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Maestro Jaap van Zweden Returns to Lead the HK Phil, with Violin
Sensation Nicola Benedetti in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (7&8
Feb); Piano Wunderkind Conrad Tao in Mozart’s Piano Concerto
No.21 and His Highly Acclaimed Titan Symphony (15&16 Feb)


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[8 January 2013 – Hong Kong] Music Director Maestro Jaap van Zweden makes his triumphant return to Hong Kong after three critically acclaimed performances with the Chicago Symphony in December and receiving a nomination for the 55th Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

Conducting the Hong Kong Philharmonic (HK Phil), Maestro van Zweden will join forces with two extraordinary young musicians – Scottish violin sensation Nicola Benedetti, who was recently awarded the MBE, performing the perennial favourite – Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (7&8 Feb); and 18-year-old Chinese-American piano prodigy Conrad Tao, who composed Pangu for the inauguration of Maestro van Zweden last September, in Mozart’s famed Piano Concerto No.21. Lauded as “Bracing” by Chicago Tribune, “Kinetic” by New York Times, and “Magnificent” by Chicago Sun Times, Maestro van Zweden has won the world over with his masterful interpretation of Mahler’s Titan Symphony (15&16 Feb). His first performance of this work with the HK Phil will surely be an epic experience.

Jaap Essentials: “Jaap and Benedetti”
will be held on 7&8 February 2013 (Thu & Fri) [Tickets priced: HK$420 $320 $220 $160] and Swire Maestro: “Jaap’s Mahler One” on 15&16 February 2013 (Fri & Sat) [Tickets priced: HK$400 $300 $220 $140], both start at 8pm, in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. Free pre-concert talks will be given on all nights at 7:15pm, also at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. For enquiries, please visit or contact 2721 2030.

Nicola Benedetti, violin
[full biography]

"Her approach to the Tchaikovsky is both full-blooded and sensitive. She rides the first movement’s emotional storms with utter confidence and complete command of old Romantic tricks – the portamento glide, the cliff-edge hesitations of rubato."

--- The Times

Violinist Nicola Benedetti, MBE, has captivated audiences and critics alike with her musicality and poise. Hilary Finch recently wrote in The Times, ‘it was thrilling to hear and watch Nicola Benedetti in a truly risk-taking performance that lived so much in the body and fused the sinews of the violin and the nerve-system of the player.’

Nicola’s busy schedule has seen her work with a number of conductors, including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Stéphane Denève, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, Jakub Hrusa, Louis Langrée, Andrew Litton, Jiří Bělohlávek, Sir Neville Marriner, Diego Matheuz, Kristjan Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Mikhail Pletnev, Donald Runnicles, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Mario Venzago and Pinchas Zukerman.

Nicola’s 2012/13 season began with a performance at the Last Night of the Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Other highlights of the season include a tour with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and performance with the MDR Leipzig Orchestra, both with Miguel Harth-Bedoya. She also appears with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra under James Gaffigan, Danish Radio Orchestra with Hugh Wolff, Royal Scottish National Orchestra with Peter Oundjian and the Singapore Symphony with Neeme Järvi. She also returns to the Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis symphony orchestras. Nicola plays the Gariel Stradivarius (1717), courtesy of Jonathan Moulds.

Conrad Tao, piano
[full biography]

“A Promising Star, Rising Above the Horizon”

--- The New York Times

The only classical musician on Forbes’ 2011 “30 Under 30’s” list of people changing the world, 18-year-old Chinese-American pianist Conrad Tao was found playing children’s songs on the piano at 18 months of age. Born in Urbana, Illinois, he gave his first piano recital at the age of four and made his concerto début four years later with Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A. In June 2012, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the Department of Education named Conrad a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, while the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts awarded him a YoungArts gold medal in music. Later that year Conrad was named a Gilmore Young Artist, an honour awarded every two years highlighting the most promising American pianists of the new generation. Last May he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Scholar in the Arts, while the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts awarded him a YoungArts gold medal in music. Later that year Conrad was named a Gilmore Young Artist, an honour awarded every two years highlighting the most promising American pianists of the new generation. Last May he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.

For the 2012-2013 season, Conrad was commissioned by the Hong Kong Philharmonic to write a concert overture ringing in Jaap van Zweden’s inaugural season as music director; as well as celebrating National Day.

Conrad is an exclusive EMI recording artist. His first album, released as an iTunes exclusive in February 2012 as part of the “Juilliard Sessions” series, comprised works by Debussy, Stravinsky and Conrad himself. His second will also feature his own compositions and is expected for release in 2013.

Jaap van Zweden
, conductor [full biography]

The sheer intensity of the performance earned him a roaring ovation on a blissfully cool night at the park. What's more, it added another triumph to the notable list of successes van Zweden has achieved with the orchestra downtown since his Chicago début in 2008.”

--- Chicago Tribune

Amsterdam-born Jaap van Zweden is one of today’s most sought-after conductors. Recently named Musical America’s Conductor of the Year for 2012, he has been Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic since the 2012/13 season.

Maestro van Zweden is currently Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Honorary Conductor of the Radio Chamber Philharmonic. Appointed at age nineteen as the youngest Concertmaster ever of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, he began his conducting career in 1995, successively holding the positions of Chief Conductor at the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra (1996-2000), Chief Conductor of the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague (2000-2005) and Chief Conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra (2008-2011).


Jaap Essentials: “Jaap and Benedetti” , 7&8 February 2013 (Thu & Fri), 8PM

Maestro van Zweden will open the concert with Wagner’s sublime Prelude to Lohengrin – a mesmerizing moment of stillness preceding the arrival of a hero. The stunning Nicola Benedetti joins the HK Phil and Maestro on stage with Tchaikovsky’s enthralling Violin Concerto. Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra features no soloist, but almost every instrument has a moment of glory – a celebration of the virtuosity of your orchestra under the baton of its new Music Director.

Swire Maestro:
“Jaap’s Mahler One”, 15&16 February 2013 (Fri & Sat), 8PM

On his second programme, Maestro van Zweden welcomes the young titan at the keyboard, Conrad Tao, a frequent collaborator and composer who was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in Mozart’s unforgettable Piano Concerto No.21 in C.

It’s not called “The Titan” for nothing, and any conductor tackling Mahler’s First Symphony is taking on a daunting task. But Maestro Jaap van Zweden is a true Titan among conductors, and his performances of this great work have garnered more than their fair share of rave revues. With comments like “Bracing” Chicago Tribune, “Kinetic” New York Times and “Magnificent” Chicago Sun Times, we can be sure of an epic experience.

Jaap Essentials: Jaap and Benedetti
7&8 | 2 | 2013
HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall
HK$420 $320 $220 $160
Available at URBTIX now

Jaap van Zweden conductor
Nicola Benedetti violin

Click the thumbnail to download photos

WAGNER Lohengrin: Prelude to Act I
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto
BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra

Swire Maestro: Jaap's Mahler One
15&16 | 2 | 2013
HK Cultural Centre Concert Hall
HK$400 $300 $220 $140
Available at URBTIX now

Jaap van Zweden  conductor
Conrad Tao  piano

Click the thumbnail to download photos

MOZART  Piano Concerto No.21 in C, K467
MAHLER  Symphony No.1

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

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

Music Director: Jaap van Zweden

The Hong Kong Philharmonic is a vital part of Hong Kong’s cultural life, as the city’s largest and busiest musical organisation. In 2013/14 the HK Phil will celebrate its 40th professional season, but its roots are well over a century old. The HK Phil has now evolved to become an orchestral powerhouse in the region, and an acclaimed cultural centrepiece of Asia’s World City.

The HK Phil is formed on the belief that a great city deserves a great orchestra. Annually it presents over 150 concerts for 200,000 music lovers. Featuring an enviable roster of international and local artists, with many concerts presented free, among them the annual Swire Symphony Under The Stars. Through its acclaimed education programme, over 40,000 young people learned about orchestral music last year.

The HK Phil’s members come from every corner of the globe, joining its strong core of Hong Kong musicians. In September 2012, Jaap van Zweden became the orchestra’s Music Director. Future years will see an ambitious series of new projects, with major international tours, renewed local partnerships, and large-scale concert events. The HK Phil has recently commenced a multi-CD recording project for Naxos, featuring works by Chinese composers.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic is financially supported by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
SWIRE is the Principal Patron of the Hong Kong Philharmonic
The Hong Kong Philharmonic is a Venue Partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre

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