17 & 18-1-2009 Sat & Sun Shanghai
The morning after the Orchestra's special concert in The Village at Sanlitun, we all checked out of our hotel and set off the Shanghai. Sometimes things just don't go smoothly enough! The four buses left the Beijing Hotel in convoy, but the last bus, whose driver was somewhat unfamiliar with Beijing's streets, found himself heading west across Tiananmen Square instead if east to Beijing's splendid international airport. Seconds after he took an illegal U-turn in front of the Forbidden City, a fanfare of police sirens hailed in to the curb where he was booked for this major traffic infringement. This incident also left our driver without the benefit of the first three coaches to follow, so, after paying his traffic fine, he meekly asked the policeman for directions to the airport.
It was a bonus for the Orchestra to have a free Saturday evening in the thrilling metropolis of Shanghai. Many musicians in the Orchestra originally come from Shanghai and their special knowledge of the city was being tapped into by several first-time visitors eager to find the best parts of town for shopping, sight-seeing and sampling Shanghai's famous cuisine.
The hotel was right on People's Park and a short walk to the Shanghai Grand Theatre. On Sunday morning as we all headed across the park for the rehearsal, huge banners announcing the HKPO's concert lined the streets and as we arrived at the theatre itself, we were impressed to see enormous posters of Edo de Waart side by side with the Shanghai Grand Theatre's next touring maestro, Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony. "Two Dutch old masters," commented one member of the group.
The final concert of the tour was a huge hit. The Orchestra played better than ever and the audience responded with a chorus of bravos. Principal Trumpet Jonathan Clarke and Principal Horn Mark Vines were given solo bows in recognition of their stunning performances throughout Mahler's Symphony No.5 and the audience would not let Maestro de Waart and the Orchestra leave without an encore.
As the final hushed moments of Walton's "Touch her soft lips and part" concluded, the musicians could finally relax and look back on a wonderful series of performances throughout the tour. One of the Orchestra's greatest supporters is Hong Kong restauranteur Michelle Garnaut who hosted a post-concert "wrap-party" for the musicians at her spectacular Glamour Bar on the Bund. As the martinis flowed and the white bow-ties loosened, everyone toasted the Hong Kong Philharmonic's best tour ever.
16-1-2009 Fri Beijing
The five fellows, in the "Robert Ho Foundation" mentorship program, staged a special concert with the HKPO for SWIRE at the Orange, a multi-function venue located at The Village at Sanlitun - the new landmark in Beijing.
Pieces by Dukas, Bach, R Strauss and Schubert were performed and the splendid performance was enjoyed by the audience as well as shoppers and visitors in the Piazza through the live telecast on the shopping centre's giant LED screen, offering a one-of-a-kind outdoor classical music concert for the general public in Beijing.
Apart from their stunning musical talents and skills, the five fellows also demonstrated that they were real stars by posing like professional models during the photo taking session at Tiananmen Square in the morning.
15-1-2009 Thu Beijing
The China Tour 2009 has been attracting much of local media's attention. CCTV interviewed Edo de Waart and two of our musicians, Wang Liang and Long Xi in which they shared their aspirations in Classical music and life in Hong Kong. Also, the Inflight magazine of Cathay Pacific interviewed our Third Associate Concertmaster Zhu Bei and Assistant Principal Bassoon player Vance Lee after the rehearsal, an in-depth article featuring their interesting life will be out soon.
The night's concert was packed with enthusiastic audience and fans alike; Beijing audience seemed to be more excited than other cities so far. Chen Sa, the outstanding soloist, touched the audience's hearts with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.3.
14-1-2009 Wed Beijing
Onto our 3rd day in Beijing, the Orchestra continued the hectic schedule of rehearsals, preparing our special performance featuring world renowned soprano Tatiana Monogarova. The Orchestra and Maestro de Waart worked tirelessly to perfect the concert programme, Richard Strauss' Serenade, Op 7 and Mahler's Symphony No.5 building on many hours of rehearal prior to the tour.
In spite of the tight and hectic schedule, members of the Orchestra managed to enjoy the many varieties of local delights in chilly Beijing.
13–1–2009 Tue Beijing
The second day of the China Tour continued to be sunny & cold in Beijing, but we were all well bundled up. All of us had prepared the cold weather with heavy coats and headed out of the warm hotel lobby after lunch to the National Centre for the Performing Arts. Beijing is truly an extraordinary city with thousands of tourists and bicycles, heavy traffic and the grand architecture of the Great Hall of the People. At the concert hall was the usual orchestra scene – rehearsals. The orchestra played Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 under the baton of Perry So, Orchestra's Assistant Conductor. The audience loved Perry for his dynamic conducting skills and his youthful energy when introducing the Symphony in great details. Perry was also interviewed by CCTV sharing his experience of working with the HKPO.
12–1–2009 Mon Beijing
In addition to its regular concerts, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (the HKPO) goes on tour in China this year!
After the first successful concert in Guangzhou last Friday, the HKPO's China Tour 2009 continued to Beijing. The bitingly cold weather in Beijing did not dampen the high spirits of the musicians' on this historic tour.
|Arriving into Beijing Capital Airport||Waiting for the coach to hotel|
9-1-2009 Fri 8PM
Guangdong Xinghai Concert Hall
BEETHOVEN Coriolan: overture
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 3
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7
|Edo de Waart conducts HKPO in all-Beethoven programme in Guangdong Xinghai Concert Hall||Chen Sa plays Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto|