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HKPO Announces Inaugural Concert of New Artistic Director and Chief Conductor

2004-09-24

Hong Kong, 24 September 2004 – The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra announced today the Inaugural Concert of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s new Artistic Director and Chief Conductor. ‘The Harbourside inaugurates the New Era of the Hong Kong Philharmonic with Edo de Waart’ will be held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall at 8pm on 22 and 23 October 2004 (Friday, Saturday). A welcoming ceremony cum press conference will be held at 6:45pm on 20 October (Wednesday) at ‘The Harbourside’ in West Kowloon to celebrate this important event. Maestro de Waart’s Inaugural concert is title sponsored by Hang Lung Properties Limited.

The programme of the Inaugural concert features Mahler’s Symphony No.1 Titan and John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine. The Orchestra has also commissioned a new work from renowned Chinese composer, Guo Wenjing. Journeys (previously named Wandering) is a setting of epic poetry by living Beijing poet Xi Chuan. Joining the HKPO in this world premiere is Beijing-born soprano JiaLin-Marie Zhang, based in France. Tickets are now available at URBTIX at HK$480, $360, $240 and $140.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra will then perform the same programme in Shanghai as part of Shanghai Concert Hall’s Grand Opening Programme. It will be held on 29 October 2004 at 7:30pm. This will be the first concert in the Mainland led by our new Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, Edo de Waart.

Edo de Waart is a conductor of major global standing, and one of the world’s greatest living legends. He has led an illustrious career of major directorships with international orchestras and opera companies, and has an enviable reputation and ability to transform them into world-class ensembles. He is currently Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, a post he will relinquish at the end of this year. He has held such distinguished positions as Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Opera, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony and Music Director of San Francisco Symphony, among others. He has enjoyed success in many of the greatest opera houses of the world, such as Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, the Paris Opera and Bayreuth. An energetic, visionary musician, he and his family will move to Hong Kong to begin this challenging venture in Asia. Already fluent in Dutch, German and English, he also plans to learn Putonghua.

The concert programme will begin with American contemporary composer John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine. To mark this special event, we have commissioned a new work from renowned Chinese composer, Guo Wenjing, based on the poem of another contemporary Chinese poet, Xi Chuan. For this premiere performance we have invited soprano, JiaLin-Marie Zhang as the soloist. To end, Maestro de Waart will lead the orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No.1, Titan, which marks the beginning of Maestro de Waart’s complete Mahler cycle with the Hong Kong Philharmonic in the next five years.

For over a century, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra has been at the heart of the musical and artistic life of Hong Kong. Since it turned professional in 1974, it has gradually built up a fine reputation, bringing great music to audiences throughout the region and attracting the world’s finest artists to perform in its diverse and vibrant annual concert season.

Edo de Waart’s first season as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor includes many highlights, such as the commencement of a complete cycle of Mahler symphonies, beginning with No. 1 and No. 5 this season, concert performances of Richard Strauss’ subliminal creation, one-act opera Salome with a stellar cast of singers, appearances with such outstanding soloists as Emanuel Ax, Sarah Chang, Truls Mørk and Janine Janson.

Visit the HKPO website for more information at www.hkpo.com For enquiries, please call Ring-the-Phil at 2312 6103. Tickets are available through reservation at 2734 9009 (URBTIX), online (www.urbtix.gov.hk) or Credit Card Booking at 2111 5999 (Cityline).

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APPENDICES:

About Jialin-Marie Zhang

Born in Beijing, Jialin-Marie Zhang (b.1971) studied at the Central Conservatory of Music and Ecole Normale de Musique, Paris. She is a winner of many national and international competitions, including First Prize at the Peking Vocal French Music Competition, the Munich ARD International Music Competition Prize and the First Prize (Singing) at the 1999 Concours International de Paris. She has replaced Renee Fleming in the title role of Louise and performed in major opera houses in Europe as Madame Butterfly and Manon Lescaut, Freia in Wagner’s Das Rheingold, the first part of the Ring cycle. She also world premiered the work of living composer, W. Rihm, with the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester of Berlin led by Kent Nagano.

About Journeys

Journeys is a setting of epic poetry by living Beijing poet Xi Chuan, a deeply expressive artist known for his intellectual insight. The text explores the powerful mystery of our universe and celebrates the human spirit. “There is a lot that is wonderful in Chinese contemporary poetry, but it is a genre that is so neglected by the general population today. Perhaps it is part of the course of our time. Setting music to a work by a living poet is a very exciting venture for me,” Guo said.

About Guo Wenjing

Guo Wenjing (b. 1956) possesses a distinctive compositional voice, a result of the urban tension and regional folklore that coexist in his native Sichuan city of Chongqing. Admitted in 1978 when the Central Conservatory of Music re-opened its doors after the Cultural Revolution, Guo and his fellow students Tan Dun, Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Chen Qigang, and Qu Xiaosong have brought Chinese new music to the forefront on the world stage. The powerful imprint of Guo’s Sichuanese heritage manifests itself in his early vocal symphonic setting of Li Bai’s poetry, Shu Dao Nan [“Hard are the ways of Sichuan”] (1987), selected as one of the “Twentieth-Century Distinguished Chinese Classics” by the People’s Music Publishing House.

Guo’s most recent premieres include Fengyiting, a chamber opera commissioned and premiered by the Nieuw Ensemble for Amsterdam Concertgebouw’s Zaterdagmatinee series (March 2004) and his second quartet commissioned and premiered by the Kronos Quartet (April 2004). His chamber opera Night Banquet (2000), inspired by a portrait of the Song dynasty court official Han Xizai, was first produced at London’s Almeida Theatre and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. A second production travelled to Paris Autumn, Berlin Festwochen, Perth International Arts Festival, and the Lincoln Center Festival in 2002. Guo’s Chinese bamboo flute concerto Chou Kong Shan was performed in 1995 by the Gotheborg Symphony in Sweden under the baton of Neeme Järvi.