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British Cellist Steven Isserlis marks the Asian Première of Debussy’s Suite for Cello and Orchestra (orch. by Sally Beamish) with French Maestro Yan Pascal Tortelier in “Isserlis – Le maître et le violoncello”


[2 June 2010 – Hong Kong] Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) proudly presents “Isserlis – Le maître et le violoncello” concerts where British cellist Steven Isserlis will bring the Asian Première of Debussy’s Suite for cello and orchestra (orch. by Sally Beamish) , and two delicate orchestral pieces by Berlioz and Ravel under the baton of the French Maestro Yan Pascal Tortelier. “Isserlis – Le maître et le violoncello” will be held on 11 & 12 June (Fri & Sat) 8pm at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. Free Pre-concert Talks will be held at 7:15pm for both nights.

The Programme is an Event of Le French May

Steven Isserlis, Cello

“The suite is a nice vehicle for the elfin grace of Isserlis’s cello playing”

Sally Beamish, Telegraph

British cellist Steven Isserlis is acclaimed worldwide for his musicality and techniques, equally at home in chamber performances, recital, or in concert with the world's most prestigious orchestras and conductors. Recent engagements included a residency at Frankfurt's Alte Oper as their 'Auftakt' (season opening) artist; performances with Berlin Philharmonic under Gilbert, Orchestre de Paris under Eschenbach, Philadelphia Orchestra under Dutoit; recitals at Wigmore Hall, and tours with Philharmonia, City of Birmingham Symphony and Australian Chamber orchestras.
A keen exponent of contemporary music, Isserlis gave the world première of Wolfgang Rihm’s Cello Concerto. He will première works written for him by Mikhail Pletnev and Thomas Adès. His diverse, award-winning discography includes the critically acclaimed complete Bach’s Cello Suites (on Hyperion), which received awards such as Listeners’ Disc of the Year on BBC Radio 3, Gramophone’s Instrumental Disc of the Year, and Critic’s Choice at the 2008 Classical Brits. Other recent releases include a highly-acclaimed disc of children's cello music with Stephan Hough for BIS Records.

Yan Pascal Tortelier, Conductor

“The panache with which his conducting fuses dramatic intensity with great clarity marks him out as a musician.”

The Times

Born into an intensely musical family, son of the late Paul Tortelier, Yan Pascal Tortelier studied piano and violin from the age of four, and at 14 won first prize for violin at the Paris Conservatoire. Following general music studies with Nadia Boulanger, Tortelier studied conducting with Franco Ferrara in Siena. Since then his career has included engagements with leading orchestras throughout the world. Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic between 1992 and 2003, Tortelier remains the orchestra’s Conductor Laureate and continues to work with the orchestra regularly.

Tortelier’s orchestration of Ravel's Piano Trio was premièred in 1992, and in the following year received great critical acclaim at a highly successful London Proms performance with the BBC Philharmonic. A few seasons ago it was premièred at the Prague Spring Festival, in San Francisco, Tokyo and Melbourne. This work is now available on CD as part of Tortelier's Debussy/Ravel cycle.

Highlights of the current season include return visits to the Pittsburgh, Dallas and Houston Symphonies in the US and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony. In the UK he will be working with the BBC Symphony and the Bournemouth Symphony orchestras as well as a project with the Royal Academy of Music.

Together with the celebrated French conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier and the HKPO, the all French evening unveils the Asian première of Debussy’s Suite for Cello and Orchestra, orchestrated delicately and convincingly by Scottish composer Sally Beamish and premièred by Isserlis himself with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra to critical acclaim in 2007. Shakespeare’s great tragedy inspired Berlioz to start a new symphony with chorus described as a “Dramatic Symphony after Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet”. As early as 1906 Ravel had sketched some ideas for a musical homage to Johann Strauss. Subtitled “a choreographic poem for orchestra”, La Valsesets out to relive the heady days of 19th century Vienna when “the Waltz was King”.

Isserlis – Le maître et le violoncelle
An Event of Le French May
11&12 | 6| 2010
fri & sat 8pm
HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall
HK$420 $320 $220 $160
Available at URBTIX Now


Yan Pascal Tortelier


Steven Isserlis cello

Click the thumbnail to download photos

All-French Programme

BERLIOZ : Roméo et Juliette: three scenes

DEBUSSY : Suite for cello and orchestra (orch. Sally Beamish)

RAVEL : La Valse  

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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.

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