"This is the result of a number of factors, the most palpable being the Edo Effect, "said Timothy Calnin, Chief Executive of HKPO."Since his arrival at the beginning of season 04/05, Edo has led what can only be described as the renaissance of the Orchestra. There’s no doubt that the audience can hear the difference, and they’re inspired to come back next season."
Edo de Waart took up the position as HKPO’s Artistic Director and Chief Conductor at the beginning of season 04/05. During his first year of tenure, the Orchestra’s performance has enjoyed increasingly enthusiastic critical acclaim. “In the few months since Edo de Waart took over the HKPO, he has transformed it, and their performance now sounds like that of a first-class, international orchestra. This is truly a miracle," commented Leo Lee, esteemed music critic, in Yazhou Zhoukan.
Peak Magazine echoed, "The powerfully inspired performance [of concert opera Salome] by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra left the audience in awe of the home-grown talent’s world-class potential…[de Waart] deserves much credit both for this superb performance that evening as well as his visionary leadership as he raises the orchestra’s quality up a notch with each concert." De Waart is internationally known as an orchestra builder, and was recently made an Honorary Officer in the Order of Australia (AO), one of that country’s highest civilian awards, for his service to Australia during his ten years as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra 1993 – 2003.
Another factor contributing to the success in the new season’s subscription campaign is the programme itself, which offers both artistically challenging projects and masterful interpretations of best-beloved classics.
"We are firmly committed to bringing artistic excellence to the whole community of Hong Kong. This season’s programmes offer a balanced mixture of classics, contemporary music, and even a Broadway programme, in addition to extra-musical collaborations, as part of our long-term audience development plan. It is great to see the public responding so strongly, not only for concerts in the next few months, but throughout the entire season and even into July 2006," added Calnin. “Many have bought the entire season."
The new season boasts an array of stars and musical experiences, including soprano Susan Bullock and the legendary Dame Gwyneth Jones in the season opener Elektra – Opera in Concert, oboist Diana Doherty in the Hong Kong premiere of Ross Edwards’s Oboe Concerto (which combines dance and oboe performances), and Taiko master Eitetsu Hayashi in Hi-ten-yu by Japanese composer Isao Matsushita. Other programmes which has drawn strong advance sales include: Yundi Li in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Wang Jian in an all-Tchaikovsky programme, as well as Edo de Waart leading a series of best-beloved classics including Beethoven’s Emperor concerto and Mozart’s last three symphonies as the finale of the concert series Mozart in the City.
An innovative marketing campaign, including a set of two preview concerts in June, was also launched to attract Hong Kong audiences to make long-term commitments, even though Hong Kong’s hectic lifestyle makes it increasingly difficult to plan as far as a year ahead.