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New England Philharmonic Enters New Era With Appointment Of Tianhui Ng As Music Director

His selection was the culmination of a search process that began during the pandemic-induced pause in performances and continued through the 2021-22 season.

New England Philharmonic Enters New Era With Appointment Of Tianhui Ng As Music Director

The New England Philharmonic, an award-winning Boston-based orchestra dedicated to "Innovation and Tradition in Concert," will begin its 46th season this fall under the leadership of a new Music Director, Tianhui Ng. His selection was the culmination of a search process that began during the pandemic-induced pause in performances and continued through the 2021-22 season, which saw the orchestra return to the stage for five concerts, four of them led by finalists for the position.

In announcing selection of the new Music Director, John Kessen, President of the Board of Directors, said, "We are thrilled to welcome Tian as the next Music Director of the NEP. His passion for the music of living composers, his creativity, and his joy of music making offer endless possibilities for the NEP. We are looking forward to his inaugural season."

For Tian, working with the NEP "presents a rare opportunity to share the riches of the music of our time with audiences at large, where the orchestra's commitment and palpable love of this music is excitingly infectious."

A.Z. Madonna wrote in the Boston Globe about his audition concert with the NEP: "It was Ng's introductory remarks that leveled up the experience of [Sofía Rocha's] Replier from great to unforgettable. . . . His choice of what was most important to preview in each piece struck me as especially helpful. . . . As an audience member, I can say I would have learned to listen to music that struck me as 'difficult' much sooner had I known someone like Ng clearing a path through the thicket."

The mission of the New England Philharmonic, a volunteer orchestra, is to foster the composition and the appreciation of contemporary classical music by performing commissions and recent works alongside traditional repertoire in concerts that engage and electrify audiences.

From its inception in 1976 as the Mystic Valley Chamber Orchestra, the orchestra now known as the New England Philharmonic has demonstrated a consistent commitment to the music of its own time. Under its first three music directors, Charles Ellis (1977-80), Ronald Feldman (1983-88), and Jeffrey Rink (1988-99), the group became a full symphony orchestra, gained a new name, and introduced signature programs, appointing a Composer-in-Residence and inaugurating the annual Call for Scores.

During more than twenty years with Richard Pittman as Music Director (concluding in 2020), the NEP extended its commitment to new music and gained a wider reputation for the quality of its performances. Highlights of Pittman's tenure were performances of a local or world premiere on nearly every program, including a new commissioned work each season, along with presentations of works by musical masters from Beethoven to Bartók, Mahler and Stravinsky to Elliott Carter and Thea Musgrave. In 2012 the Boston Globe named NEP's Britten War Requiem as one of the ten best classical music performances of the year. In 2013 the NEP was awarded its ninth ASCAP award for adventurous programming.

Among the orchestra's past Composers-in-Residence are Robert Kyr, Richard Cornell, Marjorie Merryman, Michael Gandolfi, Andy Vores, Peter Child, and David Rakowski. In 2019 the NEP welcomed Eric Nathan as the current Composer-in-Residence.

As we enter our 46th season with a new Music Director, we renew our pledge to present the best music of the past, present, and future. Imaginative concert programming and the Young Artist Competition, Call for Scores, and Composer-in-Residence programs continue to distinguish the NEP from its peers, and the orchestra continues to thrive on those moments when performers, composers, and audiences share the same time and space.

Tianhui Ng, newly appointed Music Director of the New England Philharmonic, is also the Music Director of the Pioneer Valley Symphony, the Victory Players, White Snake Projects, and is Director of Orchestral Studies at Mount Holyoke College.

Tian has conducted orchestras around the world including the Savaria Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), Dartington Festival Orchestra (UK), Orchestra of the Royal Opera of Wallonie (Belgium), and the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra (USA). A versatile musician, he is equally at home in the realm of choral music and has conducted ensembles like the Stuttgart Chamber Choir (Germany), Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus (USA), Oregon Bach Festival Chorus (USA), Yale Schola Cantorum (USA), and the Young Person's Chorus of New York (USA). He has collaborated with internationally renowned artists such as Dashon Burton, Tyler Duncan, Marcus Eiche, Jamie-Rose Guarrine, Ayano Kataoka, Ilya Polataev, Gary Steigerwalt, Astrid Schween, Sara Davis Buechner, Hanna Elisabeth Müller, Nicholas Phan, James Taylor, Gilles Vonsattel, and Soyoung Yoon.

Well known for bringing new music to fresh audiences, he has premiered new works by numerous composers, including Pulitzer and Rome Prize winners such as Jay Kernis, Robert Kyr, David Sanford, and Joan Tower. These include unusual firsts, like Irin Ajo, the first Nigerian opera, by Olabode Omojola and Chaya Czernowin's ephemeral Once I Blinked, Nothing was the Same.

Tian's irrepressible musical spirit first expressed itself when he conducted a choir of kindergarten children in his native Singapore at the age of five. A pianist, singer and trombonist, he later studied composition and early music at the University of Birmingham (UK) where he discovered his love for Stravinsky and contemporary music. Returning home, he helped found one of the first contemporary music ensembles in the country, and was soon composing for animation, dance, film, chorus, and orchestra. It was during this time that he discovered his affinity for interdisciplinary work and created the groundbreaking site-specific community-based arts festival NOMAD, with which he has won awards from the Singapore National Arts Council. His works have since been heard in diverse settings such as the Hong Kong Film Festival, Animation World Magazine (USA), and Apsara Asia Dance (Singapore). Ng Tian Hui continued his education at the Yale School of Music, where he helped to start a new tradition with the music of his graduation recital reflecting on war and conflict. There, he fed his passion for the masterworks of the choral orchestral repertoire, assisting such renowned interpreters as Nicholas McGegan, Masaaki Suzuki, Dale Warland, Simon Carrington, Marguerite Brooks, and Jeffrey Douma. He is indebted to his teachers, including Paolo Arrivabeni, John Carewe, Peter Eötvös, Kurt Masur, and Michel Tabachnik, who have incalculably enriched his musical life.

In 2022-23, in addition to the NEP's season, Tian looks forward to his debut in person with White Snake Projects in Cosmic Cowboy at the Emerson Paramount Center; the release of his new album, El Puerto Rico - The Rich Port with the Victory Players, coinciding with a week-long festival in Champaign-Urbana; the premiere of the world's first opera in Chickasaw by Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate; and appearances with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Borromeo Quartet, and New England Public Media.

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