The NCPA hosts symphony concert to celebrate International Women's Day
Updated 19:18, 08-Mar-2019
By Yu Fengsheng
02:05

The National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) has marked International Women's Day with a symphony concert that featured Eastern and Western classics and was directed by veteran female conductor, Zheng Xiaoying.

The program included several pieces on a distinctly female theme, including an excerpt from Bizet's "Carmen", the Overture from Verdi's "La Traviata", and an excerpt from Smetana's 'The Bartered Bride".

Conductor Zheng Xiaoying at a concert rehearsal. /VCG photo

Conductor Zheng Xiaoying at a concert rehearsal. /VCG photo

The line up was selected by conductor-for-the-night, Zheng Xiaoying, China's first-ever female symphony conductor. She said,"The concert is for International Women's Day, so when I was selecting the music, I wanted to choose something that would be appealing to our female friends. Tonight we feature many operas, which all tell the stories of women." 

The concert brought together several female soloists. This, Zheng hoped, would make the evening more memorable.

For the 90-year-old conductor, the occasion was an opportunity for the women involved – herself included – to give of their best. By doing so, they could deliver the message that there's no difference between men and women, when it comes to performing music.

Zheng Xiaoying conducts an orchestra onstage. / VCG photo

Zheng Xiaoying conducts an orchestra onstage. / VCG photo

"In my view, there's no gender difference when conducting music. Whether you're a male or a female artist, when you're on stage, you're the 'commander' of the orchestra. You have to be skilled at your job and do your best to direct the concert,"Zheng said.

"Today, there are many fine female conductors in China, but few of them are known to the public. They're highly accomplished and quite experienced as conductors, but they need more opportunities." 

Born in 1929 in Fujian Province, Zheng is a pioneer both as a woman and as a musician. She was the first Chinese conductor to take up the baton at several of the world's leading opera houses. She is also one of only a handful of female conductors active on the international stage today.