Taipei Philharmonic Orchestra
TPO’s first general director and principal conductor was the late American Henry Mazer, a former Associate Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Mazer dedicated over 15 years of his life to supervise the artistic growth of TPO. When he first brought the orchestra to perform in the United States in 1990, music critic William Russo praised the orchestra for its excellence: “The Sinfonietta is one of the finest groups of musicians I have ever heard”. After the death of Mazer in 2002, TPO has had several conductors, among them, Alexander Rudin, Andreas Delfs, and Lin Tien-Chi (Paul Lin).
TPO made its second North American tour in 1995. Of its performance at Boston’s Symphony Hall, Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe wrote: “The first sound of the Taipei Philharmonic in Boston Symphony Hall was electrifying. The way the orchestra plays is a real tribute to Mazer’s musicianship. Mazer has a rare understanding of how Verklarte Nacht is constructed, how it should sound and the wallop it should pack. They play with glowing sound, precision of intonation, absolute unanimity of impulse and rare commitment”. During the same decade TPO also made its first visit to Europe, performing in France, Brussels, and Vienna. The European music critics,as their American colleagues, paid similar compliments to TPO: “The ensemble plays with precision and unity . . . the Sinfonietta is of considerable quality... This conductor (Henry Mazer) made Schubert come alive and touch our hearts again”. (Franz Endler, Vienna Kurier)
During the 2000’s TPO enlarged its international tours geographically to include the following countries: Germany, France, the U.S., Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, and China. The orchestra was invited to perform in numerous prestigious music festivals: the Braunschweig Classix Festival, the White Nights Festival of St. Petersburg, the Warsaw Autumn Contemporary Music Festival, the Krakow Music Festival Sacrum-Profanum, the Prague Spring Music Festival, the Janáček International Music Festival,the Budapest Music Festival, the Stockholm Royal Castle Music Festival, the Estonian Music Festival Glasperlenspiel, the Riga Music Festival, the Kaunas Pazaislis Music Festival, the Auvers-sur-Oise Festival, the Sully International Music Festival, and the Shanghai World Expo, to name but a few. The venues where TPO has performed included the famous St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall, the Moscow Performing Arts Center, the Budapest Liszt Concert Hall, Stockholm’s Berwald Concert Hall, Helsinki’s Finlandia Hall and the Rock Church, the Grieg Hall in Bergen, Tallinn Concert Hall, the Kennedy Performing Arts Center, and the Grosser Musikvereinsaal in Vienna.
One of TPO’s missions is to bring classical music to different audiences in different countries through music playing of the highest level. To also improve listeners’ appreciation for modern music, TPO often performs works by living composers of different nationalities, among them Yiu-kwong Chung from Hong Kong, Leif Segerstam from Finland, and Peeter Vähi from Estonia. In addition, TPO organizes workshops, master classes, and other educational activities for both children and adults.