The Chinese Bamboo Flute Orchestra

THE CHINESE BAMBOO FLUTE ORCHESTRA

Conceived of and directed by Zhang Weiliang, celebrated bamboo flute player and one of the acknowledged international masters of Chinese traditional music, the Chinese Bamboo Flute Orchestra is the first ensemble of its kind in the world. A resident ensemble at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing, the pre-eminent conservatoire for traditional Chinese instruments, Maestro Zhang has created a repertoire that includes original works by today’s most significant Chinese composers as well a growing number of celebrated Western composers. The Ensemble has for mission to play works that incorporate and preserve many elements of Chinese traditional music in captivating, enchanting arrangements and transcriptions.

In 2014, as part of an international partnership with China, London’s Philharmonia developed a relationship with the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing – performing a joint concert with the Bamboo Flute Orchestra, led by the inspirational Professor Zhang both in China and at the Southbank Center in London.

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Chinese Bamboo Flute Orchestra

The musicians of the Chinese Bamboo Flute Orchestra, who are mainly young conservatory teachers, have won numerous instrumental competition awards in China and abroad. Their repertoire ranges from traditional Chinese folk music and Chinese opera music to contemporary Chinese and international classical music.

The Beijing Bamboo Flute Orchestra has become one of the most dynamic and technically impressive orchestras in China. Under the strong leadership of Professor Zhang Weiliang, the ensemble has achieved international acclaim. They have recorded several CDs and have performed in the United States, France, Portugal, Australia, and in Asia and Africa. In May 2014, the orchestra was invited to perform at the Southbank Center in London joined by musicians of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

The Chinese bamboo flute Orchestra is part of the China Conservatory of Music flute Art Research Centre. The Centre’s role is to ensure the highest level of creation and performance of the bamboo flute as a musical art form. Within this structure, the Chinese Bamboo Flute Orchestra explores the bamboo flute as an instrument in performance as well as a subject of theoretical research and practice.

The study and exploration of many varying styles and different characteristics of the bamboo flute are encouraged and all composers are able to make use of the orchestra as a platform in the creative field of the bamboo flute. The orchestra welcomes innovation, whether it is through the theory, or in the performance of its wonderful musicians. It believes that by constantly summarizing and exploring the development of the art of the bamboo flute, as well as the characteristics, styles and genres of music performed, the orchestra will be able to communicate with a wider range of musicians at home and abroad.

The bamboo flute has been the accompaniment of traditional Chinese Opera and Orchestra since ancient times. The practice of solo flute performance was only established in the middle of the 20th century. The elder generation of flute players such as Feng Zicun, Liu Guanle, Zhao Songting and Lu Chunling have raised the bar for the art of the bamboo flute to unprecedented heights.

Since the tradition of the bamboo flute has been historically limited to solo and small ensemble music for the theater, the presence of large-size multiple-voice ensemble music for bamboo flutes both in the past and the present, both within and outside of China, is still very much in its embryonic state. The China Conservatory’s Art Research Centre promotes bold exploration in this area with the aim of creating new colors and sounds, thus participating in the broad historical evolution of music on the global stage.

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