The world premieres of Tan Dun’s Fanfare Overture and Vocal Concerto: The Deer of Nine Colors were performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra and their Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin on their historic tour to China commemorating the 40th of official U.S.-China diplomatic relations from May 16-28, 2019. As the first American orchestra to perform in China in 1973, The Philadelphia Orchestra helped develop President Nixon’s personal request to form bridges of cultural exchange. Tan Dun heard The Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance on the radio while still a teenager in the countryside of Hunan, a life changing experience that inspired him to decide to pursue music professionally.
Fanfare Overture was specially commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra for the 2019 Tour, to honor Ambassador Nicholas Platt and written to commemorate those who have “dedicated their lives to their dreams” and those that continue to be in service of both China and the U.S.
Vocal Concerto: The Deer of Nine Colors was commissioned by China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts for the 40th official anniversary concert. The work was written for Chinese folk soprano Lei Jia, who portrays all five characters in the work and conveys each with a different vocalization and timbre – including Western bel canto, Chinese national folk singing, indigenous singing, and rapping – to culminate as both a national and international work. Based on one of the historic murals in Dunhuang’s Mogao Caves, the vocal concert tells the well-known story of the Deer of Nine Colors: compassion, betrayal, and final benevolence. The piece ultimately communicates hope for human nature, calling for a better and peaceful future.
Tour Concert Schedule
Beijing May 17 – Official Anniversary Concert, National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing
Beijing May 18 – “Deer of Nine Colors” World Premiere, National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing
Shanghai May 26 – “Deer of Nine Colors” Shanghai premiere, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Shanghai