“… vor allem bei Schostakowitsch’ Symphonie Nr. 5 d-moll war das Ergebnis mitreißend: Es geriet eine Orchestermaschine ins Arbeiten, mit fliegenden Bögenund wuchtigem Wollen, deren Produkt auf (fast) ganzer Linie überzeugen konnte. Da brauchtes kein gut gemeintes westliches Wohlwollen: Das Orchester hat seinen Platz im Konzerthaus wohl verdient. ” ─ Kurier, 2017
Founded in 1986, the Taiwan Philharmonic, also known as the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) at home, has been hailed as one of the best orchestras in Asia. With some of the finest musical talent from at home and abroad, trained at top schools and international orchestras, the NSO enjoys a unique voice rich in diversity and tradition. Under the leadership of Jun Märkl as the artistic advisor since August 2021 and the music director since January 2022, the NSO aspires to resonate throughout the world as the cultural ambassador of Taiwan. Music by Taiwanese composers is extensively commissioned, performed, and recorded by the NSO.
As the orchestra affiliated with the National Performing Arts Center, the NSO presents a 40-week season of approximately 80 events - concerts, chamber recitals, operas, and crossover productions. Performing not only for audiences throughout Taiwan, the NSO also tours regularly overseas, having performed in such musical centers as Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Milan, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Los Angeles, and many other cities.
The NSO has worked with internationally acclaimed conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Rudolf Barshai, Sir Neville Marriner, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Christopher Hogwood, Leonard Slatkin, and Osmo Vänskä; with singers Mirella Freni, Ileana Cotrubaș, Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, Bryn Terfel, and Thomas Hampson; with instrumental soloists Ivo Pogorelić, Daniil Trifonov, and Mstislav Rostropovich; and with composers Krzysztof Penderecki, Jörg Widmann, Qigang Chen, and Brett Dean.
In addition to producing Wagner’s complete cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen in both 2006 and 2016, the NSO’s operatic endeavors have extended to nearly 30 productions including Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, and Così fan tutte; Wagner’s Parsifal, Verdi’s Otello and Falstaff, Puccini’s Tosca, La bohème, Madama Butterfly, and Il trittico, Strauss’s Salome and Der Rosenkavalier, and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. Crossover productions loved by audiences and praised by critics include the musical On the Road and Qian Yi’s installation opera Paradise Interrupted.
Members of the NSO present extensive programs of chamber music, often joining with prominent musicians in residence with the orchestra such as pianist Kun-Woo Paik; clarinetist, composer, and conductor Jörg Widmann; composer, violist, and conductor Brett Dean; and violinist Paul Huang, as well as with visiting groups and instrumentalists like the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, cellist Wen-Sinn Yang, violinists Ray Chen and Richard Lin, and horn player Radovan Vlatković. The NSO has also worked with dance companies such as the Royal Ballet, the Kiev National Ballet, and the Bolshoi Ballet.
In addition to its performances in concert halls and opera houses, members of the NSO also offer musical events at nursing homes, mountain villages, and underprivileged communities all over Taiwan. Mobilizing resources from private sectors, the NSO organizes over 100 outreach activities annually for more than 10,000 participants of all ages and all kinds of groups in Taiwan. Their work at schools goes beyond just professional training to include artistic participation and cultural leadership, earning them a young audience and demonstrating a social responsibility exceptional for a classical orchestra.