China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra – Night One

Friday 24 March, 8pm Emirates Palace Auditorium


Date Friday 24 March, 8pm
Venue Emirates Palace Auditorium

China’s NCPA Orchestra is one of Asia’s finest orchestras. In their Arab World Debut conducted by Maestro Yi Zhang, the orchestra will present two sublime concerts. Night one features Tchaikovsky’s Slavonic March, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 with pianist Haochen Zhang and Dvořák Symphony No. 9 in E Minor.

Download Abu Dhabi Festival’s music notes for this concert here


China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra

Residents of the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, NCPA Orchestra was established in March 2010 and performs in more than a dozen of its home venue’s opera productions every year, as well as in regular orchestral concerts in its own season.

The orchestra has gained critical acclaim for its performances in NCPA’s. In its orchestral concert season, it has consistently presented creative and diverse programmes. Their performance of the mammoth Ring without Words with its creator, Lorin Maazel, was released on SONY Classics worldwide, becoming the only recording the great maestro ever made with a Chinese orchestra. The orchestra has also extensively explored the dynamic world of contemporary music, giving the Chinese premieres of works by masters such as Toru Takemitsu and Giya Kancheli, and the world premieres of  works by some of the greatest composers working today, including Michael Gordon and Augusta Read Thomas,

The NCPA Orchestra has flexed its wings on the international stage, receiving widespread international praise for its performances at the Kissingen Summer Music Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and concerts across Germany, as well as in Sydney, Singapore, Seoul, Daegu, Taipei and Macau. During the 2014/15 season, the orchestra undertook its first North American tour, where it performed in seven major cities in the US and Canada, under the baton of LÜ Jia.

Artists associated with the orchestra included Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Myung-Wha Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Fabio Luisi, Lang Lang, Stephen Kovacevich, Leo Nucci and Yuja Wang, among many others. Lorin Maazel worked closely with the orchestra before his passing and praised the musicians for their “amazing professionalism and great passion”.

Yi Zhang

Yi Zhang is one of the most influential young conductors in China, serving as Music Director, Chief Conductor and Deputy Director of the National Ballet of China.

He learnt to play the violin aged five and was later admitted to the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music, where he was taught by Professor Xu Xin and Professor Ji Ruikai. In 2003, he obtained his Master’s degree from the Saarbrücken HFM: Hochschule für Musik Saar, where he studied under the renowned German conductor Professor Max Pommer.

Yi Zhang has conducted hundreds of concerts, operas and ballets. During the past two decades, he has collaborated with many orchestras home and abroad, including China National Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Colonne, Paris and Württemberg Chamber Orchestra.

He has also collaborated with numerous prestigious artists from Emmanuel Pahud, Wenzel Fuchs, Renaud Capuçon and Jean-Yves Thibaudet to Myung-wha Chung, Sarah Chang, Lang Lang, Chen Sa, Ning Feng and Qin Liwei.

Striving to make more Chinese music and musicians known worldwide, Yi Zhang conducted the recording of Ye Xiaogang’s symphony works New Music from China with Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2002, released by Wergo (Germany). In 2013, he recorded works by Britten with London Philharmonic Orchestra and cellist Qin Liwei.

Fascinated by modern music, he has conducted many world premieres of Chinese and foreign works. In recognition of this dedication to contemporary compositions, he won the Award for Outstanding Contribution at the Beijing Modern Music Festival in May 2012.

Haochen Zhang

Since his gold medal win at the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009, 25-year-old Chinese pianist Haochen Zhang has captivated audiences in the United States, Europe, and Asia with a unique combination of deep musical sensitivity, fearless imagination and spectacular virtuosity.

Haochen returned to Fort Worth as part of the 2010–2011 Cliburn Concerts series.  His performance was lauded by the Dallas Morning News as “the kind of program you’d expect from a seasoned master, served up with dazzling virtuosity where wanted and astonishing sophistication elsewhere” and hailed as one of the top 10 performances of 2010 by both the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. That same season he made his debut on Boston’s Celebrity Series. He has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Sydney Symphony, London Philharmonic, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Haochen is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he studied under Gary Graffman. He previously trained at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Shenzhen Arts School, where he study with Professor Dan Zhaoyi.


Diamond AED 350, Pearl AED 250, Balcony AED 125
Students 50% off (except Mozart & Son)
Special ticket packages available for groups of 10 or more, call the ticketing hotline.

Returned tickets may be available one hour before concerts in the Emirates Palace Auditorium; please check with the ticket desk in the foyer. Abu Dhabi Festival management cannot guarantee the availability of returned tickets.