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Beating the “Curse of the Ninth”? Jaap van Zweden to conduct the HK Phil in Mahler 10 and Shostakovich 10 (13 & 14 December)

6 DEC 2019

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[6 December 2019, Hong Kong] The “Curse of the Ninth” is always a myth in the history of classical music - a ninth symphony seems to be destined as the last of a composer’s life. The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) and Music Director Jaap van Zweden will perform two “Tenth” symphonies: Mahler’s Symphony no. 10 and Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 10. Both were written during a time of emotional turmoil for their composers, resulting in two powerful and emotionally charged symphonies. Two big symphonies in the evening of 13 & 14 December (Friday & Saturday) in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall, don't miss it!

“Magical, masterful Mahler from the five-star Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Jaap van Zweden”
--- South China Morning Post

Mahler began working on his Tenth Symphony in the summer of 1910, shortly after learning of both his incurable heart disease and his wife’s infidelity. By the time of his death in May 1911, he had drafted the symphony’s five movements but not fleshed them out sufficiently for performance.

This programme will open with the two movements which Mahler left the most complete: the opening Adagio and the Purgatorio. These movements and the remainder of the symphony were later orchestrated and performed by Mahler’s good friend Willem Mengelberg, who served as the long-time Principal Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Jaap van Zweden later became that Orchestra’s youngest Concertmaster). This will be the first performance of Mengelberg’s arrangement since its premiere in 1924—making this HK Phil performance something akin to a premiere after a 95-year hiatus.

The second half of the HK Phil programme will feature another “Tenth”, the Symphony no. 10 by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. First performed in December 1953, a few months after the death of Joseph Stalin, this emotionally fraught work was inspired by the brutal Stalinist regime (with the short second movement being a direct representation of Stalin himself), and offers depictions of the pain, joy, fear, laughter and loneliness experienced during those years. The result is a symphony that is quintessentially Shostakovich, and often considered the pinnacle of his orchestral output.

Swire Maestro Series: Jaap | Mahler 10 & Shostakovich 10 will be held on 13 & 14 December (Fri & Sat), 8PM in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall. Tickets are HK$580, $480, $380, $280 and are available at URBTIX. For enquiries, please call +852 2721 2332 or visit

Jaap van Zweden, conductor [full biography]
Over the past decade, conductor Jaap van Zweden has become an international presence on three continents.  Currently Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, he is also Music Director of the New York Philharmonic – a post he has held since the 2018/19 season. Guest engagements this season include the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

13 & 14 | 12 | 2019
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall
HK $580 $480 $380 $280
Tickets are now available at URBTIX
For ages 6 and above


MAHLERSymphony no. 10: Adagio and Purgatorio (first performance
since 1924 of Willem Mengelberg’s performing version)
SHOSTAKOVICHSymphony no. 10






Photo - 1
Jaap van Zweden
Photo Credit: Wong Kin-chung/HK Phil 
Photo - 1
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Photo Credit: Cheung Wai-lok/HK Phil
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