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HKPO invites Vesko Eschkenazy of Royal Concertgebouw as Guest Concertmaster this week

14 April 2008

Hong Kong, 14 April 2008 – This week, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra welcomes Vesko Eschkenazy, First Concertmaster of one of the world’s top orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, to be guest concertmaster. One of Richard Strauss’ most famous and massive symphonic poems, A Hero’s Life features a great amount of soloistic writing for the concertmaster and will be a perfect showcase for Eschkenazy both as a leader and a violinist. Swire Maestro: Akiko’s Mozart Concerto will be held on 18 and 19 April at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall.

Apart from rehearsals and performances in preparation for this weekend’s concerts, Eschkenazy will also give a masterclass to the Orchestra’s Robert H.N. Ho Orchestral Fellows, talented young Chinese string players.

Vesko Eschkenazy has been First Concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra since 1 January 2000. Born in Bulgaria in 1970, the violinist’s talents as a leader began to shine from the age of 11, when he became concertmaster of a youth orchestra. He later gained a Masters degree from the Guildhall School of Music in London, and has forged a brilliant career as a violin virtuoso and leader, being a laureate of international competitions: Wieniawaki, Beijing and Carl Flesch in London. He has played under the direction of Kurt Masur and the late Carlo Maria Giulini, and has performed chamber music with the great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. Classics Today (USA) wrote: “his warm, well-rounded tone competes with any other recording of a famous violinist”.

Swire Maestro: Akiko’s Mozart Concerto will be conducted by guest conductor Lawrence Renes, who rose to fame in 1995 when he replaced Riccardo Chailly to conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in a concert featuring the same work he will conduct this weekend – Strauss’ A Hero’s Life. From 1994 to 1996, Renes was an assistant to Edo de Waart at the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic where he was involved in the Mahler celebration at the Concertgebouw, Schoenberg's Gürrelieder at the Holland Festival and a recording of the Mahler cycle.

In the same programme, violinist Akiko Suwanai will be making her debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in Mozart’s Violin Concerto no.5. She will perform on one of the most famous and precious violins today – the 1714 ‘Dolphin’ Stradivarius, previously owned by celebrated violinist Jascha Heifetz.

Programme Details:

Swire Maestro: Akiko’s Mozart Concerto

18& 19/ 4/ 2008
Friday and Saturday
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall
8 pm
HK$300, $240, $180, $120


Lawrence Renes conductor
Akiko Suwanai violin
Vesko Eschkenazy guest concertmaster

Mozart Cosi fan tutte overture
Mozart Violin Concerto No.5, K. 219
R Strauss A Hero’s Life

Swire Classic Insights Pre-concert talks
Time: 7:15 - 7:45pm
Venue: Level 4 Foyer, Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall
Free Admission

18/4 (English) Speaker: Prof David Gwilt, Emeritus Professor of Music,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

19/4 (Cantonese) Speaker: Leung Kin-fung, First Associate Concertmaster of HKPO

Swire is the title sponsor of Swire Maestro Series: Akiko’s Mozart Concerto

– END –

Hailed as “one of Asia's top orchestras”, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) is led by the internationally renowned Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Edo de Waart. Enriching Hong Kong’s cultural life for over a century, the Orchestra has grown into a formidable ensemble of Chinese and international talents in the last three decades, attracting world-class artists to perform on the same stage. In April 2006, The Swire Group Charitable Trust became the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s Principal Patron to enable Maestro de Waart’s artistic vision for the Orchestra to be realized. HKPO annually touches the lives of 200,000 music lovers through more than 150 performances, including a series of outreach activities including the city’s largest outdoor symphonic concert in Happy Valley, Swire Symphony under the Stars. Please visit for more information about the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is financially supported by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

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