The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra Unveils 2023/24 Season
Celebrating 50 Years of Artistic Excellence
21 JUN 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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[21 June 2023, Hong Kong] The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) today announced its 2023/24 Season, marking the orchestra’s 50th professional season as well as the final season led by Jaap van Zweden as Music Director of the HK Phil. This season HK Phil performs 34 mainstage programmes and tours to more than 18 cities in Mainland China, Asia and Europe.
Jaap van Zweden shares: “It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the HK Phil’s 50th season, which also marks the end of my tenure as its Music Director. It has been my honour to lead this incredible orchestra over the past twelve seasons, and I am grateful for the unwavering support of all the classical music lovers in Hong Kong. I am immensely proud of the transformation the orchestra has achieved during our time together, and I hope that this season will be a memorable and unforgettable experience for you all.”
Highlights of the HK Phil’s golden jubilee include:
- Nine programmes conducted by Jaap van Zweden in his farewell season featuring Joshua Bell, Rudolf Buchbinder, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang and Alexandre Kantorow. Following the great success and critical acclaim of the Ring Cycle in concert, Jaap will lead world-class vocalists and the HK Phil to perform Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. For his farewell programme, he will conduct a concert of audience favourites to be selected via a public poll.
- Programmes led by a notable line-up of internationally-acclaimed guest conductors – Paavo Järvi, Vasily Petrenko, Tarmo Peltokoski, Michael Sanderling, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Kahchun Wong, HK Phil Principal Guest Conductor Yu Long, Resident Conductor Lio Kuokman, and others.
- Distinguished HK Phil musicians and Hong Kong artists join the stage – Jing Wang, Richard Bamping, Nitiphum Bamrungbanthum, Lorenzo Iosco, Andrew Simon and James Boznos from the HK Phil; Hong Kong musicians including Rachel Cheung, Samantha Chong, Yuki Ip, Jacky Leung, Louise Kwong, Warren Lee, Ted Lo, Freddie Tsang, Eugene Pao, Janice Vidal, Apollo Wong, Caleb Woo, Vivian Yau, Chen Yong, Dani Zhang Jingdan, musicians from Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, the HK Phil Chorus, HKU Chamber singers; as well as Hong Kong composers Anthony Au, Daniel Lo, and more. Celebrated artist Sylvia Chang will also grace the stage with her performance.
- Tours to Mainland China, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, Italy and Belgium.
- In celebration of the HK Phil’s 50th anniversary, over 5,000 HK Phil Jubilee Tickets will be offered to the public at HK$50.
- Discounts up to 30% will be offered during the subscription period.
In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary
- To commemorate its golden jubilee, the HK Phil will perform Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 5, which were played at its inaugural concert on 11 January 1974, and mark the occasion with Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. Sopranos Louise Kwong and Yuki Yip, mezzo-soprano Samantha Chong, tenors Chen Yong and Freddie Tsang, bass-baritone Apollo Wong, pianist Rachel Cheung and the HK Phil Chorus will share the stage with guest conductor Andris Poga. The Heritage Concerts take place on 12 & 13 January 2024 during the second weekend of the month, the same as the orchestra’s inaugural concert 50 years ago.
Local choral enthusiasts are invited to join the Sing Along of “Beethoven | Choral Fantasy” concerts, to sing this choral masterpiece together with the HK Phil and featured musicians at the complete rehearsal. Further details will be announced.
- As part of its community outreach in celebration of the 50th anniversary, the HK Phil will launch more than 5,000 Jubilee Tickets, available for public purchase at HK$50 each, spreading the joy of music across a larger community. These tickets to selected concerts will be available on a first-come, first-served basis during the counter sales period at URBTIX. Each customer can purchase up to two tickets per programme.
Music Director Jaap van Zweden’s Farewell Season
- The HK Phil commences its 50th concert season with the Asia Premiere of The Elements, a collaborative work by leading American composers Jake Heggie, Jennifer Higdon, Edgar Meyer, Jessie Montgomery and Kevin Puts. Each composer incorporated their chosen elements of fire, air, water, space and earth into the thematic narrative of their work. Commissioned and performed by Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell, this important suite of new works is conducted by Jaap van Zweden, who concludes the concert with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 4. The opening night concert is title sponsored by UOB Hong Kong (8 & 9 September 2023).
- Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder is the epitome of Beethoven interpretation, having performed cycles of the composer’s piano sonatas and piano concertos to towering acclaim. In these concerts, he performs Beethoven’s popular Piano Concertos nos. 4 and 5, paired with Mendelssohn’s Scottish and Italian symphonies respectively, all conducted by Jaap van Zweden (15 & 16 September 2023).
- Celebrating the 60th anniversary of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), this special event unites Jaap van Zweden and beloved cellist Yo-Yo Ma in Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. Beethoven’s Leonore Overture no. 3 opens the concert, and Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio italien – a portrait of Italy – concludes the evening. The concert is title sponsored by CUHK (8 November 2023).
- Piano superstar Lang Lang joins Jaap van Zweden and the HK Phil once again for Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto. Opening with Berio’s transcription of Contrapunctus XIX from The Art of Fugue, the concert concludes with Copland’s Third Symphony, the finale of which quotes Fanfare for the Common Man, one of the composer’s most famous pieces (15 & 17 December 2023).
- As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the HK Phil, together with Jaap van Zweden and pianist Alexandre Kantorow, the first French winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, will embark on an eight-city European tour. Hailed by critics as the “young tsar of the piano”, Kantorow plays Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody and Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto in these pre-tour concerts in the Swire Maestro Series. Before concluding the concerts with the First Symphonies of Brahms and Mahler respectively, Jaap will first conduct Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony and the world premiere of a newly commissioned work by Hong Kong composer Daniel Lo (16 & 17 February 2024).
- Jaap van Zweden conducts concert performances of Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, an opera based on the Dutch legend of the phantom ship and its doomed master. American bass-baritone Brian Mulligan stars as the cursed Dutchman, alongside soprano Jennifer Holloway as the woman determined to redeem his soul. Ain Anger, Richard Trey Smagur, Maya Yahav Gour, the HK Phil Chorus and Netherlands Radio Choir will also join the stage to immerse audiences into the opera’s thrilling narrative (21 & 23 June 2024).
- In his last concerts as Music Director, the Maestro would like to perform a playlist of the audience’s favourite pieces. In January 2024, a public poll will be conducted to gather the favourite orchestral works, which will be the core of this farewell programme. The concert will open with a celebratory fanfare composed by OZNO, HK Phil Principal Timpani James Boznos (28 & 29 June 2024).
Programmes featuring Principal Guest Conductor Yu Long
- With its profound power and emotional range, Verdi’s Messa da Requiem is a vivid depiction of light and dark, heaven and hell, life and death. Join HK Phil Principal Guest Conductor Yu Long, four illustrious soloists Yuanming Song, Huiling Zhu, Jinxu Xiahou, Nikolay Didenko along with the joint force of the HK Phil Chorus and the China National Opera House Chorus for this special performance (28 September 2023).
- The National Day Concert features the Hong Kong premiere of Chinese composer Zhao Lin’s A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains. This symphonic poem was inspired by the only surviving work of the same title by painter Wang Ximeng of the Northern Song Dynasty. Lin’s composition weaves folk soprano with the Chinese instruments sheng, pipa, erhu and dizi into the Western orchestral fabric to produce a unique soundscape. Soprano Linna Gong and virtuosi from the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Xu Hui, Zhang Ying, Wei Shen-fu and Wu Chih-ting are invited to perform in this concert. Yu Long conducts this co-commission by the League of China Orchestras and 23 orchestras, including the HK Phil. The National Day Concert is sponsored by CMB Wing Lung Bank (30 September 2023).
Holiday and Chill
- Celebrated actress, screenwriter and director Sylvia Chang brings to life Taiwanese writer Yuan-pu Chiao’s special adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies. With the HK Phil performing Mendelssohn’s music, Chang will showcase her remarkable talents by portraying all 14 roles, alongside sopranos Vivian Yau and Dani Zhang Jingdan, as well as the female members of the HK Phil Chorus, under the baton of Resident Conductor Lio Kuokman (3 & 4 November 2023).
- Join us at our signature New Year Concert as we bid farewell to 2023 in grand style and usher in 2024 with much fanfare! Chilean-Italian conductor Paolo Bortolameolli offers a festive Latin American programme with a Viennese twist, including Revueltas’s Sensemayá and Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, along with some Johann Strauss favourites. HK Phil Concertmaster Jing Wang is the soloist in “Spring” and “Winter” from Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. The concert is co-title sponsored by China Life (Overseas) and HKCEA (30 & 31 December 2023).
- The internationally renowned Hong Kong jazz legend Ted Lo is committed to promoting the art and style of jazz among the next generation of Hong Kong musicians. Joining forces with phenomenal singer Janice Vidal and guitarist Eugene Pao, Ted performs a collection of soulful songs and his original compositions, accentuated by the HK Phil and conducted by Gerard Salonga in these Swire Denim Series concerts (26 & 27 January 2024).
- In the festive season, the HK Phil presents Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas live in concert. The animated fantasy film tells the story of Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween Town, yearning for anything other than the festival he represents. Experience this timeless holiday classic on the big screen, with Grammy-winning composer Danny Elfman’s music scores performed live to the film. Saturday matinee belongs to the Swire Saturday Family Series (22 & 23 December 2023).
- Seamlessly combining electronic elements with symphonic textures to great dramatic effect, German film composer Hans Zimmer has scored over 150 movies in an illustrious career spanning over 40 years, winning two Oscars and four Grammy Awards. Zimmer’s iconic film scores – from the epic worlds of Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy, to animated classics like The Lion King and unforgettable themes from Pirates of the Caribbean and Gladiator – are performed live in concert by the HK Phil and conductor Benjamin Northey. The concerts are in the Swire Denim Series (5 & 6 January 2024).
- In this film-in-concert, breathtaking footage from BBC’s Seven Worlds One Planet, with bespoke narration by HK Phil trombone player Kevin Thompson, is accompanied by the HK Phil performing the music of Hans Zimmer and Jacob Shea, conducted by Joshua Tan. This concert will make a spectacular journey through all seven continents (5 & 6 April 2024).
World-class Conductors and Soloists
- Following an exhilarating HK Phil debut last season, Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko returns to Hong Kong with an all-French programme, including the overture to Berlioz’s opera Benvenuto Cellini and Ravel’s complete music for the ballet Daphnis et Chloé. Joining the stage is Van Cliburn gold medal laureate Nobuyuki Tsujii, who brings us Ravel’s jazz-infused Piano Concerto (1 & 2 December 2023).
- Vasily Petrenko continues with a German programme, featuring English soprano Elizabeth Watts in her Hong Kong debut. Hailed as “one of the most beautiful voices Britain has produced in a generation” (International Record Review), Watts will sing five Richard Strauss lieder, including such perennial favourites as Morgen and Cäcilie. Petrenko concludes with Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, with Watts joining in the final movement for a presentation of a child’s vision of heaven (8 & 9 December 2023).
- Acclaimed Lithuanian violinist Julian Rachlin returns to Hong Kong with Brahms’ Violin Concerto, known for its understated virtuosity and Hungarian flavour. In the second half, rising Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong, winner of 2016 Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition, leads the HK Phil in Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, a masterpiece which shows off each instrumental section (2 February 2024).
- The HK Phil welcomes the return of two artists who gave performances last season. Paavo Järvi returns with Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony. Also returning is Luxembourgish violinist Alena Baeva, who brings Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, widely considered his best orchestral work. Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol is the opener for these Swire Maestro Series concerts, as it echoes the dance-like qualities of Stravinsky’s neo-classical concerto (29 & 30 March 2024).
- Together with German guest conductor Michael Sanderling, HK Phil Principal Clarinet Andrew Simon presents Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. Michael Sanderling also conducts two contrasting works to conclude the nights: Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony on Friday, and Richard Strauss’ Don Juan at the Saturday performance, a Swire Denim Series concert (12 & 13 April 2024).
- With his quiet insights and care taken to make the music “superbly shaped” (The Times), Finnish conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducts Beethoven’s Eroica in his HK Phil debut. Leading German concert organist Christian Schmitt joins the orchestra on Friday in a unique rendition of Bach’s famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor, as well as Samuel Barber’s rarely heard Toccata Festiva. The Saturday performance from the Swire Denim Series held in Sha Tin features HK Phil Concertmaster Jing Wang in Beethoven’s Second Romance (19 & 20 April 2024).
- The HK Phil’s golden jubilee celebration comes to a close with a festive finale that features the brilliant Seong-Jin Cho, one of today’s most sought-after pianists, performing Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto. The concert concludes with Finnish conductor Tarmo Peltokoski conducting Mahler’s sublime Fifth Symphony. This promises to be a fitting end to the HK Phil's 50th season (5 & 6 July 2024).
Swire Symphony Under The Stars
The HK Phil’s annual outdoor mega-event, Swire Symphony Under The Stars, returns to the Central Harbourfront on 18 November 2023. Under the baton of Lio Kuokman, the HK Phil will embark with you on an extraordinary musical journey. Stay tuned for registration details.
Tours to Mainland China, Asia and Europe
The HK Phil's 2023/24 Season will see the orchestra touring several cities globally, beginning in Mainland China. Jaap van Zweden will lead the orchestra to perform works by Mendelssohn in Nanjing and Shanghai with virtuoso violinist Tianwa Yang (1 & 2 September 2023).
Resident Conductor Lio Kuokman will then take the HK Phil to Bangkok to perform works by Ravel, Shostakovich and Rimsky-Korsakov, along with Thai pianist Poom Prommachart and HK Phil Principal Trumpet Nitiphum Bamrungbanthum on 21 October 2023. Lorenzo Iosco will lead the HK Phil brass and percussion as well as musicians from the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra in a music exchange concert on 22 October 2023.
Roberto González-Monjas will lead the HK Phil in Seoul and Daegu on 28 & 29 October 2023, where they will perform the works of Rimsky-Korsakov, Sibelius and Dvořák alongside award-winning violinist Inmo Yang.
Returning to the Greater Bay Area, Jaap van Zweden will bring the romance of Beethoven and Mahler to Guangzhou (10 November 2023), while Lio Kuokman continues to Guangzhou and Shenzhen to perform the masterpieces of Bernstein, Gershwin and Dvořák (24 & 25 November 2023).
Next, Jaap van Zweden and the HK Phil will embark on a nine-city tour to Singapore, Dresden, Zurich, Toulouse, Aix-En-Provence, Rotterdam, Basel, Rome and Brussels. Rising pianist Alexandre Kantorow will be the featured soloist. A new Hong Kong commission by Daniel Lo will be performed during the tour (20 February – 8 March 2024).
Finally, Principal Guest Conductor Yu Long, violinist Paloma So and the HK Phil will tour various Mainland cities, including Tianjin and Beijing, performing masterpieces from both the East and West (7 – 18 May 2024).
Before each tour, Hong Kong audiences can experience the tour repertoire at the pre-tour concerts held in Hong Kong.
In a special choral collaboration, the HK Phil Chorus partners with the HKU Chamber Singers to showcase four contrasting choral works at HKU’s Grand Hall. Led by French conductor Chloé Dufresne in her Hong Kong debut, the orchestra and combined chorus will perform Haydn’s festive second setting of Te Deum, followed by the world premiere of Hark! The Midnight Bell Echoes composed by Anthony Au Ho-hei. Baritone Caleb Woo joins in as soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, while Dani Zhang Jingdan delivers the soprano solos in Poulenc’s “Gloria” (23 & 24 March 2024).
Additionally, the HK Phil collaborates with Opera Hong Kong for Puccini’s Tosca (11 – 15 October 2023), and with Hong Kong Ballet for The Last Song (22 – 24 March 2024) and Swan Lake (31 May – 2 June, 7 – 9 June 2024). Stay tuned for more details.
Chamber Music Concerts
Experience the passion and personalities of the individual musicians that make up the HK Phil through their chamber music performances. The chamber music repertoire includes all styles of music played by various combinations of instruments – from the Baroque period to the current 21st century, including new works by Hong Kong composers. In the 2023/24 Season, chamber music concerts are planned to be held at West Kowloon Cultural District’s Tea House Theatre and various other places.
HK Phil Archive
The HK Phil is the first professional and the largest symphony orchestra in Hong Kong. The orchestra was first established in 1947 as an amateur orchestra and turned professional in 1974. After 50 years, the HK Phil is now one of the foremost orchestras in Asia Pacific and the world, and has played a vital role in making Hong Kong a world-class cultural destination.
To preserve records related to the orchestra and its people to the present day, the HK Phil Archive will be open to scholars, musicologists and historians to research Hong Kong’s unique musical history. It contains a large collection of marketing publications, including house programmes and concert posters. There are also photos from concerts and ensemble visits dating from the late 20th century. For more information, please visit the online archive catalogue (hkphil.epexio.com).
Subscriptions Run from 4 July until 31 July 2023
For the 2023/24 Season, the HK Phil is delighted to launch the subscription plan again. Create your own unique series by picking at least three of your favourite programmes. The more you order, the more you save. Subscribers are eligible for up to 30% discounts. Students, seniors, disabled and CSSA recipients enjoy 50% off for both subscription and single-ticket purchases.
Discount for Free Choice Programmes
No. of Programmes
3 – 5
The 2023/24 HK Phil subscription period will have two phases.
- Phase One (4 July 10am to 17 July 11:59pm 2023): The general public, Club Bravo Basic and Red members can subscribe for tickets of “Concert Series” online. Club Bravo Gold members can additionally subscribe for tickets of “Free Choice Programme” online or by email, fax or post.
- Phase Two (18 July 10am to 31 July 11:59pm 2023): In this period, the general public and all Club Bravo members can subscribe for tickets of either “Concert Series” online or “Free Choice Programme” online or by email, fax or post.
How to Subscribe
There are four ways to subscribe:
Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Season Subscription Enquiries:
Please call 2721 2332 / 2721 0132 (10am – 6pm, Monday to Friday) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Counter Sales Open
Programmes between September 2023 and February 2024:
8 August 2023 (Tue) 10am
Programmes between March and July 2024:
28 November 2023 (Tue) 10am
Education and Outreach Initiatives of the HK Phil
Swire Music for Everyone
The new “Swire Music for Everyone” series allows audiences to dive deep into specific orchestral works. These free performances offer a glimpse of an orchestra in action. Our presenter’s live commentary provides fun anecdotes and educational insights. Three concerts under the series will be staged on 1 December 2023, 2 February and 12 April 2024. Online registration is required. Details will be announced on the HK Phil website.
Swire Community Concerts
The HK Phil performs across the community with the aim of increasing access to classical music. These free concerts are available to non-profit organisations and their networks. Special attention is paid to making the concerts enjoyable and accessible to people of all abilities and needs. Please stay tuned for details.
The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Hong Kong Composers Scheme
The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Hong Kong Composers Scheme provides a platform for young emerging composers to deepen their experience in orchestral writing. Following an open call for new scores, four to six composers are selected to be mentored by an esteemed international composer. The young composers then work with the orchestra in open public sessions to make their new music performance-ready.
Under the baton of Jung-Ho Pak, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Hong Kong Composers Scheme Public Working Session & Showcase will be held on 25 May 2024. In addition to showcasing their completed pieces, the orchestra will also perform Steve Ho’s Kung Fu Rhapsody featuring pianist Warren Lee, and Lo Hau-man’s Saxophone Concerto featuring saxophonist Jacky Leung.
The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Hong Kong Composers Scheme is sponsored by The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Hong Kong.
The Young Audience Scheme and HK Phil Community Concerts
Presented by the HK Phil and sponsored by The Tung Foundation, the Young Audience Scheme aims to encourage local full-time students aged 6–25 to attend concerts and boost their interest in classical music. The membership offers ticket discounts, rewards and a variety of activities, including open rehearsals and musical games. Free Community Concerts bring world-class orchestral music to communities in different districts each year. For more information, please visit hkphil.org/yas.
The Young Audience Scheme and HK Phil Community Concerts are sponsored by The Tung Foundation.
Connect with Us
Weibo (www.weibo.com/hkpo) and WeChat (please scan the QR code below). Videos from the HK Phil are also available on YouTube (www.youtube.com/HKPhilharmonic) and Bilibili (http://space.bilibili.com/1857720921).
HK Phil WeChat Channel:
Thank You Partners
The HK Phil would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to the following partners for their support:
Major Funding Body: The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Principal Patron: Swire
Venue Partner: Hong Kong Cultural Centre
- China Life (Overseas)
- CMB Wing Lung Bank
- The Chinese University of Hong Kong
- The Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association
- The Tung Foundation
- UOB Hong Kong
The Tung Foundation Young Audience Scheme is sponsored by
- The Tung Foundation
The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Hong Kong Composers Scheme is sponsored by
- The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Hong Kong
The Masetro Podium for Jaap van Zweden is sponsored by
- C. C. Chiu Memorial Fund
- Mr Andy Ng
The Resident Conductor’s Podium for Lio Kuokman is sponsored by
- C.C. Chiu Memorial Fund
- The Tung Foundation
The Chair Endowment for Principal Cello Richard Bamping is sponsored by
- C.C. Chiu Memorial Fund
Official Logistics Partner
- Kerry Logistics
- The Peninsula Hong Kong
Pro-bono Legal Counsel
Notes to Editors
- Free Choice Programme – select three or more concerts to create your own season package, and enjoy up to a 30% discount.
- Subscribers’ benefits include best savings, best available seats and flexible ticketing services.
- Season Subscription Booking Deadline: 31 July 2023 (Monday)
- URBTIX public ticket sales start from 8 August 2023 (Tuesday) (applicable to programmes held between September 2023 and February 2024).
- Season Subscription Enquiries: 2721 2332 / 2721 0132 (Monday – Friday)