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HKPO Presents A Portrait of Tchaikovsky


Hong Kong, 30 June 2006 – The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) will present a festival of Tchaikovsky’s music on three consecutive weekends from 23rd June to 8th July, the final three weeks of the 2005/06 season. Three renowned conductors – Edo de Waart, Ion Marin, and Gianluigi Gelmetti are featured alongside with star violinist Li Chuanyun, renowned cellist Wang Jiang, and new pianistic superstar Simon Trpceski respectively. Programme includes the composer’s three greatest symphonies (No. 4, 5, 6) and his best-loved concerto works for violin, cello and piano. The third and final programme in the festival, Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto, is sponsored by Sino Group.

The festival opened to enthusiastic responses and critical acclaims on 23 & 24 June with Edo de Waart conducting one of Hong Kong's brightest young stars - violinist Li Chuanyun. The second programme (30 June & 1 July) in the festival features world-renowned Chinese cellist Wang Jian in collaboration of maestro Ion Marin. Wang will perform the intimate and restrained Rococo Variations for cello and orchestra, a tribute to the era of Mozart and Haydn. Completing the programme are Francesca da Rimini and the fourth Symphony.

The finale programme stars Italian conductor Gianluigi Gelmetti, Music Director of both the Rome Opera House and the Sydney Symphony. A master of orchestral colour and expressiveness, he reveals the pathos and tragedy of Tchaikovsky's heartfelt final symphony. By contrast, the First Piano Concerto is extrovert and heroic and is an ideal vehicle for the thrilling virtuosity of young Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski.

One of the best-beloved Russian composers, Tchaikovsky is known to have a great sense of melody, immense emotional power and full orchestral colour in his music. The late Harold C Schonberg, renowned music critic and journalist, had these comments about the composer’s works, ”...a sweet, inexhaustible, supersensuous fund of melody. It was this melody that was to make him famous, first in Russia, then internationally. It was a peculiarly Russian kind of melody, plangent, introspective, often modal-sounding, touched with neuroticism, as emotional as a scream from a window on a dark night. The music reflected the man.”

Wang Jian was born and brought up in China, and discovered at an early age by Isaac Stern with whom he was featured in the celebrated documentary From Mao to Mozart. He later travelled to the West to study at Yale University and since then his career has gone from strength to strength.

Wang Jian’s first professional engagement was in 1986, at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Since then he has embarked on an international career, early highlights included concerts with the Mahler Youth Orchestra/Claudio Abbado and with the Royal Concertgewbouw Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly (in Amsterdam and on tour in China). Since then he has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras including Philadelphia, Cleveland, Minnesota and Chicago Symphony, with many of the greatest conductors such as Dutoit, Krivine, Sawallisch, Bergland, Eschenbach.

Wang Jian has an exclusive contract with DGG. He has also recorded the Brahms Double Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Claudio Abbado and Gil Shaham, among other acclaimed recordings. His instrument is graciously loaned to him by the family of the late Mr. Sau-Wing Lam.

“He(Wang Jian) is a serenely composed musician who conveys a wonderful sense of centredness. His playing seems to flow from a spiritually restive core that enables him to connect with the music on an intimate, direct level, generously human, without any empty exploit or false drama. Not least, his technique is astonishing: it's jaw-dropping and seems to take the cello into new, unexplored territory,” praised The Australian

One of the most exciting conductors on today’s musical scene, Ion Marin’s symphonic reputation developed through conducting orchestras such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony (at the BBC Proms), Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Orchestre National de France and Staatskapelle Dresden. His anticipated forthcoming appearances include performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker. He has collaboraed with such distinguished soloists as Yo-Yo Ma, Gidon Kremer, Martha Argerich, Sarah Chang, Yuri Bashmet and Franck Peter Zimmerman. His discography has earned him three Grammy nominations, the Deustche Schallplatten Critic Prize and the Daipason Palme d’Or, among others.

Simon Trpceski, though still in his mid-twenties, has established himself as one of the most remarkable musicians to have emerged in recent years. He came to public attention firstly at the London Piano Competition in 2000 and then at his exceptional Wigmore Hall debut recital in 2001. A born performer with astonishing technical command and a magnetic personality, his highly successful 2004 Proms debut prompted The Independent to write “people will be auctioning tickets for Simon Trpceski soon”. His debuts with the New York Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony orchestras have resulted in re-invitation with Maazel and Ashkenazy respectively. His first two recordings have received critical praise and his first was awarded two Gramophone Awards. Gramophone wrote, “Trpceski’s virtuoso voltage … is awe-inspiring, his unfailing musicianship is even more remarkable”.

Gianluigi Gelmetti has conducted the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra for ten years and all the leading orchestras in the world and appears regularly at international festivals. He has been the Chief Conductor at Teatro dell’Opera since April 2000. In 1999 he was awarded the Rossini d’Oro Prize. Gelmetti also works regularly at the Royal Opera House. He was awarded Best Conductor of the Year from the German magazine Opernwelt, and in 1997 he won the Tokyo critics’ prize for the best performance of the year for Beethoven’s Symphony No.9. He is currently Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony.

A Portrait of Tchaikovsky – 2nd and 3rd programme

Date Conductor/Soloist Price
(All Tchaikovsky)
Wang Jian plays Tchaikovsky 30/6 & 1/7/2006 Ion Marin
Wang Jian
$400, $300, $200, $100 Francesca da Rimini Variation on a rococo theme Symphony No. 4
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto 7 & 8/7/2006 Gianluigi Gelmetti
Simon Trpceski
$400, $300, $200, $100

Piano Concerto No.1

Symphony No.6 Pathétique

"Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto" is sponsored by Sino Group.

Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall
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The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is rapidly emerging as Asia’s leading orchestra, since internationally renowned Edo de Waart joined as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor in the 2004/05 Season. Throughout the last three decades, the Orchestra has grown into a formidable ensemble of Chinese and international talents, attracting world-class artists to perform on the same stage. Apart from giving over a hundred performances annually, many of which are highly anticipated events in the city’s cultural calendar, it performs more than 70 free orchestral and chamber concerts for 70,000 primary and secondary school students a year. The Orchestra also joins hands with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts to help nurture aspiring professionals.