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Home-grown HKPO Assistant Conductor Perry So
Débuts on 15 May

23 April 2009

[Hong Kong 23 April 2009] In his first season as Assistant Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO), 2008 International Prokofiev Conducting Competition First-Prize Winner Perry So, 27, makes his highly anticipated début before his home crowd on 15 May (Fri) at 8pm at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. He will direct young pianist Warren Lee, veteran violinist Wong Sze-hang and cellist Fang Xiaomu in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto for piano, violin and cello in C. The programme also features Mozart’s Così fan tutte: overture and Dvořák’s popular Symphony No. 9 From the New World.

A multiple prize winner which also included the 2008 Mitropoulous Competition held in Athens, Greece, Perry was commended by the Home Affairs Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR government for his outstanding international musical accomplishments.  As one of the brightest young conductors nowadays, Perry has worked with international orchestras such as the Staatskapelle Weimar, St. Petersburg Camerata and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra.  Apart from the trilogy of performances which spans over seasons 2008/09 & 2009/10, his future international engagements include débuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the State Symphony Orchestra of Russia.

A graduate of Yale University, So counts as his mentors such music illuminati as HKPO’s Music Director, Edo de Waart; Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Esa-Pekka Salonen; Gustav Meier at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University and esteemed American Scholar James Sinclair.  

Perry So was born in Hong Kong in 1982 and grew up in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, before furthering his studies in the U.S.

On Perry
“Both Zhang Xian (New York Philharmonic’s first female Chinese conductor ever) and Perry So are rare talents in recent years… his prospects have no limit,“ exclaimed Prof. Leo Ou-fan Lee on his column on Ming Pao Daily.

On New World Symphony
“The Symphony (Dvořák’s last symphony) contains the excitement redolent of a young man combined with the confidence of an experienced composer. The glow of innocence in the music that once baffled my younger self is what draws me now to the piece, and it will be a delightful challenge to capture that spirit over the course of our rehearsals,” said Perry So.

Music
Mozart’s Così fan tutte is a comic opera composed at the suggestion of the Emperor Joseph II with an unusual title. Così fan tutte is often translated as“Women are like that”. The libretto for the opera was prepared by the renowned Lorenzo da Ponte with the themes of testing the limits of female loyalty and seduction bets.

Beethoven’s Concerto for violin, cello, and piano in C major, Op. 56 (the Triple Concerto) was composed in 1804-1805. This is the only concerto Beethoven ever wrote for more than one solo instrument. As he had already completed several piano trios, Beethoven had learned to balance the different timbres of the three solo instruments, and now set himself the task of combining those timbres with a full orchestra.

Dvořák saw Symphony No. 9 in E Minor From the New World as a kind of musical postcard to convey his impressions of the New World to audiences back in his native Bohemia. The theme in the first movement seems to have been inspired by the Negro Spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”. The unspeakably lovely cor anglais theme of the “Largo” movement clearly owes something to the folk tunes of native American Indians. All the melodies return at the end of the symphony. The finale includes a suggestion of the Czech people to display stubborn resistance to political oppressors.

Warren Lee, piano
Warren Lee is the winner of the 1995 Stravinsky Awards International Piano Competition and the “Grand Prix Ivo Pogorelich” and was hailed by critics as a pianist “with technique to burn, an extraordinary intellect, and a Horowitzian colour of romanticism”. He made his début with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra at the tender age of six. Warren graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and Yale University’s School of Music with the highest of honors.

Wong Sze-hang, violin
Beijing-born Wong Sze-hang is currently Second Associate Concertmaster of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Wong has led the World Youth Symphony Orchestra in Interlochen, Michigan, the University of Southern California Orchestra under Daniel Lewis, and the American Youth Symphony under Mehli Mehta. As an accomplished soloist, he has performed around the world including in major cities in China, the United States, Europe and Japan.

Fang Xiaomu, cello
A native of Beijing, Fang Xiaomu received her formal training at the Central Conservatory of Music in China and was awarded top prizes in the Bach Suite Competition, the Chinese Works Competition and the Solo Competition of the Central Conservatory of Music. In 1996, Xiaomu moved to the United States and studied with Eleonore Schoenfeld at the University of Southern California on full scholarship.  Fan is Co-principal Cello of the HKPO.

PerryMy New Word
15-5-2009 Fri 8PM
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall
Ticket Price: HK$220 $160 $100 $80

Artists
Perry So conductor
Warren Lee piano
Wong Sze-hang violin
Fang Xiaomu cello

Programme
Mozart Così fan tutte: overture
Beethoven Concerto for volin, cello, and piano in C major (the Triple Concerto)
Dvořák Symphony No. 9 in E Minor From the New World

Pre-concert talk (Free admission)
Time: 15/5/2009 Fri 7:15pm – 7:45pm (Cantonese)
Venue: HK Cultural Centre Auditoria Building 4/F Foyer
Speaker: Prof. Lo Hau-man
Instructor, Music Department of Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Composer, Vice-chairman of The Hong Kong Composers' Guild

Photos download:
Perry So Warren Lee Wong Sze-hang Fang Xiaomu

ABOUT THE HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Hailed as “one of Asia's top orchestras”, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) is led by the internationally renowned Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Edo de Waart. Enriching Hong Kong’s cultural life for over a century, the Orchestra has grown into a formidable ensemble of Chinese and international talents in the last three decades, attracting world-class artists to perform on the same stage. In April 2006, The Swire Group Charitable Trust became the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s Principal Patron to enable Maestro de Waart’s artistic vision for the Orchestra to be realized. HKPO annually touches the lives of 200,000 music lovers through more than 150 performances, including a series of outreach activities including the city’s largest outdoor symphonic concert in Happy Valley, Swire Symphony under the Stars. The Orchestra also builds its reputation and raises its artistic standards by touring. In 2008/09 season the Orchestra performed in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. Please visit www.hkpo.com for more information about the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is financially supported by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
SWIRE is the Principal Patron of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is the Venue Partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.