String of stars recall fruitful life of Lin Yaoji

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 July, 2011, 12:00am


A Legacy of World-class Violin Pedagogy - Lin Yaoji Foundation Concert
Cultural Centre Concert Hall
Sunday, July 17

Star pupils of the late violin pedagogue Lin Yaoji gathered at a memorial concert to pay tribute to their master, who died in 2009.

Lin's sudden death was considered a huge loss due to his unique training methods, which produced more than 50 prize-winners at major international competitions.

The concert at the Cultural Centre, which took more than a year to organise, featured 30 from all over the world, who set aside their duties to make music in memory of Lin.

It began with a new work, Reminiscence, by veteran educator Yip Wai-hong, who was Lin's classmate in the 1950s at the Beijing Central Conservatory. They had worked together since the 1980s to apply Lin's methodology to Hong Kong, which produced some 700 young string players. The one-movement work begins with a long viola passage, played by Andrew Ling, the principal violist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and a student of Lin since the age of five. A dark, melancholy tone permeated throughout the piece, which ended on a soft pizzicato note signifying Lin's death in his sleep.

The work was played under the leadership of Chen Yun, concertmaster of the Beijing-based China Philharmonic Orchestra. The 20-member Lin Yaoji Virtuosi, as the ensemble was called, included Zhao Yingna, co-principal second violinist of the Hong Kong Phil, and Zhu Yibing, former principal cellist of the Basel Symphony Orchestra.

Hu Kun, the first Chinese prize-winner at an international competition and now a professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London, took up the baton and accompanied violinists Yang Tianwa and Li Chuanyun in virtuosic pieces by Saint-Saens and Paganini. Li, a local native and winner of numerous prizes, used a lot of portamento technique for sighing effects in Nostalgia by Ma Sicong, Lin's teacher.

The concert ended with Tchaikovsky's elegiac String Serenade, summing up the fruitful life of the late Moscow-trained pedagogue.