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Exotic Birds and Sad Songs
"Symphony of Sorrowful Song" by Gorecki

28 October 2008

Hong Kong, 28 October 2008 Polish composer Henryk Gorecki scored a huge hit in 1992 when a CD of his Symphony No. 3 – Symphony of Sorrowful songs topped the pop charts in both the UK and the USA. Bemused by the the overwhelming success of this single work, which takes its inspiration from the words scratched onto the wall of her Auschwitz prison cell by an 18-year old Polish girl, Gorecki wondered “perhaps people find something they need in this piece of music.”

Joining Conductor Laureate David Atherton and the HKPO in this performance on 1 November will be the renowned solo soprano Melissa Shippen.

British pianist Joanna MacGregor who stunned audiences with her performance of Messiaen’s vast Vingt regards in 2008 Hong Kong Arts Festival, returns for a further celebration of the French composer’s centenary in the concert.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra offers free pre-concert talks for all concerts starting from November.

The HKPO believes that education is an essential component of our mission to promote classical music. On top of the continuing success of our free pre-concert talks for the six “Swire Maestro Series” concerts, we are proud to announce the upcoming free pre-concert talks for each of our concerts starting from 1st November supported by Venue Partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Scheme. We have invited leading experts and musicians offering fascinating insights into the composers’ lives, eras and creations enabling audiences to have a profound understanding of all pieces.

Dr. Joanna C. Lee, Honorary Fellow of Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies will be the speaker at the free talk on 1st November. It will take place in the level 4 foyer of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Auditoria Building from 7:15pm to 7:45pm. This free talk is open for public.

Programme Details

Exotic birds and sad songs

1 / 11 / 2008
Saturday 8PM
HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall
HK$250 $200 $150 $100

David Atherton conductor
Joanna MacGregor piano
Melissa Shippen soprano

Messiaen Petites esquisses d’oiseaux
Messiaen Oiseaux exotiques
Gorecki Symphony No. 3 – Symphony of Sorrow Songs
A New Vision Arts Festival programme

Free Pre-concert Talk
Speaker: Dr. Joanna C. Lee (in Cantonese)
Date: 1 November (Saturday)
Time: 7:15pm
Venue: HK Cultural Centre Auditoria Building 4/F Foyer
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is the Venue Partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Photo downloads:

Melissa Shippen, soprano

Tickets to the above concerts are available at URBTIX outlets
URBTIX website:
Reservations: 2734 9009
Credit Card booking: 2111 5999
Programme Enquiries: 2721 2030
HKPO Website:

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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.