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Music Forum – Unravelling The Rite

Jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Asia Society Hong Kong Center

Venue Date & Time Price
Miller Theater, Asia Society Hong Kong Center (9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong)
Free Admission

The Rite of Spring


Premiered on 29 May 1913

Composed by Igor Stravinsky

Choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky

Performed by Les Ballet Russes


The premiere of Le Sacre du Printemps (known as The Rite of Spring in English) by Sergei Diaghilev’s Les Ballet Russes at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 1913 totally redefined the audience's perception of ballet as an artistic expression of harmony and elegance. With Vaslav Nijinsky as the choreographer and Igor Stravinsky as the composer, the controversial ballet challenged the audience's aesthetic senses with its stiff dance movements and strident music.  Some among the audience were so disturbed that a riot broke out in the theatre at the premiere.


The avant-garde and innovative style of The Rite of Spring inspired a later generation of choreographers.  Numerous dance artists have their own interpretations, including such prominent names as Martha Graham, Pina Bausch, Kenneth MacMillan, Paul Taylor and Lin Hwai-min. 


About the Forum


The Rite of Spring is the most singularly influential piece of music in the 20th Century.  With this emblematic work, Stravinsky defined modernism in music, just as Picasso's canvases showed the essence of modernism in painting, and much as Beethoven had transformed music a century ago with his 'Eroica' Symphony.  The premiere of The Rite of Spring on 29 May 1913 provoked one of the greatest scandals in the history of music and dance.  While musicians and audience at the turn of century were confused by Stravinsky’s “savage sounds”, The Rite of Spring has since then inspired generation after generation of composers, both in its original form and in its enormous influence.  The score’s atrocious dissonances and complicated rhythms are now standard challenges that every conductor must overcome.  In this talk composer Chan Hing-yan will be in dialogue with conductor Lio Kuokman, sharing their insight and experience in unravelling the many subtleties of this seminal masterpiece.


In Cantonese


Running time to the forum is about 1 hour 30 mintues with no intermission.


About the Speakers


Dr. Chan Hing-yan Moderator/ Speaker

Chan currently chairs the Music Department of The University of Hong Kong.  His compositions, lauded for their subtle incorporation of Chinese elements, have been heard around the world at festivals such as the Second Spring of the Chinese Symphony, Beijing (2010), Edinburgh Festival (2009), Chinese Musicians Residency, Cornell (2009), Hommage a Bartók, Budapest (2006), International Gaudeamus Music Week, Amsterdam (2003), Melbourne Festival (2002), and Singapore Arts Festival (2002 and 2006).  Recent works include Heart of Coral – a chamber opera in three act, commissioned by the 41st Hong Kong Arts Festival (2013) and 'Twas the Thawing Wind – for sheng and orchestra, commissioned by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta for its North American tour (2012).  His three collaborations with the City Contemporary Dance Company (2005, 2007, 2009) have won him much acclaim as well as a Hong Kong Dance Award in 2008, when he also received commendation for "Persons with Outstanding Contributions to the Development of Arts and Culture" in the Secretary for Home Affairs' Commendation Scheme of that year.


Lio Kuokman Speaker

Praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “a startling conducting talent,” Lio has worked extensively as conductor in both the symphonic and operatic genres.  He has conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra, Canada National Arts Center Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Pan Asia Symphony, Hong Kong Virtuosi, Taipei Philharmonic, and Macau Orchestra.  He has served as cover conductor for Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra.  He has conducted in many opera projects including Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen, L’elisir d’amore, Lucia di Lammermoor, La fille du règiment, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci, and premiere of Chan Hing-yan’s chamber opera Heart of Coral, commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Festival.  For his contributions to the development of arts and culture, Lio has received a Certificate of Commendation from the government of Hong Kong, and an Honorary Diploma from the government of Macau.




Registration is required. Limited quota on a first-come-first-served basis


Registration and Enquiries: 2268 7223


The contents of this programme do not represent the views of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Asia Society Hong Kong Center.

The presenter reserves the right to substitute speakers and change the programme should unavoidable circumstances make it necessary.


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