CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
National Traditional Orchestra of China plays in Hancher Feb. 28
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The National Traditional Orchestra of China, featuring
Naumburg Cello Competition winner Hai-Ye Ni, will perform at 8 p.m. Friday,
Feb. 28, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus as part of
the ensemble's first North American tour. The concert is part of the 1996-97
Holiday Inn World Beat Series.
A representative of the orchestra will present a pre-performance discussion
7 p.m. in the Hancher greenroom. The discussion is open to all performance
ticketholders on a first-come, first-served basis.
The varied program will include a new concerto for cello and traditional
Chinese instruments by Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng, commissioned
for a performance by Yo-Yo Ma with the National Traditional Orchestra of China
at the ensemble's New York debut.
Ma personally selected Shanghai native Ni, the youngest winner ever in the
Naumburg competition and also the winner of the top prize in the Tchaikovsky
Competition, to play the piece on the orchestra's tour.
Sheng's work is not new to Hancher audiences. Several years ago Hancher commissioned
a Sheng string quartet, which was performed in Hancher by Hungary's Takacs
Quartet. That piece reflected the folk music he encountered while his family
was in internal exile during the Cultural Revolution.
Sheng combines Chinese and Western elements in a style that has been hailed
as an eloquent expression of Chinese and cross-cultural experience.
The National Traditional Orchestra of China, with conductor Hu Bingxu, is
a Western-style orchestral ensemble composed of traditional Chinese instruments.
Instead of the violins, cellos, clarinets, trumpets and tympani familiar
in Western orchestras, the National Traditional Orchestra of China features
sections of the ehru, a bowed string instrument; the lute-like pipa; the yangqin,
the Chinese version of the hammered dulcimer; and Chinese wind instruments
including the bamboo-flute di, the sheng and the trumpet-like suona; as well
as a variety of gongs, drums and bells.
The orchestra includes some of China's finest players on these ancient instruments,
assembled by the China Central Ensemble of National Music, the nation's largest
and most prestigious organization devoted to the performance of Chinese folk
The National Traditional Orchestra of China was founded in 1960 to preserve
the richness and variety of China's ancient folk-music traditions and to serve
as a way to bring this music to contemporary audiences.
The orchestra has been warmly received, not only in China and other Asian
countries, but also in tours of France, Sweden and Russia.
Tickets for the National Traditional Orchestra of China are $28, $24 and
$22. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with
Zone 3 tickets available to UI students for the special price of $10. Tickets
for audience members 17 and younger are half price.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319)
335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER.
Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American
Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills,
and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should
dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel
prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and
seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with
TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
Further information about this event is available on Hancher's World Wide
Web homepage, at <http://www.uiowa.edu:80/~hancher/>.
Holiday Inn of Iowa City is the corporate sponsor of the 1996-97 World Beat
series, through the University of Iowa Foundation.