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In Asian music, ensembles tend to be small or at most medium-sized. There is no equivalent of the classical (Romantic) European symphony orchestra. Or at least there wasn’t until after Mao’s Revolution, when Soviet advisers helped the Chinese arrange their traditional instruments into sections to form orchestras that achieved numerical parity with their Western counterparts. Bowed, wind, and percussion instruments were arrayed as in European orchestras, with the principal difference being that the Chinese ensemble had a section of the lute-like instruments known as pipas and juans. The music that resulted was sometimes awkward—their brazen ideology wasn’t the only reason why Maoist operas were received with giggles in the West. But the not-exactly-traditional Chinese traditional orchestra has matured, developing a repertoire that includes ancient Chinese folk tunes and Western classical works as well as new compositions by such respected composers as Chinese-American Bright Sheng. When the National Traditional Orchestra of China first toured the U.S. in 1997, the reviews were friendly and often enthusiastic. Although this concert is a presentation of the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage—which means it’s free—it will take place in the Eisenhower Theater, where there’s room for an orchestra on stage (and respite from the chattering tourists who mar subtler Millennium performances). At 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. Free. (202) 467-4600. (Mark Jenkins)