To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the French composer Claude Debussy, the Hong Kong Virtuosi will collaborate with sought-after Mainland conductor Yang Yang and local soprano Louise Kwong for a concert in November.
The concert will be held at 8pm on November 17 (Saturday) at the Auditorium, Tsuen Wan Town Hall. Under the baton of Yang, who will conduct for the first time in Hong Kong, more than 30 musicians from the Hong Kong Virtuosi will perform Debussy's "5 Songs" (including "Harmonie du Soir", "Dans le Jardin", "Beau Soir", "Spleen" and "Jane") featuring Kwong and arranged by local composer Lam Fung. The group will also perform Debussy's "Pré
lude à l'après midi d'un faune, L86" (chamber music version by Schoenberg), Spohr's "Grand Nonet in F, Op. 31" and Richard Strauss' "Le bourgeois gentilhomme, Suite for Orchestra, Op. 60."
The Hong Kong Virtuosi comprises talented local musicians with a commitment to music-making at the highest level and a mission to serve the community. The group has performed at various local venues and music festivals with the aim of promoting classical music to Hong Kong people, and has shared the stage with international orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Moscow Virtuosi and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
Yang Yang took first prize at the 2006 Dimitris Mitropoulos International Competition for orchestral conducting in Greece, becoming the first Chinese to win this competition. Born into a musical family, Yang began learning the piano at a young age and later entered the Central Conservatory of Music to study conducting.
Yang's conducting career began at the first Beijing International Music Festival in 1998 and for the following eight years he continued conducting the operas and concerts at the same festival. One of the most active conductors in China, Yang has worked closely with major orchestras and opera houses around the country. He is currently principal conductor of the China Philharmonic Orchestra and music director and chief conductor of the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra.
Louise Kwong obtained her bachelor's degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and followed this with a post-graduate diploma with distinction from the Royal College of Music, London. In 2012, she obtained her master's degree at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She is currently studying at the Dutch National Opera Academy in Amsterdam.
In April 2012, Kwong became the first Hong Kong singer to win the second prize, the "best soprano prize in memory of Dame Joan Sutherland" and the audience prize at the 18th Ferruccio Tagliavini International Competition for Opera Singers in Austria. Following this success she was invited to give concerts at Graz Opera House and Bad Radkersburg with the Graz Philharmonic Orchestra.
The concert by the Hong Kong Virtuosi is part of the Debussy Year celebration programme presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Tickets priced at $80, $120 and $160 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 CSSA recipients available on a first-come, first-served basis).
For programme enquiries, please call 2268 7321 or visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/Programme/en/music/00000414.html. Ticketing enquiries can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at www.urbtix.hk.
Ends/Wednesday, October 17, 2012