Kaohsiung Chinese Orchestra
Kaohsiung Chinese Orchestra is southern Taiwan’s first professional Chinese orchestra. It was founded March 1, 1989, under the auspices of Kaohsiung City’s Education Bureau and was initially regarded as “experimental”. However, in November 2000, the ensemble was formally transferred to the Kaohsiung Music Hall where it is now officially recognized as the Kaohsiung Chinese Orchestra (KCO).
Xiao Ching-Shan, the orchestra’s first Chief, and Lai Xi-Zhong, the current Chief, have established the orchestra as a first-class performance group. Furthermore, they have raised local awareness and appreciation for Chinese classical music through regular concerts and activities that are specifically designed to introduce the art form. Audiences island-wide and overseas have been most receptive. The efforts of Chiefs Xiao and Lai have ensured that the legacy of classical Chinese music is appreciated today and will continue in future generations. Under their direction, the Kaohsiung Chinese Orchestra has become the most influential cultural group in south Taiwan.
The Chinese Orchestra can be divided into four instrument sections based on methods by which they are played: “blown,'' ''bowed'', ”struck” and “plucked”. Musicians perform as a group or as soloists, playing both contemporary compositions and traditional folk ballads. The orchestra also accompanies staged dramas, dance troupes and other theatrical events. Off stage, the Kaohsiung Chinese Orchestra holds seminars that explore trends and traditions in classical Chinese music; specific topics have included variations in regional styles. Their performances and seminars contribute to music education and also to the development of the classical Chinese music genre. The achievements of the Kaohsiung Chinese Orchestra, together with many more accomplishments to come, inspire the cultural climate and overall quality of life in southern Taiwan.