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"King's Harmonica Quintet - 25 Years in Retrospect" exhibition opens at HK Central Library

     The renowned Hong Kong performing troupe King's Harmonica Quintet has made numerous prestigious performances and aims to exploit the capabilities of the harmonica to the fullest extent with original repertoire. Over the years, the group has commissioned or re-arranged over 100 works and has created about 30 original pieces for harmonica quintet.

     To celebrate the troupe's 25th anniversary, the Hong Kong Public Libraries (HKPL) of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will host an exhibition, "King's Harmonica Quintet - 25 Years in Retrospect", from today (July 11) until September 30 at the Arts Resource Centre on 10/F of the Hong Kong Central Library (HKCL) for the public to review this talented group's performance journey over the past quarter-century.

     In addition to showcasing the group's music, the exhibition will display the bass harmonicas, tenor harmonicas, treble harmonicas and other harmonicas played by the Quintet, as well as their manuscripts, awards, trophies and other valuable items. Other highlight exhibits include manuscripts by famous composers Dr Mui Kwong-chiu and Mr Hui Cheung-wai and the memorable recording "Gifted".

     To complement the exhibition, the HKPL will host a talk and demonstration entitled "Harmonica - Art and Life: King's Harmonica Quintet sharing talk" at 2.30pm on September 16 (Sunday) at the HKCL's Lecture Theatre. The talk will be moderated by music critic Mr Chow Fan-fu, who has remarked that "the form of the harmonica quintet has been recognised as opening up a new avenue for harmonica enthusiasts". Composers Mr Hui and Dr Mui will be present to share their views on the troupe and there will also be a musical demonstration from the Quintet.

     The Quintet was established in 1987 by five King's College harmonica enthusiasts who created a revolutionary form of harmonica performance. The group started by transcribing classical string quartets and ensemble works for two treble chromatic harmonicas, two tenor chromatic harmonicas and one bass chromatic harmonica. Whereas the originality of the works is preserved, the special techniques and tone quality of the harmonica ensemble are incorporated to give audiences a stylistic and innovative presentation of music. From 1999, the troupe pioneered the commissioning of new works for harmonica quintet. The American Harmonica Newsletter has praised the group for "convincing people that the harmonica is a tremendously versatile, strong and delicate musical instrument".

     The Quintet has appeared regularly at the Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival as adjudicators, seminar speakers and guest performers since 1996. The Quintet made history for Hong Kong by winning the champions' award at the World Harmonica Championship in Germany in 1997. They also led the formation of the Hong Kong Harmonica Association in 2002, which hosted the large-scale 5th Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival 2004 in Hong Kong. The Quintet and its members have not only collaborated with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, but have also performed in nearly 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the US.

     Admission to the exhibition and talk are free. For enquiries, please call 2921 0259.

Ends/Wednesday, July 11, 2012


The "King's Harmonica Quintet - 25 Years in Retrospect" exhibition at the Art Resources Centre on 10/F of the Hong Kong Central Library.


Some of the harmonicas being displayed at the "King's Harmonica Quintet - 25 Years in Retrospect" exhibition.


Some of the manuscripts being displayed at the "King's Harmonica Quintet - 25 Years in Retrospect" exhibition.


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