Musical Heritage on Stage: the China National Traditional Orchestra & Chorus

The ifcm has a new national member. The china national traditional orchestra and chorus is an original, large-scale organisation dedicated to the performance of china’s rich and ancient musical heritage.

The China National Traditional Orchestra (CNTO) is a state-level performing arts group funded by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. It is the largest and most comprehensive musical institution of its kind in the world, comprising of a full orchestra, a chorus and offices for concerts and composition, etc. Founded in 1960 under the guidance of the late Premier Zhou Enlai, CNTO’s inaugural President Li Huanzhi is an esteemed composer and the Chairman of the Chinese Musicians Association. Current leadership consists of party secretary Liu Jie and President Zhao Cong, deputy party chief and supervision chief Liu Yupu, VP Tang Feng.

Mr. Liu Jie, CNTO’s

Secretary of Party Committee

CNTO’s mission is to promote China’s musical heritage which has lasted for thousands of years. With an extensive repertoire including instrumental concerts and new staged works adhering to the folk tradition, CNTO has contributed to the country’s cultural diversity and creativity for many years. The chorus won a top prize at the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students. Through the decades, all of China’s leaders – Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, Xi Jinping – and many foreign dignitaries have enjoyed CNTO’s performances, many of which have been highly praised.

Ms Zhao Cong, CNTO’s President

CNTO has visited numerous countries over the years, including the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Peru, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Moreover, the orchestra performs in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan periodically, in order to connect to the Chinese people living there.

In recent years, CNTO has produced  full-length programmes which have become classic repertoire for the company, such as the Impression series: Impressions of Chinese Music, Rediscover Chinese Music, and Xuanzang’s Pilgrimage, as well as national concert Grand Music from China, Resounding and Prolonged Chinese Melody, Beautiful Rivers and Mountains, Chinese Melody of Feminine Beauty, national symphony chorus Rhapsody Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, national documentary musical Homeland, themed audiovisual concert Eternal Happiness of Chinese Festival, national symphony chorus Sing a Song to the Party from Heart.

CNTO’s president, pipa player Zhao Cong played Blooming with Russian balalaika player in the celebration performance of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Russia, Russian State Grand Theatre, 2019

Come and listen to this world renowned golden prize-winning chorus

The China National Traditional Orchestra (CNTO) Chorus is a nationally recognised ensemble with a distinctive ethnic style of singing. It won the golden prize at the 6th  and  13th  World Festivals of Youth and Students.

For many years, the chorus has taken pride in interpreting songs and choral music inspired by the Chinese folk heritage deeply rooted in the ethnicities of various regions, over the course of thousands of years across multiple dynasties. It has won acclaim from audiences both in China and abroad, for the richness of its music arrangements, versatility on  stage, and the many styles it is able to project.

This text is provided by the China National Traditional Orchestra.

Edited by Rebeka Angstmann, UK




CNTO’s themed audiovisual concert Eternal Happiness of Chinese Festival, Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, Beijing, China, 2020


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