Two days ago, the Toronto Chinese Orchestra held a concert titled ‘Boundless Songs of Love.’ This concert was immensely special to me because it featured the premier of my first orchestration for Chinese orchestra, ‘Guardians of the World.’
‘Guardians of the World’ was originally a piece for Western orchestra, and included pieces from ‘Fullmetal Alchemist,’ ‘Princess Mononoke,’ and ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender.’ I included an erhu soloist by the name of Amely Zhou in the original orchestration, and when I asked Patty Chan, who was a teacher of mine at the time (and who is also the concertmistress of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra) how to write for erhu, she invited me to re-orchestrate the piece for Chinese orchestra.
The pieces from ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ were dropped from the new orchestration, and additional pieces from ‘Princess Mononoke’ and ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ were included. With some help from Tony K.T. Leung, the composer-in-residence of the Toronto Chinese Orchestra, I was able to successfully transfer the orchestration over to Chinese orchestra. It involved learning about instruments that I knew next to nothing about, and how they fit into an orchestra that I had never orchestrated for. Overall, it was an immensely rewarding experience, and I learned a lot.
The concert was a huge success, and I want to thank everyone in the Toronto Chinese Orchestra for their dedication and hard work. We will now be taking ‘Guardians of the World’ to Hong Kong where it will have its premier there on July 26, 2012. This is something I never expected to be doing when I originally set out to orchestrate this piece months ago. I am both immensely surprised and honoured to have something that I worked on be performed halfway around the world.
Photos: Richard Ng