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The Kings of Instruments –
French Organists Dubois (22 / 23 May) and Latry (29 / 30 May)

30 April 2009

[Hong Kong 30 April 2009] In its first ever appearance at Le French May, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra welcomes two of France’s leading organ masters – the student and teacher duo Vincent Dubois (22 / 23 May, 8pm) and Olivier Latry (29 / 30 May, 8pm), in back to back performances on the magnificent Rieger Organ in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall, Both concerts are directed by Maestro Edo de Waart.

On 22 & 23 May, French virtuoso Vincent Dubois, one of the brightest young organists in the world and a gold medal winner at the 2002 Calgary International Organ Competition, is featured in Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 3 in C minor, op. 78 “Organ”.  Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam shares the stage in Mozart’s melancholic Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor. The concert also features the delicate and charming orchestral score Mother Goose by French composer Maurice Ravel. The opening performance is sponsored by Lily Fenn & Partners, Solicitors & Notaries.

On 29 & 30 May, Olivier Latry, arguably the most celebrated organ masters of our time, makes his much anticipated Hong Kong debut in the flamboyant Symphonie-concertante by Jongen. Latry’s mastery of the “king of all instruments” will be on fine display in this wildly extravagant and entertaining organ concerto, making full use of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre’s imposing Grand Organ which is widely regarded as the finest in Asia. The programme also features Delius’s The Walk to the Paradise Garden and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F major “Pastoral”. The 29 May concert is also the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s Annual Donors’ Concert.

Music
Liszt described Saint-Saëns as “the finest organist in the world” and from 1857 to 1876 he held the prestigious post of organist at the Madeleine Church in Paris. The first half of his Symphony No. 3 in C minor, op. 78 “Organ” opens with a plaintive string melody rounded off by a sorrowful oboe solo. After a climax the music calms down and, without a break, the second movement starts with a single, quiet note from the organ. There is some lively dialogue between the string and woodwind sections of the orchestra. A majestic organ chord, featuring the lowest note on the instrument, heralds the start of the Symphony’s truly celebratory final movement.

Jongen composed the Symphonie Concertantefor organ and orchestra, op. 81in 1926. Much of the movement is relatively subdued and ends with a deeply calm chord underpinned by the deep organ pedals.  The Divertimento opens with a brisk organ solo, the orchestra taking over the music and gradually slowing the pace down for the organ to introduce a more reflective, second theme with graceful descants from the woodwind. Solo woodwind figures, shivering strings and descending notes from the harp - like drops of water - establish the mood of mystery and other-worldliness which characterises the slow movement, while the final Toccata is a spectacular tour-de-force for both organ and orchestra.

Edo de Waart, conductor
Edo de Waart is the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, having held distinguished positions as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony, Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Opera, as well as Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Minnesota Orchestras. This is his 5th season with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

Vincent Dubois, organ
Vincent Dubois is a graduate of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris where he was a student of Olivier Latry, and earned First Prizes in Organ, Harmony, Counterpoint, Fugue and 20th century composition. Dubois won the Recital Gold Medal at the 2002 Calgary International Organ Competition and the Grand Prize at the 2002 International Competition of Toulouse, France. His performances have included numerous international music festivals such as Cambridge, Stuttgart, Dresden, Vancouver, Montreal, Chartres and Roskilde. Dubois has also appeared as guest soloist with several orchestras and ensembles, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra etc.

Olivier Latry, organ
French organist Olivier Latry is considered one of the most notable organists of his generation in the world. From 1981-1985 Latry was titular organist of Meaux Cathedral.  In 1985 at the age 23 he was awarded the post of one of four titulaires des grands orgue of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. In 1990 he succeeded his teacher, Gaston Litaize, as an organ professor at the Academy of Music at St. Maur-des-Fossés. In 1995 he became organ professor at the Paris Conservatory. Today he is counted among the most noted “improvisers” in the French tradition and has performed in more than fifty countries across five continents, in particular in the US, where he has become one of the most popular French organists following his first our there in 1986.  He is renowned for his interpretation of works of Messiaen and has recorded the complete works of the French composer.

Ronald Brautigam, piano
Ronald Brautigam, one of the Netherlands’ leading musicians. He studied in Amsterdam, London and the US with Rudolf Serkin. In 1984 he was awarded the Nederlandse Muziekprijs, the highest Dutch musical award. Brautigam performs regularly with leading European orchestras under distinguished conductors including Maestro Edo de Waart. He has performed with leading orchestras such as the Orchestra of the 18th Century, Tafelmusik, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment etc.

On The Rieger Organ
The pipe organ in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall is hand made in Austria by the Rieger Orgelbau. With four manuals, 93 stops and 8000 pipes, it is the largest mechanically operated instrument of its kind in Southeast Asia. It features Rieger’s own mechanical action design requiring no electrical assistance, not even in the coupling of one manual to the other. Its enormous range of sounds, coupled with a huge variety of tone colours, creates a remarkable musical experience equivalent to that of an orchestra.

The Organ Symphony
An event of Le French May
Opening performance is sponsored by Lily Fenn & Partners Solicitors & Notaries
With the support of Consulat Général de France à Hong Kong et Macao

22 & 23-5-2009 Fri & Sat 8PM
HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall
Ticket Price: HK$280 $220 $160 $120
Weekday 10% discount

Artist
Edo de Waart conductor
Vincent Dubois organ
Ronald Brautigam piano


Programme
Ravel Mother Goose: suite
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor
Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 in C minor, op. 78 Organ

Free Pre-concert Talk
Time: 22/5/2009 Fri 7:15pm – 7:45pm (English)
23/5/2009 Sat 7:15pm - 7:45pm (Cantonese)
Venue: HK Cultural Centre Auditoria Building 4/F Foyer
Speaker: Perry So
Assistant Conductor (Education and Community Programmes)

Photos download:
Edo de Waart Vincent Dubois Ronald Brautigam

De Waart conducts the Pastoral Symphony
An event of Le French May
Title Sponsor: SWIRE
With the support of Consulat Général de France à Hong Kong et Macao

29 & 30-5-2009 Fri & Sat 8PM
HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall
Ticket Price: HK$300, $250, $200, $150
Weekday 10% discount

Artist
Edo de Waart conductor
Olivier Latry organ


Programme
Delius The Walk to the Paradise Garden
Beethoven Symphony No. 6 in F major Pastoral
Jongen Symphonie-concertante for organ and orchestra, op. 81

Swire Classic Insights
Time: 29/5/2009 Fri 7:15pm - 7:45pm (English)
30/5/2009 Sat 7:15pm - 7:45pm (Cantonese)
Venue: HK Cultural Centre Auditoria Building 4/F Foyer
Speaker: Fri (English)
Dr. Georg Predota Musicologist
Sat (Cantonese)
Leung Kin-fung
First Associate Concertmaster of HKPO

Photos download:
Olivier Latry

ABOUT THE HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) is one of Asia’s leading orchestras. 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. HKPO annually touches the lives of 200,000 music lovers through more than 150 performances. HKPO stays in tune with our city by presenting the biggest outdoor symphonic concert of the year, Swire Symphony Under the Stars at Happy Valley in the 0708 season. In 0809 season the Orchestra undertook a major six-concert tour of China, including the Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou, Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts and Shanghai Grand Theatre under the leadership of Maestro Edo de Waart.

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.