TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Acclaimed conductor Lu Shao-chia (呂紹嘉), music director of Taiwan's National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), on Saturday (June 20) marked the end of his 10-year tenure with a farewell concert at the National Concert Hall.
The concert, titled "Lu & Mahler 9," attracted a sold-out crowd of more than 500 music lovers Saturday evening, including many who drove all the way from southern Taiwan to witness Lu's brilliance. Newly appointed Minister of Culture Li Yong-de (李永得), his wife, Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), and Cloud Gate Dance Theater founder Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) were also in attendance, according to Radio Taiwan International.
In the first half of the concert, the orchestra performed Haydn's Symphony No. 45, also known as the "Farewell Symphony," as a tribute to Lu's contributions to the island nation's music culture over the last decade. The beloved director went on to conduct Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 9 for the third time in his career later in the performance, paralleling his NSO departure and the Austro-Bohemian composer's farewell to the world.
At the end of the concert, Lu expressed his gratitude for Taiwanese music lovers' constant support. He said that he regretted not being able to converse with the audience but that the concert pieces had conveyed all his thoughts and feelings.
The 60-year old music guru was born in Hsinchu County and launched his career in Germany after graduating from Vienna's Hochschule fur Musik und Darstellende Kunst in 1991. Besides the NSO, he has conducted the Orchestre National de France, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Norwegian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Italy's Orchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia.
Although Lu is set to leave his music director position at the NSO, he will remain at the music company for another year and serve as an advisor for his successor, who has yet to be announced, according to CNA.
NSO plays to sold-out crowd at Sunday's concert. (CNA photo)