The Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra (“LGCCO”) was founded in October 2000 by its artistic director and conductor Chih-Sheng Chen. The LGCCO has since matured into an ensemble of both technical and artistic proficiency. A strong musical force in Taiwan, it represents a new generation of Chinese orchestral music. It strives to demonstrate the energy and passion of its dedicated musicians with every performance. The LGCCO breathes new life into an art form that holds ancient roots, and devotes itself to promoting Chinese music on the world stage.
The LGCCO offers a full season of approximately thirty concerts a year at the prestigious National Concert Hall in Taiwan, presenting both the full orchestra of over one hundred musicians and smaller chamber ensembles throughout the year. In recent years, the orchestra has presented large-scale interdisciplinary projects, combining theatre and multimedia with orchestral music. Its international appearances include multiple European (including the 2007 Flying Circus Festival in Germany), South Asian and China tours (including 2008 Hong Kong International Chinese Music Festival), and three Canadian tours (including 2010 & 2015 Edmonton Chinese Music Festival, 2014 Sound of Dragon Music Festival, and 2015 Vancouver Jazz Festival). In addition, the LGCCO presents over 60 educational performances every year, introducing thousands of young audience to Chinese music in every city in Taiwan, including small communities off the main island. The LGCCO has released three CDs and one DVD.
The LGCCO has hosted the residencies of numerous Chinese composers, as well as Dutch composer Joel Bons (2012), Korean composer Cecilia Heejeong Kim (2012, 2014), Canadian composers Mark Armanini (2011, Canada Council commission) and John Oliver (2014, Canada Council commission), and given the world premiere of their music at the National Concert Hall of Taiwan. In 2014, the LGCCO collaborated with Amsterdam’s Nieuw Ensemble to present its Taiwan debut performances.
Planning and Projects
The staff members responsible for planning and projects are primarily former members of the Chinese Music Club at the National Taiwan University (NTU). As their sole motivation is their passion for Chinese music, the aim of their work always remains communicating its unique beauty to the public. In the selection of the repertoire the maintenance of a balance between technique and musical artistry is given priority over the promotion of virtuosity.
- Director: Jia-Yu Chen (Bachelor of Commerce, Department of Finance, NTU)
- Overall Planning: Li-Feng Huang (Master of Science, Graduate Institute of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, NTU)
- Project Commissioner: Tze-Chia Zheng (Master of Arts, Graduate Institute of Music Education, National Taiwan Normal University)
- Finance Manager: Jin-Hong Chen (Bachelor of Commerce, Department of Finance, NTU)
- Score Manager: Hui-Chieh Lin (Student, Department of Psychology, NTU)
- Instrument Manage: You-Jing Lin (Student, Department of Electronic Engineering, NTU)
Freelance Young Musicians
Most of the musicians of the orchestra have had a professional musical education, and are particularly skilled in ensemble playing. Due to their youth they have a higher level of idealism and passion for music, but because of their extensive experience and training they also have a greater level of skill than is to be found the typical amateur orchestra. The musicians in the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra work on a freelance basis, which means that set up of the orchestra is flexible for every performance. All of the staff members responsible for the musical side of the orchestra have a professional musical background:
- Music Director: Chih-Sheng Chen (doctoral candidate at the Institute of Microbiology and Biochemistry, NTU and musician in the Taipei Chinese Orchestra)
- Composer under Contract: Pei-Yu Shi (Konzertexamen im Fach Komposition (Concert Exam in Composition), Hochschule fur Musik Karlsruhe)
- Bowed Instrument Manager: Wen-Xuian Liang (musician in the Taipei Chinese Orchestra)
- Low-register Instrument Manager: Yu-Ning Lee (graduate Student, Graduate Institute of Music, Soochow University)
- Wind instrument Manager: Yi-Lin Miao (Bachelor of Arts, Department of Chinese Music, Chinese Culture University)
- Plucked Instrument Manager: Bi-Lan Chang (Master of Arts, Graduate Institute of Art, Chinese Culture University)
- Percussion Instrument Manager: Wen-Xian Wei (Bachelor of Arts, Department of Chinese Music, Chinese Culture University)
Our Flexible Instrumentation
At the time of its founding, the orchestra consisted of an ensemble of 15 musicians. Due to the demands of concert performance, the orchestra was subsequently expanded to 70 musicians. Our instrumentation has the following characteristics:
To meet the demands of concert performance we have a variety of forms of instrumentation, each in itself flexible. For promotional concerts, we invite a compere who interacts with the public in order to facilitate a closer communication with the audience.
Si-Zhu Chamber Orchestra Form:
In addition to the normal si-zhu chamber instrumentation, we also arrange a string-ensemble instrumentation form. This consists of gaohu, erhu, zhonghu, cello and double bass, and is intended to facilitate the spreading of Chinese music throughout the world.
Large Orchestra Form:
As an orchestra of freelance musicians, each musical voice of the ensemble can be changed at any time. To meet the demands of a given work we can always extend the ensemble by the addition of further instruments, such as the harp or deeper register instruments. As such we are not restricted by normal administrative concerns, and can always attain the ideal symphonic effect of the Chinese orchestra.
New Programme Idea:
“We perform Chinese music as we think it should be performed.” Normal si-zhu orchestras are restricted to traditional si-zhu forms, but the idea of our programme is to exploit different environments and opportunities in order to demonstrate the full range of possibilities of the beauty of Chinese music. Apart from our regular concerts, such as ‘A Series of Concerts Passing on the Torch between Taiwan and China’, ‘A Series of Si-zhu Chamber Concerts’ and ‘A Series of Concerts for Young Musicians’, we also arrange pioneering concerts such as ‘Classical-Electronic Music Crossover Concerts’, and ‘The Oriental Classics: “Ga-Da-Mei-Lin”’ Symphonic Poem’ (in which Chih-Sheng Chen collaborated with the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra). The new programme idea is aimed at enriching the Chinese music environment and attracting more thought and attention to the development of Chinese music as such.