Young rising stars get together for a party in Hong Kong
This city has produced its fair share of music prodigies - Wong Wai-yin, Rachel Cheung Wai-ching, Aristo Sham Ching-tao and Wong Ka-jeng to name just a few - and there is no shortage of local concert programmes that reflect that. However, the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong's upcoming concert for this year's International Arts Carnival, Prodigies from Around the World, goes a little further by placing young talents from around the globe on the same stage.
The troupe's artistic director Leanne Nicholls says she was impressed by YouTube excerpts of young conductor Alexander Prior's composition, which was written as part of a 2009 British documentary on four music prodigies.
'I then came to know that cellist Nathan Chan performing in that particular work has Hong Kong roots,' the oboist says. 'Nathan's father, a medical doctor, was born in Hong Kong before leaving for the US. It also happens that Nathan's mother, a piano graduate from the Juilliard School of Music, was a classmate of our concertmaster Ho Hong-ying.'
Keen to give the programme a strong local focus too, Nicholls decided to have one of this city's 'biggest young rising stars', Aristo Sham, as one of the soloists. The 15-year-old came first in this year's e-Piano Junior Competition in Minnesota earlier this month. The youngest prodigy in the upcoming concert will be 13-year-old violinist Simone Porter whose mother is American and father a mainland Chinese. Besides solo performances and the triple concerto, all soloists will be interviewed by concert host Jonathan Douglas to give audience members the chance to hear more about their careers in music.
'What is most unique [about the concert] is that we are showcasing young talents and giving them the centre stage,' says Nicholls.