Shenyang native, 28, wins conductors' competition
Final competition concert
Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall
A Shenyang native has won Hong Kong's first international conducting prize after strong performances from 55 contestants from around the world.
Sun Peng, a 28-year-old resident conductor of the Chinese orchestra at the Shenyang Conservatory, his alma mater in Liaoning province, was one of the three finalists along with Hong Kong's Kwok Kin-ming and Xiao Chao of Sichuan .
All three performed two required works - the second movement of Doming Lam's Autumn Execution, and Zhao Jiping's Follow the Pagoda Tree to Trace the Roots of Our Ancestors. Zhao, the incumbent chairman of the Chinese Musicians' Association, was on the jury.
Kwok, who teaches at the Hong Kong Music Office, performed first. Although he conducted the works with care, his slow tempo marred the flow and some tutti passages, where the entire ensemble plays, needed balance and clarity.
Sun came next and the piece he conducted displayed much tighter texture. His control of the balance among the sections was superb, conjuring up exciting forte passages.
Xiao's performance was notable for highlighting the refined details in the works. With minimal movement, he drew effective responses from musicians. Some phrasings, such as a slide on the leiqin, a bowed stringed instrument, meant to imitate torment over injustice, were biting.
Xiao received one vote from among the six judges, but the rest went to Sun. Xiao, the first runner-up, took the Audience Award based on votes cast by the audience during intermission. Kwok, the second runner-up, won the Outstanding Young Conductor award.
Sun's grand prize came with HK$100,000 and a chance to work with the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra for a year. Sun also won the Best Interpretation of Works for a Hong Kong piece. The next competition takes place in 2013.