The China NCPA Orchestra performed in the world premiere of the 23-minute cinematic-musical production, See Me: A Global Concert, which opened the World Economic Forum on Jan 24.
Marin Alsop, one of the world's most acclaimed conductors and winner of the World Economic Forum's Crystal Award, initiated the international collaborative effort.
Filmed in different locations over the fall and winter of 2020 despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, the production features cellist Yo-Yo Ma; the Chamber Orchestra of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music; the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra; the Choir of the State Orchestra of Sao Paulo; the Orchestra della Toscana of Italy; the Drakensberg Boys Choir of South Africa; the China NCPA Orchestra; and US sand artist Jim Denevan.
"This project is intended as a shared expression of trust and connection in these tough times," says Nico Daswani, head of arts and culture for the forum and executive producer of the film.
"We are so grateful to the hundreds of artists, musicians and film teams, who took a leap of faith and collaborated across borders to make this beautiful film together."
Under the baton of Chinese conductor Chen Lin, the China NCPA Orchestra performed the fourth and fifth movements of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No 6, which is also known as Pastoral Symphony.
China NCPA Orchestra director Ren Xiaolong says the orchestra received the invitation to perform during the World Economic Forum's opening ceremony in August 2020, and the performance was filmed at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing in November 2020.
"The year 2020 celebrated the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, and his Symphony No 6 is an expression of nature," Ren says.
"The fourth movement depicts a violent thunderstorm while the last movement ends on a tranquil note. The music brings the spirit of … hope, especially during this difficult time."
He adds that conductor Marin was scheduled to visit the NCPA in September 2020, but the trip was canceled due to the pandemic.
"It was her idea to have female conductors and symphony orchestras from around the world perform Beethoven's music works last year, but the project was unfortunately postponed," Ren says.
On Nov 12, the China NCPA Orchestra announced its 2020-21 season at the NCPA in Beijing. It's the orchestra's 10th season and features programs presenting music by Beethoven and Gustav Mahler, among others, as well as the world premieres of Chinese composers' works.
The season kicked off with concerts at the NCPA on Nov 12 and Nov 14, featuring the orchestra performing Beethoven's epic piece, Incidental Music to Goethe's Egmont, Op 84, under conductor Lyu Jia's baton.
"Since we're still going through the pandemic, we want to bring music to people as much as possible because music has the power to heal and comfort," Ren says.