The Violin Channel recently caught up with acclaimed Chinese composer Zhao Jiping.
We sat him down to discuss his newly-unveiled Violin Concerto No. 1, which recently received its US premiere performance by Chinese violin virtuoso Ning Feng, conductor Lu Jia and the China NCPA Orchestra – as part of the ensemble’s 6-city US tour.
NING FENG | ZHAO JIPING VIOLIN CONCERTO NO. 1 | LU JIA & CHINA NCPA ORCHESTRA | 2017 US PREMIERE
What was your core idea or emotion you wanted to instill in this work?
“I wrote this Violin Concerto to convey a “universal love” that is so strong among the people in China. I wanted to create a work that would embody their friendly and loving sprit and give this spirit a musical voice. I strongly believe that beautiful things upon this earth can only be achieved through friendship and love, so I decided to define the core theme as “The Human Pursuit of Everlasting Peace and Universal Love”.”
How would you describe the process for composing the new Concerto?
“This concerto was a decade-long labor of love—I was constantly building and developing new ideas. When I met with NCPA’s President, Chen Ping, and we discussed the tour and talked about soloists, I knew I had the perfect collaborators, violinist Ning Feng and the China NCPA, to inspire me to finish the work and bring the Violin Concerto to life.”
Were there any works of existing concerti that inspired you or you drew thematic or structural inspiration from?
“While the structure of this work is based upon the principles of the Western concerto there have been certain adjustments and the aesthetics of the Chinese musical tradition are woven into the piece. During one of the rehearsals with Ning Feng, we talked about the feeling that there was a shadow of Peking Opera on the concerto. Although the melody is nothing like the ones directly found in Peking Opera, there is a creative expression stemming out from the very heart of the work that speaks a very Chinese musical language.”
What do you feel a violin virtuoso such as Ning Feng is able to bring to your creation?
“Ning Feng is an outstanding violinist; a renowned performer around the world. I have to admit that the way he worked on the violin scores after receiving them, arranging the fingering and the bow techniques, went far beyond my expectations. His subtle, exquisite performance has reached levels I could have never imagined: he has provided this concerto with the wings it needs to fly high around the world.”
Can you describe the new Concerto in just 3 words?
“Peace, pursuit and love.”
Catch Maestro Lu Jia and the NPCA Orchestra: Saturday 28th October – Chicago Symphony Center, Chicago | Monday 30th October – Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium, New York | Wednesday 1st November – Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia | Thursday 2nd November – The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Memorial Hall, Chapel Hill | Saturday 5th November – Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco | Tuesday 7th November – University of Michigan, Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor