Weiwuying General and Artistic Director Chien Wen-pin (front row, fifth right) and representatives of groups in the programs the arts center produces are pictured at a news conference in Kaohsiung on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Weiwuying
Actors perform a scene from "Whale Island" at a news conference in Taipei on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of National Theater and Concert Hall
Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, also known locally as Weiwuying, recently unveiled its major programs for the first half of 2023, touting exclusive performances and two music festivals in spring.
Weiwuying will present 34 programs it is producing or co-producing, with up to 19 held exclusively at the arts center, its General and Artistic Director Chien Wen-pin (簡文彬) said at a news conference in Kaohsiung on Tuesday.
The arts center will begin 2023 with a live broadcast of the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's Concert on Jan. 1, the 15th year the event is to be held at Weiwuying, a former military facility before construction of the arts center began on the site in 2010.
A series of free performances will take place in open spaces or public areas from Jan. 24-26 for visitors during the Lunar New Year holiday, including Zhen Zong Culture & Art Performance Troupe's "Dragon and Lion Dance with Drum Beats in Celebration of the New Year," Chien said.
In February, Weiwuying will present its second "Master Play" concert, focusing on works by late singer-songwriter Ang It-hong (洪一峰), who has been dubbed the "King of Formosan Music" for his songs written in Hokkien, according to Weiwuying.
Golden Melody Award-winning singer Henry Hsu (許富凱) will perform Ang's songs, with Chien conducting the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra, on Feb. 4-5.
Following the success of its 24-hour event playing Franz Schubert's music earlier this year, Weiwuying will hold a "musical marathon" of works composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on Feb. 11-12 in its Concert Hall and Recital Hall, along with talks to introduce the "child prodigy" to the public, it said.
In March and April, the arts center will hold the Weiwuying Organ Festival and the Weiwuying International Music Festival, respectively, it said.
Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna is this year's curator of the organ festival and will headline the event featuring the largest pipe organ in Asia at Weiwuying, the arts center said.
For the second edition of the international music festival, the event's artistic director, South Korean composer Unsuk Chin, plans performances including Western classical music and works by Swedish composer Anders Hillborg.
In May, Weiwuying will host two contemporary dance works -- the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre's 1978 piece "Legacy" by group founder Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) to mark the dance troupe's 50th anniversary, and Israeli choreographer Yuval Pick's "Vocabulary of Need" created with Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita in D minor, BWV 1004, according to the arts center.
In June, "Whale Island" will tell the audience a "mythical epic" based on the history and environment of Taiwan in a theatrical work featuring traditional Nanguan and Beiguan music, as well as puppetry. It is a joint production by Weiwuying, National Theater and Concert Hall in Taipei and National Taichung Theater.
Meanwhile, Weiwuying will present two exclusive programs in June -- two concerts by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and two performances of "Dragons" by South Korean choreographer Ahn Eun-me, Chien said.
Chien also offered a peek into programming for the second half of next year, when Weiwuying will celebrates its fifth anniversary, including a children's music festival in July, opera "Der Freischütz" written by Carl Maria von Weber in September, and concerts by the Gewandhausorchester from Leipzig, Germany in November.
Information on Weiwuying's upcoming programs can be found on its website. In addition, from Dec. 15 the arts center is offering members a 25 percent discount on tickets to the programs it produces, and a 20 percent discount for the general public from Dec. 22. Both discounts will be available until Jan. 8.
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