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A multimedia adventure by the HK Philharmonic
Tan Dun’s Map Concerto on 27 November
Richard Bamping x Miao tribal female voice


[2 November 2009 Hong Kong] Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) presents “Tan Dun’s Map Concerto – a multimedia adventure” on 27 Nov 2009 (Fri) at 8pm in the concert hall of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Conductor Lawrence Renes, who gave the European première of John Adams’s Dr Atomic with Netherlands Opera, will also conducts the symphonic version of the opera - Doctor Atomic Symphony, recomposed by the composer in 2007.

With his keen eye for contemporary subjects, John Adams has created brilliant operas on such stories as the first visit by an American President to Communist China (Nixon in China) and the Palestinian terrorist attack on the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro (The Death of Klinghoffer). Adams’s most recent opera Doctor Atomic, dealing with the scientist responsible for the world’s first nuclear bomb, J Robert Oppenheimer, was premièred by San Francisco Opera in 2005 and has since been produced by the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam, the Metropolitan Opera, New York and London’s English National Opera. For the 2007 BBC Proms, Adams drew on major scenes
from the opera to form his Doctor Atomic Symphony. Tan Dun was inspired to compose The Map after his experience working with Yo-Yo Ma on the Silk Road Project. In recent seasons, Tan Dun has invited the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s star cellist Richard Bamping [Full biography] to be his soloist in this exploratory concerto for cello, video and orchestra.

About The Map

The Map has is roots in the ancient village music of Southwest China and its limbs in the cultural currents of the 21st century. It is a ripple from a stone cast more than two decades ago, when Tan suffered his first crisis of cultural identity as a student at Beijing’s Central Conservatory, surrounded by music that had been previously condemned during the Cultural Revolution. Fearing that he has “forgotten the things of my youth,” he returned briefly in 1981 to Hunan, where he encountered a practitioner of ba gua stone drumming, an ancient ritual combining principles of the I Ching with shamanistic vocalizations. “The man talked to the wind,” Tan recalls. “He talked both to this life and the past one. I had nothing to offer him, or even to make a record of him, but I promised that one day I would return.”

Nearly two decades later, armed with a commission for cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tan returned to the same village in 1999 with a camera crew to document the ancient practice. In the midst of a ceremony, the villages informed Tan that “the tea is cold” – that the stone drummer had died, and with him, his tradition. “That is when my piece became a very personal, spiritual journey,” says Tan. “I began reaching inside my heart, drawing the map I could use to find him again.” [Programme notes by Ken Smith, complete notes ]

Lawrence Renes (Conductor) and Richard Bamping (cello)

Lawrence Renes has collaborated with distinguished orchestras, such as the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, BBC and Gothenburg Symphonies, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota, Seattle, Houston and Detroit Symphonies and at the 2007 Aspen Music Festival. He gave the US première of Tan Dun's Tea with Sante Fe Opera to great critical acclaim. In 2007 he returned to Netherlands Opera for the European première of John Adams's Dr Atomic and leads the work’s UK première at the English National Opera in 2009. He made his Seattle Opera début with Elektra in 2008 and 2009 sees his début with Theatre Royal de la Monnaie (The Rake’s Progress). Lawrence Renes rose to fame in 1995, when he replaced Riccardo Chailly to conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, in a programme of Strauss's Ein Heldenleben and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra. Broadcast on Dutch TV this highly successful performance made the basis for a documentary on Renes entitled A Dream Début. [Full biography]

Richard Bamping has held the title of Principal Cellist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra since 1993. His many solo appearances with the Philharmonic have been greeted with critical acclaim. As a freelance cellist based in London, Richard Bamping played in many chamber music ensembles performing across the United Kingdom, Europe and the U.S.A. He has also performed with many of the leading orchestras in Europe including the Philharmonia, the Royal Philharmonic and the European Community Chamber Orchestras, and served for four years as Principal Cellist with the London Soloists' Chamber Orchestra. In 1990, Leonard Bernstein chose Richard Bamping to play Principal Cello for the first Pacific Music Festival in Japan, where he also worked closely with Michael Tilson Thomas and Marin Alsop. In January this year, Richard performed Tan Dun’s The Map concerto in Taiwan and Shenzhen, under the baton of the composer. Richard's cello, dated 1674 was made in Cremona by Andrea Guarneri and is one of only 8 surviving examples of his work. [Full biography]

Tan Dun’s Map Concerto – a multimedia adventure
27 | 11 | 2009
fri 8pm
HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall
HK$240 $180 $140 $100
Available at URBTIX now
Free pre-concert talk 7:15pm


Lawrence Renes


Richard Bamping


Click the thumbnail to download photos

JOHN ADAMS: Doctor Atomic Symphony
TAN DUN: The Map, Concerto for cello, video and orchestra

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For programme enquiry, please call HKPO at
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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.