Fire Ritual is deeply influenced by worship music and court music in

ancient China, while blending western and modern musical elements. Hand cymbals, resembli

ng those in Peking Opera, were seamlessly merged with a Baroque violin ensemble, and the sound

of bird chirping echoed the hymns of human beings, creating dialogue between mankind and nature.

Various non-musical objects, as a signature style of Tan, were used to imitate cer

tain sounds. For example, the orchestra repeatedly turned pages of their scores to create the sound of wind.

Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong led the orchestra for the first time. He turned himself

into a Shaman in the ritual with rich body languages, adding to a sense of immersive theatrical ex

perience for some 2,700 spectators, who gave a standing ovation when the piece concluded.

Wong in 2016 became the first Asian to win the prestigious international Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition for young conductors held in Germany.

Other programs during the night included an adapted version of Korean folk song Arirang, and Mozart’s Der H

olle Rachefrom The Magic Flute, both performed by South Korean soprano So Young Park as her Philharmonic debut.

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