CORONAVIRUS/Overseas Taiwanese musicians offered more opportunities amid COVID-19

02/16/2021 03:31 PM
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National Symphony Orchestra. CNA file photo
National Symphony Orchestra. CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) With several foreign performers canceling trips to Taiwan amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, overseas Taiwanese musicians have been presented with more opportunities to perform in the country.

One such musician is German-based conductor Yang Su-han (楊書涵), who returned to Taiwan in late January for a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra after Enrique Mazzola was unable to travel for the March 6 concert.

Yang, first prize winner at the Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors in 2017, is joined by Swiss-born Taiwanese cellist Yang Wen-sinn (楊文信, no relation), who is scheduled to headline another concert on March 12.

It will be the first time Yang Su-han has conducted the orchestra, which will perform the originally-planned pieces, including Antonín Dvořák's Othello Overture, Op.93; Mieczysław Weinberg's Cello Concerto in C minor, Op.43; and Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op.10 at the National Concert Hall in Taipei.

Cellist Yang Wen-sinn. CNA file photo
Cellist Yang Wen-sinn. CNA file photo

While many foreign performers have been unable to travel to Taiwan because of the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals, the conductor told CNA during his quarantine that "the isolation is actually good for someone preparing for a concert, because one can be more focused."

Meanwhile, the cellist will play five pieces of chamber music at the March 12 concert, with guest violinist Richard Lin (林品任) and members of the orchestra at the National Concert Hall in Taipei.

Program of the March 12 concert has been changed to chamber music after conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya and pianist brothers Lucas and Arthur Jussen pulled out.

Lin, who is based in the United States, returned to Taiwan in 2020 and has since given several performances.

His fellow violinist Ray Chen (陳銳) has performed in up to two concerts a month since returning to Taiwan to open the orchestra's 2020-2021 season in September.

Pianist Kit Armstrong (周善祥), who has British-Taiwanese parents, completed a series of five recitals in December and has since played seven extra dates across Taiwan with the eighth announced on Monday -- a performance at the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts on March 7.

The organizer of Armstrong's recitals, Blooming Arts, attributed the musician's successful tour in Taiwan to his talent and good luck, as the company managed to pick up venue slots that were vacant due to the cancellation of performances by foreign artists.

(By Chao Ching-yu and Kay Liu)

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