Media Contact:
Doris Chan
Director of Marketing
Tel: (852) 2721 9035
Mobile: (852) 9776 8445

Becky Lee
Media Relations Manager
Tel: (852) 2721 1585
Mobile: (852) 9201 4642

HKPO Stages Lunchtime Concert Series at AIG Tower for Second Year


Hong Kong, 11 October 2006 – After the immense success of the "AIG Lunchtime Harmonies" last year, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) and American International Group, Inc. (AIG) will again present a series of free, lunchtime concerts this year.

The second series of the "AIG Lunchtime Harmonies" concerts will be held over five consecutive days from Monday 23rd to Friday 27th October at AIG Tower in Central. The daily programme, running from 1 pm to 1.40 pm, has been chosen to coincide with the standard office lunch hour, making classical music more accessible to the public, while also providing an enjoyable break to the business community in Central.

Response to the concerts last year was overwhelming, drawing an audience of around 400 to 500 each day.

AIG's Senior Vice Chairman, Edmund Tse, said, "AIG has a history in Hong Kong going back over 75 years and has long been involved in raising the profile of the arts in this city. The AIG Lunchtime Harmonies allows us to meld the worlds of business and the arts, giving the public a chance to enjoy the inspiring experience of a live orchestra. As Asia’s leading orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is our natural partner in this endeavour."

Over the week, more than 30 musicians from the HKPO in chamber groups of various sizes will perform in AIG Tower's stunning Sky Lobby, where dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the tranquil Chater Garden, providing the perfect backdrop for the performances.

John Harding, HKPO's newly appointed Concertmaster, designed the programme this year.  "In these lunchtime concerts I have tried to balance the familiar with the unfamiliar. The Bach double violin concerto and Mozart's Clarinet Quintet will be familiar, but Copland's wonderful ballet score Appalachian Spring in its original orchestration will undoubtedly be a new confection for some. The programmes I have chosen represent just a tiny proportion of some of the wonderful music written for chamber orchestra, and are aimed to please rather than "challenge" the listener with new or experimental music," said Mr Harding.

John Harding is an internationally renowned violinist who has held such important positions as Co-concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra prior to his appointment at HKPO.

The daily programme will comprise two to four classical pieces. The Monday concert features music for brass and woodwind instruments, while the other four showcase various orchestral works from Bach to Copland. HKPO musicians will perform under the leadership of Victor Tam on Monday, and will be led by John Harding, either as conductor or lead violin, from Tuesday to Friday.

AIG "Lunchtime Harmonies"
Monday 23rd October – Friday 27th October
1pm – 1:40pm

Monday 23rd October
Conductor: Victor Tam
GABRIELI                 Canzon septimi toni à 8 (No.2), (1597)
                                   Canzon XXVIII, (1608)
                                   Sonata XIII, (1615)
MOZART                   Gran Partita: extracts
HANDEL                   Royal Fireworks Music

Tuesday 24th October
Lead Violin: John Harding
MOZART                  Flute Quartet in D major
MENDELSSOHN         Octet

Wednesday 25th October
Lead Violin: John Harding
SCHUBERT                      Octet: variations
MOZART                   Clarinet Quintet in A major

Thursday 26th October
Conductor: John Harding
MOZART                  Divertimento in F Major, K138
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS               Fantasia on Greensleeves
DEBUSSY                        Danse sacrée et danse profane
COPLAND                        Appalachian Spring: suite

Friday 27th October
Lead Violin: John Harding
BACH                               Double Concerto for 2 violins
TCHAIKOVSKY                 Serenade for Strings

- END -

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. It gives over a hundred performances annually, many of which are highly anticipated events in the city's cultural calendar. The Hong Kong Philharmonic reaches out to the community with such diverse activities as a comprehensive music-in-education programme for primary and secondary school students, performances at university campuses, an annual project with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts to help nurture aspiring professionals, free pre-concert talks that provides in-depth knowledge of music and musicians and an open-air concert that gives the public free access to classical music.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is subvented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

SWIRE is the Principal Patron of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

American International Group, Inc. (AIG), world leaders in insurance and financial services, is the leading international insurance organization with operations in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional and individual customers through the most extensive worldwide property-casualty and life insurance networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of retirement services, financial services and asset management around the world. AIG’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the stock exchanges in London, Paris, Switzerland and Tokyo.