Where East Meets West, Past Connects with Present
The Macao Orchestra (OM) is a professional ensemble under the auspices of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao S.A.R. Government. OM is now a distinguished orchestra of Asia, performing Chinese and Western classics throughout the times. It has also played a key role in the music and cultural life of Macao residents and overseas audiences.
In 1983, Father Áureo de Castro of the St. Pious X Academy of Music and a group of music lovers founded the Macao Chamber Orchestra. In 2001, the Macao Chamber Orchestra was extended into an orchestra with double winds; it was renamed the Macao Orchestra. Today, it has developed into a small-to-medium-sized orchestra of around 50 outstanding musicians from more than ten countries and regions. In 2008, Maestro Lu Jia commenced his tenure as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestra, initiating the convention of “Concert Seasons” and in each season 90 different concerts and outreach programme would be held, presenting to the public, comprehensively and systematically, classics from both Western and Chinese.
The Orchestra collaborates regularly with numerous internationally renowned musicians, conductors and ensembles including Plácido Domingo, Krystian Zimerman, Stephen Kovacevich, Boris Berezovsky, Leonidas Kavakos, Barry Douglas, Sergio Azzolini, Kirill Gerstein, Iván Martín, Yulianna Avdeeva, Henning Kraggerud, Stefan Vladar, Mario Brunello, Fou Ts’ong, Lang Lang, Yundi Li, Sarah Chang, Ning Feng, Jian Wang, Tan Dun, Daniel Oren, the Teatro Regio Torino, the English National Ballet, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Latvian National Opera, the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, and the Korean Chamber Orchestra, etc. In addition, OM has regularly been invited to perform in Mainland China and overseas, participating in the 2015 Austria Bruckner Festival as China’s representative and attending the music festival “La Folle Journee au Japon” in Japan 2016. In 2017 and 2019, the Orchestra also participated in the “Belt and Road” International Music Season in Shenzhen, leaving its footprints in at least 30 cities across China as well as Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, the U.S.A., Japan and Korea, etc. In March 2018, OM made its first tour in Myanmar for cultural exchange and in October of the same year the Orchestra participated in the Shanghai International Arts Festival, receiving acclaim from the audience with its exquisite performance and refined, subtle performance style while demonstrating Macao’s cultural achievements. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Macao’s Return to the Motherland, the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China, and the 80th Anniversary of the Premiere of the Yellow River Cantata, in November 2019, Macao Orchestra was invited by Beijing’s China NCPA Orchestra and the Zhuhai Huafa and CPAA Grand Theatre to take part in a concert featuring profoundly historic and contemporary Chinese works, thus honouring this much commemorable historic occasion.
Since 2018, the Orchestra has officially launched the “Young Audience Programme” to provide a variety of wonderful musical events for young people of different ages to enhance their appreciation of classical music. In addition, at community level, the Orchestra has held the “Music for All” concert series, bringing music to campuses, communities and disadvantaged groups, thus greatly expanding the target audience for classical music, and even helping younger talents to realise their musical dreams.