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National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra embarks on first Japan tour

  • Date:2023-11-10
National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra embarks on first Japan tour

The National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra (NTSO) embarked on its first-ever tour of Japan. Following their performance at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall on Oct. 16, they graced the stage of the Symphony Hall on Oct. 19 in Osaka, which is renowned as Japan’s first concert hall designed specifically for Western classical music.

Established 78 years ago, NTSO has previously conducted international tours in countries such as South Korea, Singapore, the United States, China, and in 2022, they made their mark in Europe, performing in Vienna, Austria, and Lithuania. This year’s performances in Tokyo and Osaka mark their inaugural visit to Japan.

Liu Suan-yung (劉玄詠), the orchestra’s conductor, carefully arranged the tour to showcase Taiwan’s classical music prowess. They invited the acclaimed violinist Tseng Yu-chien (曾宇謙), one of Taiwan’s most promising young talents, to join them in Japan. Additionally, they welcomed Ainārs Rubiķis, the winner of the 2010 Mahler Competition, to collaborate with the 80-member NTSO.

The orchestra’s primary goal for this tour was to convey the beauty of Taiwanese music. Their Osaka performance at the Symphony Hall aimed to demonstrate their best capabilities and achieve substantial mutual music exchange and cultural promotion between Taiwan and Japan, exemplifying the soft power of cultural diplomacy.

The most crucial promotional task on this tour is not only to introduce Taiwanese music to Japanese music enthusiasts but also to showcase Taiwan’s young musicians to international audiences. Tseng Yu-chien, a talented young violinist, wowed the Osaka audience with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. They also performed a suite titled “Music Centennial,” arranged by Taiwanese composer Chang Ching-shan (張菁珊) and conducted by Ainārs Rubiķis. The concert repertoire included Glinka’s “Russlan and Ludmila” Overture and a symphonic dance to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninoff’s birth, among other pieces.

The successful completion of the NTSO’s inaugural tour in Japan has enabled the Japanese classical music scene to better appreciate and enjoy Taiwan’s musical talent. It has also allowed the beauty of Taiwanese culture to resonate worldwide. By spreading the “Taiwan Wave” to Japan, NTSO has left a significant and beautiful mark on the history of Taiwan’s musical development in its nearly 80 years of existence, ushering in a new and touching chapter.