The Chinese Orchestra of China National Opera & Dance Drama Theatre was founded in 1950, which marked the first Chinese traditional orchestra at the national-level. The orchestra gradually formed a unique artistic style along with Chinese operas and dance dramas (White Hair Girl，Xiao Erhei’s Marriage, The Memory of Locust Tree, Liu Hulan, The Injustice to Dou E), and offers one of the most diverse music and stage expression ability.
Directors of the orchestra: Shu Tiemin, Luo Jian, Liang Kexiang, Dang Yunwu, Wang Fangliang, Cao Chunyao, Zhang Zenglu, Chao Dongxu, Li Zhigong, Zhang Zhongyao, Wang Shuren, Hu Peiji, and Wei Yaming.
Principal conductors of the orchestra: Shu Tiemin, Liu Zhu, Li Zhigong, Jiang Fengzhi, Liu Deyu, and Hong Xia.
Concertmasters of the orchestra: Wang Bingyan, Yi Zhidi, Huang Youcheng, Hou Dacheng, Wang Shuren and Bai Miao.
The orchestra is continually improving under the guidance of the renowned composer/conductor Liu Wenjin who served as the president of the theater since 1995. After years of musical innovation, the orchestra has accumulated a large number of well-known concert music works, which not only retains the essence of traditional Chinese folk music, but also makes the progress and development of national music innovation and fruitfulness. Under the impetus of Mr. Liu Wenjin, the orchestra began cooperation with Japanese and Korean musicians to form the “Orchestra Asia” since 2003. Each year “Orchestra Asia” will give concerts in Japan, Korea, China and other parts of Asia, as well as the acting orchestra for political events between Japan, China and Korea.
In addition to touring different cities in China, the orchestra is internationally recognized and has travelled to over 30 countries (America, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Turkey, Korea, and Japan) for performances and culture exchange. In 1998, the orchestra held a concert in the Great Hall of the People to welcome US President Bill Clinton to visit China. In 2013, the orchestra participated in “The Ninth Samarkand International Music Festival” and won the first place for instrumental group in Uzbekistan.
The orchestra boasts a full-size traditional Chinese orchestra performing unique classical concerts such as, Prosperous Time Harmonics, Ten Famous Pieces, Chinese Opera Classics, Past Times, and Golden Melodies. Along with the larger concerts, the orchestra has a variety of ensemble concerts such as, Moon Reflected in the Second Spring · Butterfly Lovers, and Blossoms on a Spring Moonlit Night. In order to develop Chinese traditional music in a more diversified way, the orchestra has explored audiovisual concerts, classical films, and television works such as, Four Great Classical Novels and Cartoon Concert. In 2005 the orchestra produced a new symphonic concert The Heroes that topped box office records multiple times. The concert perfectly combined traditional music with Kung Fu movies and TV plays.
In September 2015, the president of China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater Tao Cheng directed the Chinese instrumental concert National Treasures performing at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in China. The concert is a testament to the Chinese orchestra’s high-quality level of performance, also has a number of excellent pieces specialized composed by 10 renowned contemporary composers such as, Zhao Jiping, Tang Jianping, Wu Hua, Zhao Dongsheng, and Wang Danhong. National Treasures is elegant and profound offering ethnic music styles, stage designs, lighting, and costumes. It perfectly highlights the charming nature of “National Treasures”.
In September 2016, commemorating the 80th anniversary victory of the Chinese workers and peasants “Red Army” at Long March. The orchestra especially invited premier composers Zhang Dalong, Wang Danhong, Zou Hang, Zhang Yaoshu, Xu Zhitong, Wang Yunfei, Chen Si-ang, Luo Maishuo and other composers who jointly produced the full-size Chinese orchestra concert National Treasures— Long March Exploration, which is a magnificent symphonic poem that inspires the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and people.
During the Spring Festival in 2017, the orchestra will tour different cities in Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria and Australia five countries to start a month-long world tour performance, National Treasures will bring traditional Chinese music onto the world stage, to new audiences abroad, and igniting a passion in western mainstream society.
The Chinese Orchestra of China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater’s masterful arts and premier artists have won both prestige and worldwide recognition.