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Hong Kong Youth Symphony Orchestra to showcase Russian music

     The Hong Kong Youth Symphony Orchestra (HKYSO) of the Music Office under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will present a colourful musical canvas and brilliant orchestral renditions of pictures at its annual concert, which will feature works by two quintessential Russian composers. Works to be performed in the programme will include Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" and Tchaikovsky's "Serenade in C Major for String Orchestra, 1st movement" and "1812 Overture".

     The Hong Kong Youth Symphony Orchestra Annual Concert, "Pictures at an Exhibition", will be held at 3pm on November 20 (Sunday) at the Concert Hall of Hong Kong City Hall. Under the batons of conductors Pak Wing-heng, Dr Joseph Kam, Simon Li and guest conductor Dr Ng Wah-hei, more than 100 members of the HKYSO will perform in the concert.

     "Pictures at an Exhibition" is a piano work that was composed by Mussorgsky after he attended a memorial exhibition of works by the painter Victor Hartmann. Inspired by the 10 exhibits, he composed the music with 10 independent movements and four "Promenades" to capture the different scenes in the pictures. With variations in tones and structures, the music vividly depicts a garden scene of children playing around, a troubadour singing, a peasant driving his ox cart home, a busy market and a witch chasing her victim. The orchestral version to be played by the HKYSO was arranged by the French composer Maurice Ravel.

     Tchaikovsky's "Serenade in C major for String Orchestra, 1st movement" is full of strong Russian style with a touch of sadness. Its gracious and smooth melody makes it one of the best serenades. The Hong Kong Youth Strings will guest perform the piece at the concert. "1812 Overture", also by Tchaikovsky, features the victory of Russia in the war against Napoleon's invasion in 1812. The remarkable feature of the piece is the use of timbre. On top of the usual orchestral instruments, ceremonial cannon fire of the military force, chime bells and brass fanfare are added at the end, pushing the grandeur to a climax. In this concert, the ceremonial cannon fire will be replaced by the sound of the bass drum.

     Dr Ng Wah-hei, a former member of the HKYSO, has been invited to be the guest conductor to perform his award-winning work "Beyond Life II", which was inspired by the novel "Norwegian Wood" written by the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The variations in melody and the vibrant texture reflect the sorrow and beauty associated with death featured in the novel.

     Dr Ng received his first violin lesson at the Music Office at the age of 6, and remained active in different Music Office orchestras for many years. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music degrees from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and further acquired his DMA degree at the University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC) in the United States. Dr Ng has won different awards including the First Prize in the Chamber Music Composition Competition at UMKC, as well as the second-place prize at the Beethoven Club/Belvedere Festival Composition Contest.

     Since its establishment in 1978, the HKYSO has provided advanced-level orchestral training for young musicians, and many orchestra members have gone on to become eminent professionals. The orchestra has collaborated with many internationally acclaimed conductors and soloists. In May 2010, the HKYSO was invited by UNICEF to perform a joint concert with the renowned pianist Lang Lang.

     The HKYSO has also played the role of music ambassador for Hong Kong and has participated in concert tours to France, Israel, Cyprus, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, Singapore and the Mainland. In October 2010, the HKYSO performed in the Hong Kong Week of World Expo 2010 Shanghai China and participated in exchange programmes with young musicians in Shanghai.

     Tickets priced at $80, $60 and $40 for the concert are now available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessions are available for full-time students, senior citizens, people with disabilities and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients.

     For credit card telephone booking, please call 2111 5999. Internet booking is available at For programme enquiries, please call 2796 1003 or 2582 5311 or visit the website

Ends/Tuesday, November 15, 2011


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