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HKPO Welcomes New Artistic Director

2004-10-20

Hong Kong, 20 Oct 2004 – Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) announced the arrival of new Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Edo de Waart to Hong Kong and the Orchestra with a welcoming ceremony today. The event was held at the HarbourSide, whose developer Hang Lung Properties is the title sponsor of de Waart’s Inaugural Concert in Hong Kong and his début performance in Shanghai. This marks the beginning of a new era for the Orchestra as well as the international maestro’s initial 5-year music directorship.

"We salute Maestro de Waart’s artistic leadership, and entrust in him the further development of the HKPO," said Mr. Hu Fa-kuang, GBS, CBE, JP, Chairman of Hong Kong Philharmonic Society General Committee. “We would also like to extend our deepest gratitude for Mr. Ronnie Chan and Hang Lung Properties, for their very generous sponsorship.”

"Maestro de Waart’s directorship will contribute greatly to Hong Kong’s social and cultural advancement, to which Hang Lung is pleased to contribute," said Mr. Ronnie C. Chan, Chairman of Hang Lung Properties. “We wish him and the Orchestra a very successful performance on 22nd October as well as in Shanghai, and a whole season of excellence in music.”

Held at the HarbourSide in West Kowloon, the ceremony was officiated by guests of honour Dr. Alex S C Wu, CBE, LLD, JP, and Dr. Darwin Chen, SBS, ISO as well as the Hong Kong Philharmonic Society’s General Committee Chairman Mr. Hu Fa-kuang, GBS, CBE, JP and Hang Lung Properties Chairman Mr. Ronnie C. Chan. Maestro de Waart received a Qing Dynasty-style blackwood chair and a frame with Chinese calligraphy that means “the arrival of a king”, two fitting choices for de Waart’s leading position in the international music scene.

"I’m thrilled to be at last arriving in Hong Kong, where my new chapter of life would begin," said Maestro de Waart. "I am confident that together with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, we will achieve new artistic excellence and be a vital part of the cultural scene in this vibrant, unique city."

The Inaugural Concert, 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 October 2004 (Fri). Performances of the same programme will follow on 23rd in the same venue and on 29th at the Shanghai Concert Hall as part of its Grand Opening events. The concerts feature Mahler’s Symphony No.1 Titan, John AdamsShort Ride in a Fast Machine, and the world première of Journeys by renowned composer Guo Wenjing. Commissioned especially for this Inaugural Concert, Journeys is set to the epic poetry by living Beijing poet Xi Chuan. Beijing-born soprano JiaLin-Marie Zhang, based in France, will perform as the soloist in this world première.

"I am pleased that Mr. Guo and Ms. Zhang are joining us in today’s celebration. I was so delighted to discover Guo Wenjing’s music as recently as last year. He has a distinctive and unique voice and I am thrilled that my inaugural concert includes a world première by this wonderful composer. So far, our rehearsals with Ms. Zhang promise an outstanding performance on Friday,” added Maestro de Waart.

The welcoming ceremony began with Maestro de Waart’s arrival at around 6pm, when he was greeted by HKPO musicians’ performance of Dukas’ Fanfare from La Péri. It was then followed by the presentation of souvenirs to Maestro de Waart and Mr. Ronnie Chan. The HKPO then gave a 15-minute performance that includes excerpts from Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Brahms’ String Quartet in C minor, and Susato’s La Mourisque from Susato Suite. Afterwards the guests mingled in HarbourSide’s luxurious clubhouse while enjoying the stunning view of the Victoria Harbour.

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Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

For over a century, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra has been at the heart of the musical and artistic life of Hong Kong, 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.

From the 2004/05 season, the Hong Kong Philharmonic enters an exciting new chapter in its history with the appointment of celebrated Dutch conductor Edo de Waart as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor.