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HKPO Closing 2008/09 Season with Viktoria Mullova Playing Brahms – 3 & 4 July


[Hong Kong 17 June 2009] The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) brings its 2008/09 season to a glorious close by presenting the Great Performers: Mullova plays Brahms concerts on 3 and 4 July (Fri & Sat) at 8pm at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall.

Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova will perform Brahms’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77 with the HKPO under the baton of guest conductor Zhang Xian. The programme also features Brahms’s Three Hungarian Dances and Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. Mullova Plays Brahms is sponsored by CIC Investor Services Limited

Viktoria Mullova, violin

"Mullova may be the most elegant, refined and sweetly expressive violinist on the planet." 

The Chicago Tribune, August 2005

Viktoria Mullova is a familiar face on the international concert scene, regularly appearing with the world’s major orchestras and conductors. In 2008-09 she performs with, among others, the Berlin Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Yannick Nezet-Seguin, The Philharmonia with Paavo Jarvi and the Orchestre National de France as well as concerts with the Sydney and Melbourne symphony orchestras.
Mullova studied at the Central Music School of Moscow and the Moscow Conservatoire. Her extraordinary talent captured international attention when she won First Prize at the 1980 Sibelius Competition in Helsinki and the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1982. As a recitalist, she regularly performs with Katia   Labèque. Mullova’s extensive discography for Philips Classics has attracted many prestigious awards. Her Vivaldi Concertos with the ONYX Classics label won her the Diapason D’Or of the Year award for 2005. She has also just completed the recording of all of J S Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin.

Zhang Xian, conductor
In 2009/10, Zhang Xian will become Music Director of La Verdi (the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi) in Italy, the first woman to hold that position with a major Italian orchestra. She ended her three year tenure as the New York Philharmonic’s Associate Conductor. She maintains a regular relationship with the orchestra and returns in 2009/10 for a subscription week.

In North America, the 2008/09 season includes her debuts with Chicago Symphony and a return visit to Los Angeles Philharmonic following her sensational debut with them in August 2007. In Europe, Xian Zhang continues to be an annual guest with the London Symphony Orchestra and other forthcoming engagements include Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra Berlin,  Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic, NDR Hamburg, SWR Stuttgart Radio and Orchestre National de Belgique.

Brahms’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77 - Composed during a Summer vacation in Pörtschach on the shores of the beautiful Lake Wörth the Violin Concerto exudes lyricism and beauty from almost every bar. The opening movement is based on the four contrasting themes outlined in the extended orchestral introduction. “The most beautiful oboe solo in the whole of orchestral music”, is how the British writer Antony Hopkins has described the Concerto’s slow movement.  The Finale is in the customary Rondo form and celebrates in its ebullient double-stopped theme in which Brahms shared experiences of Hungarian music.

Brahms orchestrated just three of his Hungarian Dances. No.1, urgent and breathless, is based on a stirring violin theme originally called Isteni Csárdás by Ferenc Sárközy.  No.3 features a disarming melody known as the “Tolna Wedding Dance” (first heard from the oboe) which is thought to have been composed by Jósef Riszner, who was also the composer of the boisterous theme which gives No.10 such an uplifting quality.  This dance also features some abrupt changes of speed and direction, typical of gypsy dance music.

Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra - The 1st movement (“Introduction”) opens with a subdued theme from cellos and basses and eerie chatterings from the flute.  A solitary side drum heralds the 2nd movement (“Games of the Pairs”) and the first pair of instruments, bassoons, dances to a jaunty tune. The side-drum reappears to introduce a new idea – a hymn-like theme from the trumpets and trombones echoed by the four horns – after which the bassoons (now joined by a third) return followed by oboes, clarinets, flutes and muted trumpets. The 3rd movement (“Elegy”) reflects Bartók’s fascination with the sounds of nocturnal insects.  A strange oboe melody is accompanied by weird ramblings from the flute and clarinet and the piccolo makes an appearance before the violins burst in with a passionate, emotionally charged theme. In the 4th movement (“Interrupted Intermezzo”) a rhythmically unsettled melody, first heard from the oboe, is contrasted with a calm theme announced by the violas.  Then, tentatively at first, a solo clarinet pipes up with a theme from Shostakovich’s LeningradSymphony. Some nocturnal flutterings from the flute effectively put this movement to sleep to be rudely awakened by the horns announcing the start of the 5th movement (“Finale”). 

Great Performers: Mullova plays Brahms
3 & 4-7-2009 Fri & Sat 8PM
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall
Ticket Price: HK$380 $280 $200 $150
Weekday 10% discount

Zhang Xian, conductor
Viktoria Mullova, violin

BRAHMS Three Hungarian Dances
BRAHMS Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra

Free Pre-concert Talk

3/7/2009 Fri 7:15pm - 7:45pm (English)

4/7/2009 Sat 7:15pm - 7:45pm (Cantonese)


HK Cultural Centre Auditoria Building 4/F Foyer


Fri (English)
Vance Lee
Bassoon player of HKPO

Sat (Cantonese)
Fan Ting
Principal of Second Violins of HKPO

Photos download: (Xian Zhang) (Viktoria Mullova)

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The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) is one of Asia’s leading orchestras. 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. HKPO annually touches the lives of 200,000 music lovers through more than 150 performances. HKPO stays in tune with our city by presenting the biggest outdoor symphonic concert of the year, Swire Symphony Under the Stars at Happy Valley in the 07/08 season. In 08/09 season the Orchestra undertook a major six-concert tour of China, including the Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou, Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts and Shanghai Grand Theatre under the leadership of Maestro Edo de Waart.

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.
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is the Venue Partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.