Music takes rising star to 'different worlds'
Ng Cheuk-yin describes composing music as akin to writing a personal diary. 'I feel as if I am sharing my feelings with friends,' he explained.
As with most musicians, music became a part of his life from a relatively young age. 'My mother asked me to learn the piano when I was about seven and I really loved that. I wanted to be a composer from when I was very young. I knew that music would be my career,' he said.
When he was 10, Ng studied the sheng, a Chinese mouth organ, which gave him a firm grounding in Chinese music. In secondary school, he discovered pop and rock music, and sometimes played drums, guitar and keyboard at casual gatherings with his friends.
Today, he is recognised as one of Hong Kong's rising young music composers.
In 2000, his work The City that Never Sleeps won him the Hong Kong Theme Award at the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra International Competition for Chinese Orchestral Composition 2000. His orchestral piece The Static Days was selected and performed by the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in Slovenia at the ISCM 2003 World Music Days. And in 2004, his composition for Chinese percussion and orchestra commissioned by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta was performed in the Saint-Riquier Festival and the Flaneries Musicales d'Ete de Reims in France.
Ng is the Hong Kong Sinfonietta's first artist associate, and working with the Sinfonietta has been an important learning experience for him.
'It is important for a composer to realise his music with real musicians instead of just studying,' said Ng who has a master's degree in music composition from Chinese University.
'I got a chance to communicate directly with the orchestra players, to know what they feel. Dealing with an orchestra and writing music is an important process for me,' he added.
In the end it is all about the love for music. 'Listening to music can bring me to different worlds. It is really wonderful. If I have 30 minutes on the bus or train I will listen to music,' he said. Ng's new composition, Fly, a fusion between orchestral and pop music, will be performed by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta together with Hong Kong's drumming sensation Jun Kung and bass guitarist Liang Chun-wai, on March 16 as part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival.