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The Flying Frenchman – HK Phil Presents Music from French Composers (1 & 2 May)


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[2 April 2015, Hong Kong] French composers have always had an eye for the exotic and have written music to portray adventures in distant lands. For Berlioz, it was the mountains of Italy as described by the poet Byron. Ravel was captivated by the colours and vibrancy of Spain. Join the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil), conductor Johannes Wildner and HK Phil’s Principal Viola Andrew Ling for a night of exotic landscapes, described with quintessential French style, on 1 & 2 May in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall.

Harold in Italy is a four-movement symphony with solo viola. In admiration of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Paganini asked Berlioz for a work in which he could display his powers on a fine Stradivarius viola. On the stage of the HK Phil, featuring Principal Viola Andrew Ling, audiences will hear the character of Harold, loosely derived from Byron's Childe Harold, a melancholy wanderer who witnesses scenes of Italian life.

Maurice Ravel was born near the Spanish border, and with Spanish blood in his family from his mother’s side, it was natural that he showed a fascination for the country. Rapsodie espagnole is among his best known evocations of the Spain he seldom visited yet seemed to know so well. The pieces were at first sketched in a version for two pianos in 1907 and the orchestration was completed a year later.

Albert Roussel wrote extensively for the ballet, one of his most famous ballet scores being Bacchus and Ariane. So popular was the music that he later arranged two orchestral suites from the score, the second of which comprises the entire music from the ballet’s second act.

Swire Maestro Series: The Flying Frenchman will be held on 1 & 2 May 2015 (Fri & Sat), 8PM, in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. Tickets priced: $320, $240, $180, $120 are now available at URBTIX. For enquiries, please call +852 2721 2332 or visit

Free Pre-concert talks are available on both concert nights:
Date: 1 May 2015 (Fri) 2 May 2015 (Sat)
Time: 7:15 – 7:45pm 7:15 – 7:45pm
Venue: 4/F Foyer, Auditoria Building,
Hong Kong Cultural Centre
4/F Foyer, Auditoria Building,
Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Speaker: Dr Maureen Buja
Associate Professor of Music,
Lingnan University
Mr Savio Lau
Editor (Music)
HiFi Review
Language: English Cantonese

The Flying Frenchman is an associated project of Le French May

Johannes Wildner, conductor [full biography]
Born in Austria, Johannes Wildner studied conducting, violin and musicology and has established himself as one of the foremost Austrian conductors. He was previously the Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra, and the General Music Director of the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Westphalia (Germany). Wildner has recorded over 60 CDs, DVDs and videos, including Die Fledermaus and Così fan tutte.

Andrew Ling, viola [full biography]
A native of Hong Kong, Andrew Ling is currently the Principal Viola of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He has won the violin and viola concerto competitions of Indiana University in 2003 and 2008 respectively and his performances with the Indiana University orchestras has garnered him high praises, both from audiences and critics.

Swire Maestro Series: The Flying Frenchman
1 & 2 | 5 | 2015
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall
HK$320 $240 $180 $120
Tickets are now available at URBTIX
For ages 6 and above

Johannes Wildner conductor
Andrew Ling violin

Click the thumbnail to download photos

Johannes Wildner
Photo Credit:

Andrew Ling
Photo Credit: Cheung Chi Wai

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Photo Credit: Cheung Chi Wai

BERLIOZ Harold in Italy
RAVEL Rapsodie espagnole
ROUSSEL Bacchus et Ariane, Suite no. 2

Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Music Director: Jaap van Zweden

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) has recently returned from an extremely successful five-country, seven-city tour of Europe, with concerts in London, Vienna, Zurich, Eindhoven, Birmingham, Berlin and Amsterdam. Most concerts were sold out, there were standing ovations, and the reviews were universally positive. The concert in Vienna’s Musikverein was filmed for future broadcast on TV. With a history stretching back to 1895, when it was formed as the Sino-British Orchestra, the HK Phil was re-named in 1957 and became fully professional in 1974.

Thanks to significant subsidy from the Hong Kong Government and long-term funding from Principal Patron Swire, the Hong Kong Jockey Club and other supporters, the HK Phil now boasts a full-time annual schedule of classical music concerts, pops concerts, an extensive education programme, and collaborations for staged opera with Opera Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

Conductors and soloists who have recently performed with the orchestra include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Ning Feng, Matthias Goerne, Lang Lang, Yu Long, Yundi Li, the late Lorin Maazel, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Yuja Wang and Edo de Waart, the HK Phil’s previous Music Director.

The HK Phil promotes the work of Hong Kong and Chinese composers through an active commissioning programme, and has released recordings featuring Tan Dun and Bright Sheng, each conducting their own compositions, on the Naxos label. Its acclaimed community engagement programme brings music to ten of thousands of children annually.

This season is Jaap van Zweden’s third as Music Director of the HK Phil. With him, the orchestra is undertaking major expansion and new projects, including the first-ever performances by a Hong Kong or mainland Chinese orchestra of Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung. The four operas are being performed, one a year, in concert and recorded live for the Naxos label.

The Swire Group has been the Principal Patron of the HK Phil since 2006. Through this sponsorship, which is the largest in the orchestra’s history, Swire also endeavours to promote artistic excellence, foster access to classical music and stimulate cultural participation in Hong Kong, and to enhance Hong Kong’s reputation as one of the great cities of the world.

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 a Venue Partner of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre

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