The National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan (NCO) is a Taiwanese troupe devoted to Chinese classical music. In addition to performing, NCO is also responsible for researching and collecting folk music, creating compositions, recording albums, and publishing academic books. Since its inception in 1984, the troupe has served as a cultural ambassador, staging performances across Asia, Europe, and North America.
The predecessor of NCO is the National Taiwan Academy of Arts Experimental Chinese Orchestra, which was founded to develop and promote traditional Chinese music by the Ministry of Education. In 2008, it was renamed the National Chinese Orchestra, Taiwan. Later with the establishment of the Ministry of Culture in 2012, the troupe was renamed National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan and became affiliated with the National Center for Traditional Arts.
Aiming to revive Chinese classical music, the troupe combines traditional elements of Taiwan with contemporary performance concepts, integrating theater, dance, fine arts, poetry, and literature into its music productions and performances.
Consisting of professional Chinese instrument players, the troupe has released numerous albums. Among them, "The Beautiful Taiwan (台灣四季),” an album presenting Taiwanese folklores and festivals with twelve movements to represent four seasons, won the 22nd Traditional Golden Melody Awards for Best Folk Music Album.
The troupe also combines Taiwan's folk culture such as lion dancing and Electric-Techno Neon Gods with nature sounds recorded by documentary director Fan Chin-hui (范欽慧) to introduce Taiwan's traditions, mountains, and urban landscapes through an innovative integration of classic and contemporary music.
Moreover, the troupe has collaborated with the Peking opera troupe GuoGuang Opera Company and Taipei Philharmonic Chorus to create a musical interpretation of "Dream of the Red Chamber (紅樓夢),” one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.
Combining cello concerto, Peking opera, and traditional Chinese music with poems from the novel, the classic literature was presented through a narrated musical performance.
"Muliyav (在哪裡?)” is another innovative production of NCO that tells the diaspora, culture, and legends of the indigenous Paiwan tribe. The troupe takes elements from Chinese classical music, Paiwan ballads, narrative elements, and visual imagery to deliver a stunning theatrical performance.
Over the past three decades, NCO has evolved to become a troupe that integrates diverse performing forms with its music production, striving to bring audiences fresh performances year upon year.