By Jenny Lam
Northwest Asian Weekly
As Asian Americans, music — especially classical music — with instruments like the violin and piano have been heavily encouraged by our immigrant Asian parents. However, many of us did not choose to go down that path and make it a career. But the members of the national orchestra of Taiwan certainly did and they have been doing so for nearly 32 years.
The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) — also known as the Taiwan Philharmonic overseas — will make its first ever Seattle debut at a one-night-only performance on Nov. 3 at the University of Washington’s Meany Hall for the Performing Arts. After a highly acclaimed 2016 North America tour (with only two concerts in Vancouver, B.C. and Costa Mesa), their 2018 North America tour is set to be even bigger and better — this time with an acclaimed pianist and a highly-accredited Viennese-trained conductor.
“The Meany Center has never presented a full-size touring orchestra before…[with] their prior experiences with Stephen Hough [and] the excitement and interest in the orchestra in the greater Northwest…they felt that it would be a great addition to the season,” said Matt Herman, managing partner of 8VA Music Consultancy.
Right on time for the holidays, the alluring performance of the Taiwan Philharmonic, led by Maestro Shao-Chia Lü and joined by highly acclaimed pianist Stephen Hough, is certainly an experience you don’t want to miss.
They are one of the leading orchestras in Asia and considered ‘one of Asia’s best’ by The Los Angeles Times. The Taiwan Philharmonic is an affiliate of the National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center, Taiwan’s leading center for the performing arts.
Maestro Lü, a Taiwanese-born conductor, has been NSO’s fifth music director for over eight years. He was first appointed back in June 2009 — right before Günther Herbig, NSO’s former artistic advisor and conductor who departed in 2010. Lü conducted NSO’s first U.S. debut back in 2016 at Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. Now he’s back to conduct NSO’s first Seattle debut. Lu has even been praised by American Record Guide for his “innate gift for flow and pulse.”
Hough, a British-born pianist, composer, and writer, has performed many times before in Washington state though. This will be his first appearance with the Taiwan Philharmonic and Maestro Lü. Hough is known as one of today’s greatest pianist by The Economist — he was the first ever classical performer to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship back in 2001. The Guardian describes his performances as “the most perfect piano playing conceivable.” He was also made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2014 Honours List.
For the upcoming Seattle concert, the performance will have heavy influence of traditional Taiwan’s classical music. The Taiwan Philharmonic will perform works by one of Taiwan’s most prolific composers, Gordon Chin, including “Dancing Song.”
“This will be the first time that one of the compositions from Lin’s ‘Three Aboriginal Songs for Orchestra’ will be performed in Washington state,” Herman explained — along with Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No.2 and conclude with Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Hough.
For tickets, go to meanycenter.org/tickets/2018-11/production/taiwan-philharmonic.
Jenny Lam can be reached at email@example.com.