Beijing, China • May, 2008 – Earlier this year, the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing conducted a worldwide search for pianos for its music spaces. When the decisions were made, Kawai and Shigeru Kawai pianos comprised 17 of the 22 instruments selected. Now, with an impressive collection of new Kawai and Shigeru Kawai pianos (including a Shigeru Kawai concert grand), the National Center is ready for the worldwide attention of the Beijing Olympics.
Designed by French architect Paul Andreu and known as The Egg, the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing opened in 2007. The futuristic building is an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by a large reflecting pool. It is said to look like an egg floating on water.
Home to the China’s National Symphony Orchestra, it is one of several large new architectural showpieces commissioned by the Chinese government to be built in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. With a total construction cost of more than $330 million, the complex includes three performance spaces – a 2,416-seat opera house, a 2,017-seat concert hall and a 1,040-seat theater.
According to Chinese officials, the complex is the largest performing arts center in the world, twice as big as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. It was designed as an iconic feature that would be immediately recognizable. Since its opening, “The Center” has seen performances by famous international conductors Valery Gergiev and Seiji Ozawa, sopranos Kathleen Battle and Kiri Te Kanawa, and the New York Philharmonic among others.