Past Event12 Nov 2016

The Echoes of Hakka Music

No longer available

Auckland Town Hall


The promoter regrets to advise that, due to unforeseen circumstances, this event is cancelled.

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China's most acclaimed Fujian Symphony Orchestra will make its New Zealand debut presenting The Echoes of Hakka Earth Buildings, a symphonic work under the baton of world-class conductor Zheng Xiaoying on Saturday 12 November 2016 at Auckland Town Hall.

The Echoes of Hakka Earth Buildings, a 37-minute symphonic work scored by Liu Yuan, won the Golden Bell Award issued by the Chinese Musicians' Association.

The piece will be performed by over 60 musicians, and features the Hakka people’s history and lives. It has been performed nationwide in China and internationally with renowned 87-year-old conductor Zheng Xiaoying, who is China’s first female opera and symphony conductor, and is herself from a Hakka family. The Hakka are Chinese rural dwellings that were built between the 12th and 20th centuries and are unique in the mountainous areas in south-eastern Fujian, China. When describing the work Ms Zheng said, “A symphony that represents Western music is a most complex yet splendid artistic form.”

The first half of the concert, led by conductor Gao Song, consists of three works titled Three Lanes and Seven Alleys, Sainaim Rhapsody Symphonic Poem, and Pipa Concerto King Chu Doffs His Armour, featuring Soloist Zhang Hongyan.


First Half of Concert

Three Lanes and Seven Alleys, composed by Zhang Shuping

Three Lanes and Seven Alleys in Fuzhou is a masterpiece of exquisite ancient architecture, and it is also a place inhabited by historical and cultural celebrities.

Sainaim Rhapsody Symphonic Poem, composed by Chen Lechang

This piece was composed based on the music of Uighur “Twelve Mukam”. It makes use of various folk songs and dance forms in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which were strongly influenced by European musical styles.

Pipa Concerto “King Chu Doffs His Armour”, rearranged by Zhou Long

The concerto is based on the historical story, the 202 BC Battle of Gaixia, between Chu and Han. It describes the tragic scene when Xiang Yu, the King of Chu, made a final farewell to his beloved wife after defeat by Liu Bang, the King of Han.

Pipa Soloist Zhang Hongyan

Conducted by Gao Song

Interval - (20 minutes)

Second Half of Concert

Symphonic Epic “The Echoes of Hakkas Earth Buildings”, composed by Liu Yuan

(Gold medal winner of the first Chinese Music Golden Bell Award)

  1. Labour Chant - Moderato
  2. Boat on the Ocean - Allegro

    - Singer Zhang Dongmei (Haaka folk singer)

  1. Night Words from the Earth Buildings - Adagio Cantabile

    - Leaf player  Qiu Shaochun (folk artist)

  1. Crack a New World with a Sharp Axe - Allegro Vivace
  2. A Song of Hakka - March

                - Conducted by Zheng Xiaoying with local choir

(Programme may be subject to change without notice)

About Maestro Zheng Xiaoying

Maestro Zheng Xiaoying, one of China’s most prominent conductors, is China’s first female opera-symphony conductor. She is a Lifetime Honorary Conductor of China’s Central Opera House, and a former principle conductor, as well as a former dean of the Conducting Department at China’s Central Conservatory of Music; a former music director of the Ai Yue Nv Chamber Orchestra (located in Beijing); and former artistic director of the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra (located in Fujian province).

Maestro Zheng is a recipient of numerous international and national prestigious awards and recognitions, including the French Literature and Arts Medal of Honor; the Russia-China Friendship Medal of Honor (twice); Special Contribution to Opera in China Award; Golden Bell Award’s Lifetime Achievement Award; and the title of China’s Cultural Figure.

As one of the founders of China’s opera and symphony in the twentieth century, Maestro Zheng graduated from China’s Central Conservatory of Music, and pursued further studies in opera and symphony, conducting at the National Moscow Conservatory of Music. Maestro Zheng is the first Chinese conductor to have conducted in international opera houses. She has conducted concerts and operas in over twenty countries.

Maestro Zheng is one of the most experienced conducting professors in China. In her career of over half of the century, she has taught numerous students; many of them are active on important concert stages, both domestically and abroad. The Outstanding Contribution Award of the Central Conservatory of Music recognized her pedagogical impact and achievements.

In addition, Maestro Zheng is the most famous music social activist in China. Since the 1980's, she has been advocating passionately for the popularisation of classical symphonies and operas among the Chinese people, especially the college students, by offering public lectures on campuses and at many public venues. She has been recognised with an Elder Professors’ Contribution to China’s Rejuvenating Award, and the National Worthiness Contribution Award.

In 1997, supported by the Xiamen municipal government and local enterprises, Maestro Zheng was invited by Xiamen city leaders to found the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra, which is the first non-state supported philharmonic orchestra in China.

From 1997 – 2013, Maestro Zheng was artistic director and chief conductor of the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra. She led the orchestra on tours of Japan, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Canada, the USA, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao, performing the Chinese symphony, ‘The Echoes of Hakka Earth Building’ and promoting China’s cultural achievements in music. She also led the orchestra and successfully toured over 80 cities in China. The Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra has been named the ‘National Advanced Social Organization’ by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, in recognition of extraordinary contributions. Maestro Zheng Xiaoying has been named a Moral Model for Professional Devotion of Fujian Province, and an Outstanding Constructer in Commemorating 30 Years of Development of the Xiamen Special Economic Zone. She has also been honoured with the Xiamen Literature and Arts Special Honorary Award and her biography, ‘Zheng Xiaoying: A Conductor, Music Educator, and Music Social Activist’, was published as a part of the series on ‘Literary and Artistic Figures of Xiamen’.

At age 87, Maestro Zheng Xiaoying is still active on the national and international concert stages and at various workshops and public lectures.

About Conductor Gao Song

Gao was conductor in residence of the Fujian Symphony Orchestra from 2014 - 2016. Currently, she is the director of the Tianjin Youth Orchestra, and the woodwind and brass ensemble of the Tianjin Conservatory of Music’s orchestral department.

Gao Song received her Master of Arts degree from the College of Arts, Xiamen University, under the guidance of Maestro Zheng Xiaoying. She began her conducting career in 2006, serving as Maestro Zheng Xiaoying's assistant at the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra. She has conducted many orchestras in China, including the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, the Shanxi Philharmonic Orchestra, the Xi'an Symphony Orchestra, Tianjin Opera and Dance Orchestra, the Tianjin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hunan Symphony Orchestra, the Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Harbin Symphony Orchestra, the Xinjiang Philharmonic Orchestra, Gansu Opera and Dance Orchestra, and the Jilin Symphony Orchestra. Gao has conducted a number of western and Chinese operas, such as Yue Fei, Wisteria, Earth Buildings, La Traviata, Don Pasquale, Tosca, Rigoletto, and Die Fledermaus. 

About Pipa soloist Zhang Hongyan

The eminent pipa performer of her era, Zhang Hongyan is also a renowned educator. She is a professor at the Central Conservatory of Music, a supervisor of master students, and was a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York City.

Zhang graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music, having studied with Professors Zhang Shijun, Sun Weixi and Lin Shicheng. She is one of the most active and significant exponents and educators of pipa music, both at home and abroad. She has premiered various new works and has given performances in world-class venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Wiener Musikverein and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

Zhang has been a guest speaker at a number of universities, and her publications include academic papers, prose and CD and DVD recordings. Her album Ambush from Ten Sides was made part of the permanent collection of the US Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center.

Zhang’s success is not only apparent in the great number of students seeking her tutelage but also in the prizes she has won from a number of distinguished contests in her field. In 2003, Zhang founded a plucked strings orchestra at the Central Conservatory of Music, becoming its music director. She aims to strengthen students’ performance, as well as their team spirit. Moreover, she is expanding the musical forms suited to plucked strings, amassing a database of compositions and exploring new combinations of stringed instruments.

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