Franz Liszt was larger than life. It is even said that the appearance of a great comet at the time of his birth was an omen foretelling his dazzling future. The scale of what he went on to achieve as a pianist, composer and teacher, and as the first superstar in music history, is startling.
To mark the 200th anniversary of his birth, local pianist Mary Wu and radio broadcaster Jonathan Douglas will attempt to shed light on the many facets of Liszt's genius in performances of words and music. They will recite some letters, reviews and reminiscences, and Wu will play some of Liszt's piano masterpieces.
A graduate of the UK's Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal College of Music in London and the State University of New York at Stony Brook in the US, where she completed her Doctoral degree, Mary Wu is one of Hong Kong's most active and outstanding pianists. She has performed in many festivals in Europe, Asia and North America, including performances with Yehudi Menuhin in the UK and Germany. Wu is also a founding member of the Bauhinia Piano Trio, a faculty member of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and artist in residence at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Jonathan Douglas is known to Hong Kong radio listeners as the host of RTHK's Morning Call and Artbeat. He was invited by the British Council to perform speeches by William Shakespeare and Harold Pinter as part of the launch of BBC Prime. He also presented the poetry of Federico García Lorca as part of the 2006 New Vision Arts Festival. Douglas is also a self-taught pianist and a singer-songwriter. He performed with his sons, Cameron and Jamie, at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe. In 2008 Douglas was awarded an MBE for services to the British arts in Hong Kong.
Performed in English with Chinese surtitles, "Liszt's Portrait in Words and Music" is presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It will be held at 3pm and 7.30pm on December 17 (Saturday) at the Gallery, Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware (inside Hong Kong Park). Tickets priced at $200 (free seating) are now available at URBTIX outlets, on the Internet and by credit card telephone booking. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (limited tickets for students and CSSA recipients available on a first-come, first-served basis). There will also be meet-the-artists sessions after each performance.
For programme enquiries, please call 2268 7321 or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/Programme/en/music/000002af.html. Ticketing enquiries can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings can be made on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at www.urbtix.hk.
Ends/Thursday, November 17, 2011