song Kasianem.

On Saturday, TSO hosted an Asian Orchestra Summit taking place at the Evergreen Laurel Hotel Taipei. Moderated by Dr Kang-Kuo Ho, TSO's General Director, the summit draws 20 orchestra and hall executives from Taipei, Kaohsiung, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo, Kanazawa, Yamagata, Gwangju, Guangzhou, Saigon, Singapore, Shenzhen to talk about the orchestra each represents and to address issues of common concern, one of them being "how to attract new audience".

Asian Orchestra Summit

Joshua Tan, associated conductor of Singapore Symphony Orchestra, added that it takes something beyond creative programming and affordable ticket price to convert people to regular concert goers:"What's needed and what's missing is human touch. The management should encourage the musicians to go out and talk to people and invite them to come, especially for those those who don't buy a ticket. It's the interaction with the people and the fascination of human touch that brings people to the hall. Music is like a religion and one has to prophesy and preach. It's up to the musicians to do so."

The anniversary celebration continues with the special exhibition at Zhongshan Hall in Taipei till May 22nd, Wednesday. TSO will tour to the United States in Atalanta and D.C. by the end of 2019.




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