Tan Dun leads Concertgebouw Orchestra in world premiere of ‘Requiem for Nature’

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at de Gashouder in 2022 – ©  Marcel Molle

This year’s Holland Festival closes with the world premiere of Tan Dun’s Requiem for Nature at the Westergas-Gashouder in Amsterdam, in which the composer leads the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Lauren Symfonisch and soloists from several parts of East-Asia.

The Holland Festival is the oldest and largest performing arts festival in the Netherlands. Taking place in Amsterdam every June, the Festival has, since 1947, been providing Dutch and international theatregoers with some of the most widely acclaimed theatrical, musical, operatic and modern dance productions, and in recent years the roster has been expanded to include multimedia, visual arts, film and architecture.

Tan Dun’s six-movement Requiem for Nature is a work for orchestra, chorus and soloists, which was developed in close collaboration with the Concertgebouw Orchestra’s creative partner Pierre Audi – with whom Tan Dun has worked on several occasions. Inspired by ancient murals in the Mogul Caves in Dunhuang, China, this ode to Earth mourns the demise of nature caused by human action, and asks how can we restore the relationship between nature and humankind.

The Requiem for Nature combines arrangements of sections from Tan Dun’s 2018 work Buddha Passion with newly composed movements. Although created in the Western tradition, it is based on Buddhist rather than Christian texts, and will be sung in English, Mongolian, Tibetan, Cantonese and Sanskrit, with English surtitles. The Los Angeles Times writes: “Theatrical [and] ritualistic, Tan Dun’s music sculpts sound and transforms everything into a riveting experience that is hard to define but very easy to appreciate”.

Tan Dun – courtesy Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

The music of UNESCO Global Goodwill Ambassador Tan Dun covers the classical, multimedia, Eastern and Western genres, for which he has been recognised with a Grammy, an Oscar, a Grawemeyer, a Shostakovich award, the Bach Prize and Italy’s Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement. His music has been played the world over by leading orchestras and opera houses, at international festivals, on radio and television, and Tan Dun has led prestigious ensembles such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Japan’s NHK Symphony Orchestra.

In these final concerts of The Holland Festival, Tan Dun leads the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and soloists soprano Candice Chung from Hong Kong, Tibetan indigenous soprano Jiangfan Yong, Chinese pipa player Han Yan, Mongolian khoomai bass (throat singer) and morin khuur (horse-head fiddle) player Hasibagen, together with the choir of the Laurens Symfonisch, in performances of his Requiem for Nature at the Westergas-Gashouder in Amsterdam on June 30th and July 1st. For further information and tickets, visit the website of the Concertgebouw Orchestra or the Holland Festival website.

Information sourced from:

Concertgebouworkest program notes

Holland Festival

Tan Dun

ArtsPreview home page

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