Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lu Shao-chia accepts appointment as next music director of National Symphony Orchestra

By Nancy T. Lu

The Germany-based Lu Shao-chia, who has been pursuing a successful conducting career primarily in Europe for years, has been appointed the new music director of Philharmonia Taiwan, the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, R.O.C., effective August next year, announced the NSO yesterday.

Lu formally signed a five-year contract with the NSO yesterday. He will be the music director designate of the orchestra from August 2009 to June 2010. During this period, he will bring the orchestra to Hong Kong.

Lu said yesterday that the excellent terms of the job offer made it irresistible to accept. His appointment will entail his spending 12 weeks each year with the NSO. He will be responsible for drawing up the orchestra’s concert programs and will take charge of inviting guest musicians, including guest conductors, to collaborate with the orchestra.

For years, Lu constantly received overtures, seeking his return to his homeland to guide the growth and development of a local orchestra. The NSO found a rival for Lu’s professional service in the Taipei Symphony Orchestra. The Taipei orchestra was where Lu first started out as a protégé of conductor Chen Chiu-sen.

Lu, Taiwan’s pride, was winner of the Concours Internationale Jeunesse Chef d’Orchestre in Besancon, France, in 1988. He also topped the Concorso Internazionale per Direttori d’Orchestra Antonio Pedrotti in Trento, Italy, in 1991. He went on to cap his series of triumphs with the top award at the Kirill Kondrashin Young Conductors Competition in Amsterdam in 1994.

“My happy guest conducting days would soon come to an end,” Lu remarked. “But after three years of freelancing, I have decided that it is time to face a new challenge. I believe in moving forward, not looking back.”

The great joy in Taiwan’s arts circle over the announcement was reason for Lu, long considered an excellent candidate to lead a local orchestra, to feel intimidated by the pressure to deliver, he said. But the news pleasantly capped his “years of happy collaboration with the NSO,” he said.

Lu is in Taipei to conduct the NSO in two concerts. “Miraculously Poetic Music” at the National Concert Hall in Taipei on June 7 will feature a program to include Debussy’s “Jeux poeme dansee,” Bloch’s “Schelomo: Hebraic Rhapsody,” Mahler’s “Adagio from Symphony No. 10” and Bartok’s “The Miraculous Mandarin Suite, Op. 19.” Gautier Capucon will be the cello soloist.

“Pastorale” on June 11 will highlight a repertoire consisting of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 6 in F Major – ‘Pastorale,’ Op. 68” and Brahms’ “Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25, arranged by A. Schonberg.”

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