Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Showcasing Chinese talent - Hong Kong Philharmonic in UK for first time in 10 years

Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
The last year has been a good one for catching foreign orchestras in London, with a number coming to the BBC Proms for the first time and this trend continues as the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra makes its first visit to London in 10 years. As part of a European tour under their music director Jaap van Zweden, the orchestra will be giving two concerts in the UK; at London's Cadogan Hall (24 February 2015) and Birmingham's Symphony Hall (3 March 2015) with the London concert rather aptly coming just days after Chinese New Year. Their programme is designed to show off not only the orchestra's prowess, but the wealth of Chinese talent. So that in addition to Prokofiev's Symphony no. 5 there will be Beethoven's Violin Concerto with Chinese violinist Ning Feng and the UK premiere of a new work by composer Fung Lam.

Born in Hong Kong in 1979, Fung Lam studied composition with Martin Butler, Michael Finnissy and Michael Zev Gordon at the Universities of Southampton and Sussex. His new work, Quintessence, was commissioned for the orchestra's 40th anniversary celebrations in 2014 and is part of their active commissioning programme designed to showcase Chinese talent. Violinist Ning Feng studied at the Royal Academy of Music, and the concert at the Cadogan Hall represents his professional London debut.

Jaap van Zweden's background is as a violinist as well as conductor, and he was concertmaster of the Concertgebouw Orchestra for many years. He was appointed music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in 2012 and prior to that was music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Future highlights from the Hong Kong orchestra include the operas from Wagner's Ring Cycle in concert performances over four years, which will represent the first time an orchestra from Hong Kong or mainland China has played this work.

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