Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, 2019

Tour Dates: 25th January - 27th January, 2019

Since its founding in 1957, the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra (GSO) has developed into one of China's most prestigious orchestras in its breadth of organization and standard in performance.

Tour Information:

25th January, 20:00, Geneva Victoria Hall
26th January, 19:30, Zurich Maag-Halle
27th January, 18:30, Luzern KKL

Tour Dates
  • 25th January - 27th January, 2019


Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra
Music Director: Long Yu

Since its founding in 1957, the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra (GSO) has developed into one of China's most prestigious orchestras in its breadth of organization and standard in performance. It is the first and only Chinese symphony orchestra to have toured and performed on five continents, receiving such acclaim from the international media as "China's nexus of musical tradition and innovation" (Financial Times). The GSO is also one of the first orchestras in China to institute a professional concert season. The 2018/2019 season marks the GSO's 22nd season.

Maestro Long Yu, Music Director since 2003, is a preeminent Chinese conductor with international renown. He also serves as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the China Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Beijing Music Festival and Co-Director of the Music in the Summer Air Festival (MISA) in Shanghai. Long Yu was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, beginning in the 2015/2016 season.

In July 1997, the GSO marked an important milestone, having restructured its organization. Beginning in May 1998, the orchestra introduced a full "music season." In October that year, the orchestra received rave reviews and was lauded as a "shining star" at the inaugural Beijing Music Festival for its performance in the opera La Bohème. "It is heartening to see the GSO's meteoric rise as an artistic force in southern China, joining the ranks of other distinguished orchestras in the country's mainstream," one Beijing critic reported. For many years, the GSO returned annually to the Beijing Music Festival.

The GSO has sustained long-term relationships with numerous renowned musicians at home and abroad, establishing a wide international network and enjoying a high reputation among the world's music circles. In past seasons, the GSO has regularly invited the most accomplished conductors, soloists and singers to collaborate in repertoire ranging from Baroque to modern, broadening its audience appeal and creating valuable training opportunities for the orchestra's musicians to improve their craft. "It was the best sound I ever heard from among Chinese orchestras," the famous Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki remarked after attending a GSO concert. In 2004, international artist agencies began to engage the GSO for international touring and large-scale cultural projects, bringing the orchestra and its reputation to even farther shores.

Beginning in 2000, the GSO was sent on numerous tours by the Ministry of Culture and the Guangdong Provincial Government, visiting Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, America, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore, among others. The GSO has graced the stages of the Goldenensaal of Vienna's Musikverein, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Cairo Opera House, Sydney Opera House, New York's Carnegie Hall, Boston's Symphony Hall, Washington's Kennedy Center, Berlin Konzerthaus,  Venice's Teatro La Fenice, Florence's Teatro Verdi, Lucerne Culture and Convention Centre, Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, Singapore's Esplanade-Theatres on the Bay, the Tonhalle Zürich, Geneva Victoria Hall, London's Cadogan Hall, Manchester's Bridgewater Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall, among other world-famous venues. In 2006, the GSO was invited to perform in both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. The orchestra has also appeared more than 20 times at the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Macao Arts Festival and Macao International Music Festival. In October 2012, the GSO made its Taiwan debut during the Guangdong City Cultural Week at the Cross-Strait City Arts Festival, with concerts in Taipei's National Theater and Concert Hall and the Taichung Chung Hsing Hall. In September 2014, on the occasion of the NSW-Guangdong Sister-State 35th Anniversary, the GSO performed two concerts in Sydney's City Recital Hall, Angel Place, and Canberra's Llewellyn Hall. In January 2015, invited by Migros Kulturprozent Classics, the GSO made its fifth Europe tour and performed in Zurich, Geneva, Bern and St. Gallen. In 2017, the GSO made its sixth European tour, visiting London, Manchester and Birmingham, headlined in The Guardian as a "highly accomplished band." The orchestra not only fulfills its role as cultural ambassador abroad, but also promotes meaningful exchange within the Pearl River Delta region and across the Taiwan Straits.

The GSO has also diversified its mission and programs in the past decade. Between 2005 and 2007, the orchestra organized the Canton International Summer Music Academy with Maestro Charles Dutoit as music director, inviting such distinguished artists as Martha Argerich, Gary Graffman and Claus Peter Flor as well as more than 20 principals from world-renowned orchestras as tutors, attracting young musicians from all over Asia. The GSO hosted the Canton Asian Music Festival, held at the Xinghai Concert Hall, in November 2010 on the occasion of the 16th Asian Games. The 13-day festival featured six of the best Asian orchestras and 17 distinguished Asian musicians including Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Myung-Whun Chung, Tan Dun, Cho-Liang Lin, Midori, Jian Wang and Sarah Chang with a total in 10 concerts. The GSO has also collaborated with the world's leading ballet and opera companies, appearing both in the pit and in concert renditions. The orchestra regularly commissions new works from prominent composers in China and abroad, fostering China's development in symphonic music. In addition, the GSO also presents chamber music, education, pops, outdoor and festival concerts every season. In December 2011, the GSO established its affiliate youth orchestra, later renamed the Guangzhou Symphony Youth Orchestra (August 2016), the first amateur youth orchestra administered by a professional orchestra in China. In January 2017, with GSO Music Director Long Yu leading its Artistic Committee and Yo-Yo Ma as Artistic Director, Youth Music Culture Guangdong (YMCG) was launched, immediately garnering acclaim for "opening a new page in the Chinese symphonic world." YMCG is scheduled to be an annual event. All of these programs reflect the orchestra's overall strategy in achieving all-round development.

The GSO moved its headquarters to Ersha Island along the Pearl River in 2009. This new facility, equipped with the most up-to-date technology, has provided the orchestra with superb amenities and the means to advance both artistically and institutionally. While adhering to its own heritage, the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra continues to forge ahead, always keeping apace with the times.

Conductor / Composer: Tan Dun

The UNESCO global Goodwill Ambassador, world-renowned conductor/composer Tan Dun follows in the footsteps of his musical icons composer/conductor's Mahler and Bernstein, in that his composing guides his conducting and his conducting simultaneously shapes his composing. He has made an indelible mark on the world's music scene with a creative repertoire that spans the boundaries of classical music, multimedia performance, and Eastern and Western traditions. A winner of today's most prestigious honors including the Grammy Award, Oscar/Academy Award, Grawemeyer Award for classical composition, Musical America's Composer of The Year, Bach  of Germany Prize, and Moscow's Shostakovich Award, Tan Dun's music has been played throughout the world by leading orchestras, opera houses, international festivals, and on the radio and television. As a conductor, Tan Dun has led the world's most esteemed orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Orchestre National de France, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Filharmonica della Scala, Münchner Philharmoniker, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony. As a global cultural leader, Tan Dun uses his creativity to raise awareness of environmental issues and to protect cultural diversity. In 2010, Tan Dun served as "Cultural Ambassador to the World" for World EXPO Shanghai.

Tan Dun's individual voice has been heard widely by international audiences. In recent seasons, his percussion concerto, The Tears of Nature, for world famous soloist Martin Grubinger that premiered last year with the NDR Symphony Orchestra and Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women- (symphony for 13 microfilms, harp and orchestra) co-commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Japan's NHK Symphony and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. His first Internet Symphony, which was commissioned by Google/YouTube, has reached over 23 million people online. His Organic Music Trilogy of Water, Paper and Ceramic has frequented major concert halls and festivals. Paper Concerto was premiered with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the opening of the Walt Disney Hall. His multimedia work, The Map, premiered by YoYo Ma and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, has toured more than 30 countries worldwide. Its manuscript has been collected by the Carnegie Hall Composers Gallery. His Orchestral Theatre: The Gate was premiered by Japan's NHK Symphony Orchestra and crosses the cultural boundaries of Peking Opera, Western Opera and puppet theatre traditions. Other important recent premieres include Four Secret Roads of Marco Polo for the Berlin Philharmonic and Piano Concerto "The Fire" for Lang Lang and the New York Philharmonic. Tan Dun was commissioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to write the Logo Music and Award Ceremony Music for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Recently, Tan Dun has been appointed as Honorary Artistic Director of China National Symphony Orchestra.

Piano: Ralph van Raat

Ralph van Raat studied music at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and musicology at the University of Amsterdam, with Ton Hartsuiker and Willem Brons. He completed his piano studies cum laude in 2002, and was admitted to the Provision for Outstanding Musicians, a special course offered in addition to the standard curriculum in 2003. He also graduated cum laude in musicology. Van Raat then studied with Claude Helffer in Paris, Ursula Oppens at Northwestern University, Liisa Pohjola in Finland, and Pierre-Laurent Aimard at the Musikhochschule in Cologne.

Van Raat has won prizes in a number of piano competitions, in both the Netherlands and other countries. He was awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Fellowship in 2005, and received the Prijs Klassiek (Classics Prize) of Dutch radio and television broadcaster NTR in 2010.

Van Raat has performed as a recitalist and soloist in Europe and around the world, and has a special interest in contemporary classical music. He has performed with many orchestras, including the London Sinfonietta, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Radio Chamber Philharmonic, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Frankfurt, the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and the Dortmunder Philharmoniker. He has worked closely with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, JoAnn Falletta, David Robertson, Stefan Asbury, Michel Tabachnik, Jac van Steen and Otto Tausk. Van Raat was artist-in-residence of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra in 2010. He has also performed at a number of music festivals, including the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the UK, the Berliner Festspiele, and the Tanglewood Summer Festival in the United States. His recent commitments include a highly acclaimed China tour of Tan Dun's Concerto for Peking Opera Soprano & Piano with Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. Also led by Tan Dun, he performed with Oakland Symphony Orchestra、Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

Ralph van Raat has recorded a number of CDs as an exclusive artist for the Naxos label. All of his recordings have been of contemporary or 20th-century composers, such as John Adams, Hans Otte, Arvo Pärt, Gavin Bryars and Frederic Rzewski. Before recording with Naxos, Van Raat also recorded discs with the Etcetera Records, Attacca, and Erasmus labels. Van Raat is a Steinway artist.

In 2003, van Raat was named a Steinway Artist by the Steinway piano company, joining an exquisite circle of renowned artists such as Vladimir Horowitz, Martha Argerich, Alfred Brendel, Lang Lang and Keith Jarrett.

Suo Na: Wenwen Liu

Wenwen Liu is one of the most outstanding up and coming Suona players in China and a 13th generation inheritor of the Suona instrument tradition.

Wenwen Liu has received various awards at home and abroad. In 2011, she won the Gold Prize in the 2nd International Chinese Instrument Competition organized by the Hong Kong International Arts Platform; and in 2015, she won the Gold Prize in the National Tertiary Institution's Folk Music Competition organized by Chinese Music Foundation.

Representing a new generation of Suona performers, Liu inherited the tradition of the ancient instrument and added her own modern interpretation. In 2010, she toured eleven countries with the Shanghai Culture Bureau including Australia and New Zealand, among others. That same year, she was invited to perform in the May Music Festival at the National Center of the Performing Arts; following which, she was invited to perform in eleven concerts during the Shanghai Expo 2010. In 2013, she was invited to perform in Norway by the Shanghai Cultural Bureau. In 2014, Liu toured Kuwait with the Zhejiang Folk Music Orchestra and later that year held a lecture and recital at the Confucian Academy of Michigan in the US. Most recently, she was invited to perform in Nice, France. Liu has had the privilege to perform with orchestras around the world including the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, and Nice Philharmonic Orchestra as well as held recitals in the US, UK, France, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Kuwait, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. In 2017, Liu performed under Maestro Tan Dun's baton in Melbourne and Sydney's Chinese New Year Celebration that was well received, and in 2018, Liu toured Beijing, Shenzhen, Hunan and Washington DC in Tan Dun's international Chinese New Year tour.

Wenwen Liu, is originally from Shandong, China and started her Suona education with her parents at six years old. Both of her parents are from Suona performance families that dates back to the end of the Ming dynasty, with a history of more than 300 years. Wenwen Liu currently studies with Chinese Suona master Ying Liu, and furthered her study at Shanghai Conservatory of Music. In 2013, she was selected into the master's program and became the first and only master degree holder of Suona Education.

Peking Opera Qingyi: Wenqing Lian

Ms. Wenqing Lian was the youngest live-in disciple of Peking Opera master Mei Baojiu.

Ms. Lian has performed all over the world and has toured in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, the United States and Europe. Her US tour in 2017 was reported and lauded by local media as "transporting the audience back to the classically unworldly beauty of centuries ago".

Enrolled in 2014 into the College of Chinese Opera of Shanghai Theater Academy as the top applicant, Ms. Lian now studies with Peking Opera artists Shen Yilang, Li Bingshu, Ma Xiaoman, Wang Jizhu and Kun Opera artists Wang Yingzi and Yu Bin. Ms. Lian performed Tan Dun's Farewell My Concubine with China National Symphony Orchestra in 2017, received critical acclaims.

Among the awards Ms. Lian has won is the Golden Flower Award of the professional category at the 14th Little Plum Blossom China Children's Chinese Opera Gala, and Bronze Prize of advanced Peking and Kun Opera group in the First National Youth Chinese Opera Competition (part of the Wenhua Art School Award). Since 2014, she has been for three consecutive years recipient of school scholarship and the Scholarship for the Inheritance and Protection of Peking and Kun Operas. In the same year, she was top among the gold medalists at the Second National Television Competition for Peking Opera Students hosted by CCTV.

Ms. Lian entered in 2007 Peking Opera Performanc faculty of Chinese Opera School Affiliated to Shanghai Theater Academy, studying Qingyi.

Ms. Lian has studied and performed the following Peking Operas: Silang Visits His Mother, Farewell My Concubine, The Qing Ding Pearl, Broken Bridge, Happiness Neither in Life Nor in Death, Yutangchun, Auspicious Dragon and Phoenix, The Unofficial History of Yang Taizhen and The Palace of Eternal Life, Return of the Phoenix, Marshall Mu Guiying, Dream in the Garden, The Gift of a Sword from Princess Baihua, among others.