National Symphony Orchestra to begin new season in Taipei, Kaohsiung

09/22/2021 07:46 PM
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Conductor Jun Märkl (left) and violinist Richard Lin. CNA photo Sept. 22, 2021
Conductor Jun Märkl (left) and violinist Richard Lin. CNA photo Sept. 22, 2021

Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) The National Symphony Orchestra said Wednesday that it will open its 2021-2022 season with concerts in Taipei and Kaohsiung, featuring pieces by Russian composer Tchaikovsky.

"This time, we have an all Tchaikovsky program, something I usually don't do, but in this case, we want to focus on the composer who is central to our season," conductor Jun Märkl said at a press conference in Taipei.

The new season, which runs until summer 2022, will have three main themes -- Tchaikovsky, music by French composers, and "Impossible Love," Märkl said.

The orchestra's opening concert will feature Polonaise from Tchaikovsky's opera "Eugene Onegin;" Violin Concerto in D major, Op.35; and Symphony No.5 in E minor, Op.64.

Polonaise and the symphony pieces represent the passionate side of the Russian composer, while the violin concerto depicts his elegant side, Märkl said, adding that Tchaikovsky was a master of melodies.

As "Eugene Onegin" is about a love story, Polonaise was included under the theme of "Impossible Love," said Märkl, who is in his first season with the National Symphony Orchestra and will become the group's music director from Jan. 1, 2022.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese-American violinist Richard Lin (林品任), who will be a guest performer for the violin concerto piece, said he was honored to be part of the opening concert this season.

The orchestra will perform at National Concert Hall in Taipei on Friday and at National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts on Saturday, with tickets available on the OpenTix ticketing service.

Lin, who recently took up a teaching position at National Taipei University of Education, is also scheduled to perform with members of the National Symphony Orchestra in an online chamber music concert in early October.

The mix of online and live concerts is just one of the unique characteristics of the new season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted the orchestra's previous season, causing cancellations of several concerts in May and June, when Taiwan was battling with a domestic outbreak.

Because of the uncertainty over the COVID-19 situation, the orchestra has only unveiled its program through the end of October, and ticket sales are restricted because of the government's social distancing regulations.

For its performance Friday at the 2,000-plus seat National Concert Hall, the orchestra was allowed to sell only about 900 tickets.

Märkl said, however, that while live concerts remain the focus of the orchestra, there are opportunities to bring concerts to people in distant locations, via various platforms.

"The COVID crisis weighs heavy on us, but there is always a chance to develop something new," he said, adding that the orchestra is trying in many ways to reach wider audiences and different people.

(By Kay Liu)

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