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Largest Symphonic Event in Hong Kong
Swire Symphony under the Stars (13th November)
Puts City on World Cultural Map
Free tickets to be distributed from 30th October


[Hong Kong 23 October 2009] The legendary New York Philharmonic in Central Park; the Berlin Philharmonic in the Waldbühne; Sydney Symphony in the Domain; and the outdoor Proms in Hyde Park in London. The world’s great cultural capitals share something very special – tens of thousands of their citizens each year are able to enjoy superlative symphonic music under the stars performed by orchestras they call their own.

This November, Hong Kong’s much anticipated answer to these great traditions, Swire Symphony under the Stars, will once again transform the lush expanse of the Happy Valley Racecourse Recreation Ground into a dense patchwork of music loving picnickers, providing its denizens with the chance to hear an exciting repertoire of favourite concert works as performed by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Perry So and violinist Mengla Huang. The free outdoor concert will take place on Friday, 13th November, at 7:30pm. Ticket distribution will start on 30th October at select Tom Lee Music Stores and the official event website:

Thanks to the generous and continued support of the Orchestra ‘s Principal Patron - Swire Symphony under the Stars is in its third year and is the most important public part of the Orchestra’s dedicated drive to open out the arts to the community. And there’s no finer expression of what the arts can mean to a city than this wonderful annual tradition of a free concert in the outdoors. This year, an expected turnout of 20,000 people of all ages and from all walks of life will be heading to this unique performance venue nestled in Causeway Bay, for a rousing set of orchestral music which celebrates all those things which make Hong Kong such a special and inspiring place to be in. The grounds will open at 5:30pm and food and beverages will be available for purchase at kiosks within or concert-goers are welcome to bring their own. For added comfort, families attending this free outdoor concert and fireworks display may wish to bring a blanket. As it is Hong Kong’s largest and most popular symphonic event of the year, patrons are encouraged to be on time as there is no priority seating. 

A programme not to be missed!

Perry So [full biography], the young and hugely talented HKPO Assistant Conductor and First Prize Laureate of the 5th Prokofiev Conducting Competition, makes his début appearance in this year’s Swire Symphony under the Stars. Under his baton, the HKPO will perform a series of musical masterpieces ranging from the froth of Viennese classics, heady Russian romanticism to exquisite Chinese minatures. Violinist Huang Mengla [full biography], one of today’s most critically acclaimed and dazzling soloists, will share the stage with the Orchestra in the popular Sarasate Carmen Fantasy and the rhapsodic but fiendishly difficult Tzigane  (“Gypsy”) by Ravel. And what better way to round out an enthralling evening than Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”, with a finale of blazing fireworks against the backdrop of Happy Valley? TV celebrity Patrick Dunn again takes to the stage as Master of Ceremonies for this special event.

Free admission with tickets!

The tickets, which are free and by registration only, are guaranteed to be the hottest in town. Based on experiences from the last two concerts, all tickets were claimed within a few hours of them being available to the public.  So, act fast to get your free tickets early this year at select Tom Lee Music Stores or register on Swire Symphony under the Stars’ official website: from 10:00am on 30th October (Friday). Tickets are limited and will be distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Come join thousands of other music lovers playing the harmonica with HKPO to break the Guinness World Record!

What’s more, at this year’s Swire Symphony under the Stars there is a fun new element inviting the community to join the Orchestra in breaking the Guinness Book Record for the largest gathering of ,harmonica players of all time.  Registration starts from 5:30pm and ends at 7:30pm on the day. No prior music knowledge is necessary. Everyone can participate! The record breaking attempt will take place during the interval of the concert.  Each participant will receive a free HOHNER harmonica and a Commendation Certificate.  To register or for more information on the event, please go to:  

Swire Symphony under the Stars is made possible by the generous support of the following organizations:

Principal Patron: SWIRE

Major Sponsors: HSBC Insurance, Tom Lee Music

Official Harmonica: HOHNER

Media Partner: RTHK Television Division, RTHK Radio 4

Present in association with: Leisure and Cultural Services Department

Hotel Sponsor: Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong

Supporting Organizations: Rotaract Club of Baptist University and HKUST, Tom Lee Music Foundation, Hong Kong Harmonica Association, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts

Swire Symphony under the Stars is a Brand Hong Kong event and is supported by the Mega Events Funds. It is also a celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Swire Symphony under the Stars Details
Date: 13 | 11 | 2009 (Friday)
Time: Gates opens to public at 5:30pm
  Concert at 7:30pm (Free admission with tickets)
  On-site registration for Guinness Book of Record attempt from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Venue: Happy Valley Racecourse Recreation Ground


Perry So


Huang Mengla


Click the thumbnail to download photos

J STRAUSS II: Die Fledermaus: overture
SARASATE: Carmen Fantasy
BAO Yuan-kai: Flowing Stream
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Capriccio Espagnole
ZHU Jian'er: Festival Overture
RAVEL: Tzigane, rapsodie de concert for violin and orchestra
BORODIN: Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances
TCHAIKOVSKY: 1812 overture

For programme enquiry, please call HKPO at
(852) 2721 2030
Or go on our website:

Edo de Waart
Artistic Director and Chief Conductor

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 including its extensive education activities for children and adults alike, and free concerts such as the popular Swire Symphony Under the Stars, and regular broadcasts and telecasts. Outside of Hong Kong, HKPO has made a number of successful tours in Asia and Europe including a major six-concert tour of China in the 08/09 season under the leadership of Maestro Edo de Waart, drawing great critical acclaims. [Full Biography]

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.