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David Atherton Conducts Sibelius Symphony 2


Hong Kong, 2 Nov 2004 – Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) presents Atherton Conducts Sibelius 2, a series of two programmes featuring Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2, conducted by HKPO Conductor Laureate David Atherton. The first programme will be held on 12 November (Fri) at 8pm in the Tsuen Wan Town Hall Auditorium. The second programme will be held on 19 & 20 November (Fri & Sat) at 8pm in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall.

In the 12 Nov concert in Tsuen Wan, the programme includes Britten’s Four Sea Interludes and Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No.1 in addition to Sibelius’s Symphony No.2. The concert features the widely-acclaimed HKPO’s Principal Cellist Richard Bamping. Bamping has collaborated with many of the world's leading musicians including Paul Tortelier, Pinchas Zukerman, Julian Lloyd Webber, and even the pop group Jamiroquai, to name but a few. Bamping currently plays on a rare Piatellini cello from Florence which was made in 1790, and was donated to him by a generous sponsor.

In the 19-20 Nov concerts in the Cultural Centre, the programme includes Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder besides Sibelius’ Symphony No.2. Featured in Kindertotenlieder will be British baritone David Wilson-Johnson, who has enjoyed a successful singing career spanning over thirty years. He has been a guest of major opera houses, orchestras, and festivals worldwide. He has sung under many distinguished conductors including Pierre Boulez, Frans Brüggen, Carlo-Maria Giulini, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gustav Leonhardt, Sir Charles Mackerras, Zubin Mehta, Andre Previn and Sir Simon Rattle.

Written between 1900 and 1902, Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 is marked by its emotional impact and nationalistic character. Written at a time when Czarist Russia tightened its control over Finland, some believes this symphony expresses Finland’s struggle against oppression and towards liberty. Such sentiment, they argue, is displayed through a four-movement journey from a scenic Finland, the entrapment by powerful neighbours, the awakening of national spirit, to a bridge towards triumph. Others are drawn by the Symphony’s other elements, such as inspiration of Dante’ Divine Comedy, Don Juan, and the sunny atmosphere of Italy, at where it was partly composed.

David Atherton is HKPO’s Conductor Laureate. In his native England, he was the youngest-ever conductor at the Royal Opera House and co-founded the London Sinfonietta. In America, he launched the Mostly Mozart Festival. His recordings have earned him a range of international awards. Of his recording of Tippett’s opera King Priam, for which he was given the coveted International Record Critics’ Award, the composer wrote in his recent autobiography: "Some artists will show insight into my intentions and in some cases this will have the force of a blinding vision: an example would be David Atherton's conducting... But then, Atherton is a conductor of genius." He has also conducted the English National Opera, Canadian Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and frequently appears at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Tickets are now available at URBTIX, at HK$220, 160, and 100 for 12 Nov’s concert and HK$380, 280, 200, and 120 for 19-20 Nov’s concert.

Visit the HKPO website for more information at For enquiries, please call 2721 2030. Tickets are available through reservation at 2734 9009 (URBTIX), online ( or Credit Card Booking at 2111 5999 (Cityline).