Nai-Chung Kuan & Joel Hoffman: Chinese Orchestral Works Cho-Liang Lin, Taipei Chinese Orchestra & Li-Pin Cheng

Cover Nai-Chung Kuan & Joel Hoffman: Chinese Orchestral Works

Album info



Label: Naxos

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Orchestral

Artist: Cho-Liang Lin, Taipei Chinese Orchestra & Li-Pin Cheng

Composer: Joel Hoffman (1953), Nai-Chung Kuan (1939)

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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  • Nai-Chung Kuan (b. 1939): Memory of Mountain (Version for Violin & Chinese Orchestra):
  • 1Memory of Mountain (Version for Violin & Chinese Orchestra): I. The Sacred Tree in the Fog08:28
  • 2Memory of Mountain (Version for Violin & Chinese Orchestra): II. The Train in the Mountain Forest10:28
  • 3Memory of Mountain (Version for Violin & Chinese Orchestra): III. Celebrating a Good Harvest Year10:55
  • Joel Hoffman (b. 1953):
  • 4Nautilus Symmetry25:06
  • Joel Hoffman: Violin Concerto No. 2 "Snow in Spring":
  • 5Violin Concerto No. 2 "Snow in Spring": I. Andante13:05
  • 6Violin Concerto No. 2 "Snow in Spring": II. Allegro09:29
  • Total Runtime01:17:31

Info for Nai-Chung Kuan & Joel Hoffman: Chinese Orchestral Works

Nai-Chung Kuan’s Memory of Mountain, originally a banhu concerto and here recast for the violin, is inspired by the magnificent scenery and culture of Taiwan’s Alishan mountains, and explores three scenic topics employing native instruments to great effect. Joel Hoffman’s music draws from such diverse sources as Eastern European folk music and American bebop, remaining full of lyricism and rhythmic vitality. Nautilus Symmetry, his first work for full Chinese orchestra, and Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘Snow in Spring’, display a love of plucked string instruments and traditional Chinese melodies expressed in a style that is recognisably his own.

"Two Violin Concertos from two very different cultures offer an interesting juxtaposition in both the background and origins of their respective composers.

Born in 1939, Nai-Chung Kuan, studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in his native city of Beijing, his output of works include four symphonies and twenty concertos for various instruments. The work recorded here, originally for the Banhu, a Chinese bowed string instrument, was arranged by the composer in 2016 for the Violin and Chinese Orchestra. For classical music concert-goers, the concerto you will hear is a highly attractive score of Western influences, the soloist offered an ample display of virtuosity. Cast as three picture movements, it reflects the impression made on the composer by a mountain range on a visit to Taiwan, the original score completed in 1991. After a rather conventional opening movement, the ‘scherzo’ is a fun piece reflecting the train passing through the mountains, while the finale is a joyous Celebration of a Good Harvest Year. By contrast, Joel Hoffman was born in 1953 in Vancouver, Canada, and musically educated in New York. As a composer he has been drawn to Chinese music, a country where he has spent some time as guest professor at the Beijing Conservatoire. He stresses that the Second Violin Concerto, ‘Snow in Spring’, is not by a Western composer writing for a Chinese Orchestra, but rather an example of ‘East meets West’. The result is often oriental without sounding contrived. In two contrasting movements, the opening Andante is balanced by the agile Allegro that finds the soloist, Cho-Liang Lin, obviously enjoying the work’s demands. Also from 2018 is the Nautilus Symphony, its name taken from the symmetry of the marking on the marine mollusk’s shell. Here he is overtaken by Chinese influences, and particularly in the use of a Chinese orchestra, and we hear that quality from the outstanding Taipei Chinese Orchestra with the much travelled Taiwan conductor, Li-Pin Cheng. Good recorded sound." (David’s Review Corner)

Cho-Liang Lin, violin (tracks 1–3, 5–6)
Taipei Chinese Orchestra
Li-Pin Cheng, conductor

Cho-Liang Lin
was born in Taiwan. A neighbour’s violin studies convinced this 5-year old boy to do the same. At the age twelve, he moved to Sydney to further his studies with Robert Pikler, a student of Jenő Hubay. After playing for Itzhak Perlman in a master class, the 13-year old boy decided that he must study with Mr. Perlman’s teacher, Dorothy DeLay. At the age fifteen, Lin traveled alone to New York and auditioned for the Juilliard School and spent the next six years working with Ms DeLay.

A concert career was launched in 1980 with Lin’s debut playing the Mendelssohn Concerto with the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta . He has since performed as soloist with virtually every major orchestra in the world. His busy schedule on stage around the world continues to this day. However, his wide ranging interests have led him to diverse endeavours. At the age of 31, his alma mater, Juilliard School, invited Lin to become faculty. In 2006, he was appointed professor at Rice University. He is currently music director of La Jolla SummerFest and the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival. Ever so keen about education, he was music director of the Taiwan National Symphony music camp and youth orchestra for four years.

In his various professional capacities, Cho-Liang Lin has championed composers of our time. His efforts to commission new works have led a diverse field of composers to write for him. The list includes John Harbison, Christopher Rouse, Tan Dun, John Williams, Steven Stucky, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Bright Sheng, Paul Schoenfield, Lalo Schifrin, Joan Tower and many more. Recently, he was soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Nashville Symphony and Royal Philharmonic.

Lin performs on the 1715 Stradivari named “Titian” or a 2000 Samuel Zygmuntowicz. His many concerto, recital and chamber music recordings on Sony Classical, Decca, BIS, Delos and Ondine can be heard on Spotify or His albums have won Gramophone Record Of The Year, Grammy nominations and Penguin Guide Rosettes.

Booklet for Nai-Chung Kuan & Joel Hoffman: Chinese Orchestral Works

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