Hong Kong, May 4 2005 – On the occasion of the 20th International Congress of the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA) with Hong Kong as host, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (HKCO) and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) join hands to present a concert of new and familiar works in a performance format that will surely open eyes and ears.
As the two leading orchestral ensembles of Hong Kong, these two widely-recognised crowning jewels of artistic excellence will perform on June 8 (Thursday) at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. The performance begins at 8 pm, and tickets at $300, $200 and $100 are now available from URBTIX outlets.
The June 8 programme features three outstanding Chinese female artists in addition to the two orchestras and their artistic directors. Maestro Yan Huichang conducts the HKCO in the first half of the concert with two soloists. Pipa virtuoso Wong Ching performs Hong Kong composer Law Wing Fai's A Thousand Sweeps, a work commissioned and premiered by the HKCO that has received international acclaim. Beijing-based soprano Wu Bixia performs Cheng Dazhao’s Free Imagination about the Yellow River before the intermission.
For the second half, Maestro Edo de Waart leads the HKPO in two exuberant works tied to the dance idiom. Following Leonard Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, the HKPO presents Ravel's Bolero with a twist. This Bolero features choreographer Mui Cheuk-Yin, one of Hong Kong's best creative talents, with more than 40 dancers from the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.
This concert promises to be a memorable experience not only for Hong Kong's local music lovers but delegates from all over the world attending the ISPA International Congress. Together the HKCO and HKPO embody not only cultural diversity of Hong Kong, but also standards of excellence of Asia's world city.
Audiences attending the June 8 concert will enjoy Hong Kong's finest orchestral feast: they will be enthralled by the graceful folk melody originally for pipa, As the Moon Rises, and symphonic dances from West Side Story; they will be moved by the heartfelt homage to the Yellow River and Hong Kong’s own musical talents; and they will be intoxicated by the alluring power of Bolero’s music and movements.
Tickets ($300, $200, $100) are available now at URBTIX outlets. Call 2734 9009 for reservations or make your credit card booking by phone (2111 5999). For more information, call 2721 2030 or 3185 1600, or check out both www.hkpo.com and www.hkco.org.
The HKCO has also devised a series of educational and community outreach programmes from June 5 onward on the occasion of ISPA, including an instrument exhibition, an open rehearsal featuring soprano Wu Bixia (June 6, 2:45-4:15 pm). Check out www.hkco.org for more details.
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall
June 8, 2006 8 pm
Peng Xiuwen (arr.) As the Moon Rises
Law Wing Fai A Thousand Sweeps
Cheng Dazhao Free Imagination about the Yellow River
Leonard Bernstein Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Maurice Ravel Bolero
Conductors: Yan Huichang (Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra), Edo de Waart (Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra)
Pipa: Wong Ching (A Thousand Sweeps)
Soprano: Wu Bixia (Free Imagination about the Yellow River)
Choreographer: Mui Cheuk-Yin (Bolero)
ABOUT THE HONG KONG CHINESE ORCHESTRA
Founded in 1977, the HKCO consists of 85 professional musicians incorporating traditional and modernized Chinese instruments as well as suitable western instruments. To date, the HKCO has commissioned over 1,500 original compositions and arrangements. The HKCO has developed a wide-ranging and highly-involved educational outreach program for local schoolchildren, including the establishment of youth and children's Chinese orchestras. Since its inaugural season, the HKCO has presented over 2,000 public performances. Overseas tours have led the orchestra all over Asia, Australia, Europe, and America, to such venues as the Kennedy Center and Vienna’s Musikverein. Apart from releasing its own recordings, the HKCO recorded film soundtrack for such international hits as Kung Fu Hustle.
ABOUT THE HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is rapidly emerging as Asia's leading orchestra, since internationally renowned Edo de Waart joined as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor in the 2004/05 Season. Throughout the last three decades, the Orchestra has grown into a formidable ensemble of 89 Chinese and international talents, attracting world-class artists to perform on the same stage. Apart from giving over a hundred performances annually, many of which are highly anticipated events in the city’s cultural calendar, it performs more than 70 free orchestral and chamber concerts for 70,000 primary and secondary school students a year. The Orchestra also joins hands with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts to help nurture aspiring professionals.
As a conductor who has worked with all professional Chinese orchestras in Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, Yan currently serves as HKCO’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Under Yan’s baton, and in collaboration with composer Zhao Jiping, the Symphony Orchestra section of the China National Symphony Orchestra made the soundtrack recordings for such award-winning films as Raise the Red Lantern, Ballad of the Yellow River, and Five Girls and a Rope. As a composer, Yan's representative works include The Sound of Water, a symphonic poem that won First Prize in the Composition Contest of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Second Prize in the Third National Music Composition Competition. Since 2004, he has been a Visiting Professor in many music conservatories in the Asian region. Yan received the Cultural Medallion (Music) awarded by the National Arts Council of Singapore in 2001. He was decorated with a Bronze Bauhinia Star (BBS) by the Hong Kong Chief Executive in 2004, specifically in recognition of his remarkable achievements in and dedication to the promotion of Chinese music.
EDO DE WAART
Edo de Waart is Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. As a conductor of international standing, he appears regularly with the world's leading symphony orchestras and finest musicians. Renowned as an “orchestral builder” who has the enviable ability to transform his orchestras into world-class ensembles, Edo de Waart has held such distinguished positions as Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and the Netherlands Opera, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony, and Music Director of San Francisco Symphony. As an opera conductor, Edo de Waart has conducted in Covent Garden and Bayreuth, and has led highly regarded Wagner Ring Cycles in San Francisco and Sydney. In the past few years, Maestro de Waart conducted numerous concert performances of operas with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, as well as Strauss' Salome and Elektra with the HKPO, all with critical acclaim. He is a Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion, and was recently appointed an Honorary Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia and an Honorary Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
Born into a musical family, Wong Ching is HKCO's Section Leader of Plucked-strings and Principal Pipa. She is a much sought-after soloist, having collaborated with orchestras in England, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Russia, and Hong Kong. In 1995, Wong performed two new works by Law Wing-fai, Shake n’Roll and Ink Spirit at the ISCM World Music Days. The next year, she participated in Zi Lian Kuang, which integrated music with dance. In her performance of King Chu Doffs His Armour with the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, she added a cadenza where she sang to the accompaniment of her own pipa. In June 1997, she performed a symphonic piece When Mountains Roar for Chinese-Western orchestra with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Wong represented Hong Kong in the Chinese New Music Festival held in Canada last year.
A professor of the China Conservatory of Music, Wu Bixia is the first internationally-acclaimed Chinese singer who successfully melded the techniques of folk singing and Western bel canto. Her artistry and versatility in interpreting Chinese and Western repertoire has been praised wherever she performed. Among her many accolades is Second Prize in the 12th Tchaikovsky International Singing Competition. Wu Bixia has taken part in operatic productions and major premieres of note: she played Gilda in Rigoletto in Spain; she took part in the Gala Lirica Festival in Madrid; she was the featured soloist in Iris devoilee (Chen Qigang) in Asia, Europe, and America. She also played leading roles in the 2003 Chinese premiere of two contemporary operas, Wolf Cub Village and Night Banquet by Guo Wenjing.
A principal dancer of the Hong Kong Dance Company from 1981-90, Mui Cheuk-Yin won the Hong Kong Young Choreographer Competition in 1985 and received a scholarship to study modern dance in New York City. In the 1990s, she became an independent choreographer/dancer/teacher, and participated in the International Choreographer's Programme at the American Dance Festival. Mui is now an internationally renowned solo artist; her works have been presented in Belgium, Portugal, England, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Japan and China. In 2000, she was invited by Pina Bausch & Folkwang Tanzstudio to choreograph Whispering Colour and to perform as a guest dancer in The Rite of Spring with Tanztheater Wuppertal. She was awarded the "Dance Ambassador" (2000) and the "Hong Kong Dance Awards 2001" by the Hong Kong Dance Alliance. Mui currently serves as CCDC’s Associate Choreographer.