Media Contact:
Doris Chan
Director of Marketing
Tel: (852) 2721 9035
Mobile: (852) 9776 8445

Becky Lee
Media Relations Manager
Tel: (852) 2721 1585
Mobile: (852) 9201 4642

Lyrics by Tagore. Music by Zemlinsky. Edo de Waart leads the HKPO in HK’s
Première of Composer’s Lyric Symphony
Chip Tsao, “First Wit in Hong Kong” reveals the works of Tagore,
the legendary Indian poet, at the pre-concert talks
A Hong


Download HERE

[28 January 2011 – Hong Kong] As part of the 39th Hong Kong Arts Festival, Edo de Waart joins force with soprano Malin Hartelius and baritone Konrad Jarnot to celebrate the 140th anniversary of Zemlinsky’s birth with his best-known work, Lyric Symphony inspired by the poems of the legendary Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. Chip Tsao, “First Wit of Hong Kong” will be the guest speaker of the Free Pre-concert Talks* to reveal the life and works of the Tagore, and this historic Hong Kong première. To open the evenings, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) will play Richard Strauss’s Serenade in E flat followed by his nostalgic Metamorphosen.

“De Waart conducts Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony” will be held on 25 and 27 February 2011 (Fri & Sun), 8pm at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall.

25 Feb Performance is a Hong Kong Arts Festival Programme

To commemorate the 140th anniversary of Zemlinsky’s birth, orchestras over the world celebrate his life and works by staging his most important work Lyric Symphony. Performances of this work have been given by the Orchestra Philharmonique de Radio France at Salle Pleyel in Paris (3 Dec 2010), RSO Berlin at Philharmonie in Berlin (23 Jan 2011) and the Wiener Symphoniker at Musikverein in Vienna (23-25 Feb 2011), leading up its Hong Kong première on 27 & 27 February.

Gitanjali, written by Rabindranath Tagore and published in English in1912, made the Indian poet famous throughout Europe. It was so loved that even the famed Chinese writer Bingxin (冰心) made a translation of the work. In 1913, Tagore became the first non-European to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature; the Nobel Prize Committee praised his “profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words...” He visited Europe in 1921 and during his stay in Prague he gave a poetry reading. The composer Janáček attended and commented, “it seemed as if a white sacred flame flared up suddenly over the thousands and thousands of heads of the men and women present… but Tagore did not speak. He sang – his voice sounded like a nightingale’s song – smooth, simple, without any clash of consonants… On his face you could trace indescribable grief. He spoke to us in his native language – we did not understand – but from the sound of his words, from the melodies of his poetry I could recognize and feel the bitter pain of his soul.”

It was said that another composer, Zemlinsky, was also present at that occasion, and he went on to set seven of Tagore’s poems in his Lyric Symphony. Zemlinsky selected poems not from the devotional Gitanjali, but from The Gardener in which Tagore explored the concept of love and life. In the Lyric Symphony the poems are sung alternately by baritone and soprano. The poems are disconnected but together outline a love story, the closing song including the words: “Let it not be a death but completeness”. In the words of musicologist Antony Beaumont, “the death of love implies a rebirth, and in these seven movements the wheel of fate turns full circle.” Join Edo de Waart and the HKPO on an epic journey from east to west, from joy to sorrow and from youth to old age.

Edo de Waart, conductor

“The Hong Kong Philharmonic sounded like a newly serviced engine… quality and range of sound made the impact”
South China Morning Post

Renowned as an “orchestral builder” who has the enviable ability to transform his orchestras into world-class ensembles, Maestro Edo de Waart has held such distinguished positions as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Opera, as well as Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and Minnesota Orchestras. He is also the Music Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic.

Maestro de Waart has received a number of awards for his outstanding achievements in music. He is a Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion and he was awarded the Order of Australia – a reflection of his invaluable contribution to Australian cultural life during his decade with the Sydney Symphony. He was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in recognition of his contribution to music internationally, and in particular, his commitment to developing future generations of musicians in Hong Kong.

Malin Hartelius, soprano
The Swedish-born soprano, Malin Hartelius studied at the Conservatory of the City of Vienna with the celebrated teacher Margarethe Bence. In 1989 she became a member of the studio of the Vienna State Opera and joined the theater of St. Gallen. By now, she has achieved the status of a regular headliner at the Zürich Opera House and the Festvertrag Zürich, and has already established as one of Europe’s favorite lyric coloraturas in both the opera and concert worlds.

Konrad Jarnot, baritone
First Prize winner in 2000 at the ARD competition in Munich, Konrad Jarnot has sung in many of the most important concert halls including the Lincoln Center, Royal Opera House Covent Garden. In the past few years, he has become one of the leading international Lied-interpreters. He is Professor at Robert-Schumann-Hochschule in Düsseldorf and has taught master classes in Europe and Japan. He has also been jury member of international singing competitions, among others the ARD Competition in Munich.

De Waart conducts Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony
25&27| 2 | 2011
fri & sun 8pm
HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall
HK$380 $280 $180 $120
Available at URBTIX from now

25 Feb Performance is a Hong Kong Arts Festival Programme


Edo de Waart conductor
Malin Harteliu soprano
Konrad Jornot baritone

Click the thumbnail to download photos


R STRAUSS Serenade in E flat
R STRAUSS Metamorphosen
ZEMLINSKY Lyric Symphony

*Free Pre-concert Talks by Chip Tsao

Date: 25 Feb 2011 (Friday) [Cantonese]

27 Feb 2011 (Sunday) [English]

Time: 7:10 – 7:40 pm
Venue: Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

Free Admission with Concert Ticket(s)

Chip Tsao, guest speaker
Hailed as “First Wit in Hong Kong”, Chip Tsao showed an extraordinary talent on literature since early age. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and European Literature from the University of Warwick and a Diploma in International Relations from the London School of Economics. Tsao began his journalism career in the United Kingdom as a reporter for the BBC and RTHK. After returning to Hong Kong in the 1990’s, he began to write columns for various newspapers and magazines.

Ticketing Information
Credit Card Booking
(852) 2111 5999
Online Booking

For programme enquiry, please call HKPO at
(852) 2721 2030

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, attracting world-class artists to collaborate on its stage. HKPO annually touches the lives of over 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 critically acclaimed tours in Asia and Europe. In the 2010/11 season, the Orchestra undertakes a China tour of Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing under the leadership of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Maestro Edo de Waart. The first of which is an Expo 2010 programme.

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

# # #