On the 14th October, a ceremony and the inaugural concert marked the official opening of Taiwan’s national arts centre, the National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts (Weiwuying).
Incorporating a 2,236-seat Opera House, a 1,981-seat Concert Hall, a 1,210-seat Playhouse, a 434-seat Recital Hall and an Outdoor Theater, the centre is a new cultural hub for East Asia. The spectacular venue utilises its architecture and programme to combine artistic excellence with complete openness and accessibility. Designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo, the heart of Weiwuying is the vast, sinuous Banyan Plaza open to the public at all hours and home to a wide-ranging programme of participation.
A ceremony in the Concert Hall marked the beginning of the opening festivities. Guests included the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Tsai Ing-Wen and numerous high-ranking representatives from the worlds of politics and culture. For the occasion, addresses were given by the President and Francine Houben, Founding Partner and Creative Director of Mecanoo Architects.
Chien Wen-Pin, Executive and Artistic Director of the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying), conducted the combined forces of the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, the Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra, Kaohsiung Chamber Choir and musicians from Kaohsiung Music Alliance. The line-up of Taiwanese and international soloists included the Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna – who inaugurated Asia’s largest pipe organ (9,085 pipes – built by Germany’s Klais Orgelbau Bonn).
The opening festivities then shifted outdoors, where an estimated audience of 50,000 witnessed a parade of 300 construction workers ‘Ode to the Heroes’ heralding the ‘Arts for the People’ celebration – a high-tech extravaganza combining light show, Taiwan’s aboriginal dance, traditional theatre, opera, street culture, music, puppetry, digital art – staged by Germany’s interdisciplinary artist network Phase 7, who was also responsible for the opening ceremony of the new Federal Chancellery.
Weiwuying’s Inauguration Season continues until 1 January 2019. Highlights include concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Gustavo Dudamel and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Maris Jansons; performances by Robert Lepage, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, La Fura dels Baus and Sydney Dance Company; the flagship biannual festival Taiwan Dance Platform. For further information visit: www.npac-weiwuying.