'Harp Extravaganza' opens door to new season

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 October, 2011, 12:00am


The 12th season of the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong (CCOHK) kicks off this month. Music lovers can expect a special selection of music combined with guest appearances from prestigious soloists, conductors and composers from around the world.

Opening the season on Tuesday next week is 'Harp Extravaganza', a programme featuring multiple harp concertos and the world premiere of Mao Yuan's Dancing Reflection, performed in the presence of the legendary 85-year-old Beijing composer.

Led by chief conductor Jean Thorel, the CCOHK will join forces with acclaimed harpists Teresa Suen, Michelle Abbott, Edith Pun, Katerina Englichova, Skaila Kanga and Claire Jones for Bach's Concerto for Four Keyboards, rewritten for four harps; the Asian premiere of Karl Jenkins' Concerto for Two Harps, Over the Stone; and Granville Bantock's spectacular Celtic Symphony for Strings and Six Harps.

Among the guest harpists is Claire Jones who is the official harpist to Britain's Prince Charles and performed at the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Professor emerita of harp at the Royal Academy of Music, Kanga boasts more than 500 film credits to her name and collaborations with Placido Domingo, Tommy Reilly, Elton John and the London Mozart Players.

On November 19, Israeli violin virtuoso Hagai Shaham performs Mozart's Concerto No 3 in a programme featuring Schoenberg's romantic Transfigured Night and music from the Oscar-winning documentary Anne Frank Remembered by Carl Davis.

Christmas is fast approaching around the corner and with it the CCOHK offers wonderful seasonal programming for families. Howard Blake's The Snowman and The Bear will be performed live with the animated films for a fifth year running. The original stories written by Raymond Briggs come to life on December 10 and 11 in narrations by Jacqueline Gourlay Grant and Henry Coombs.

Other hot picks for children include Peter and the Wolf to be narrated by Dame Edna Everage on March 31 next year. The Australian icon will give her own rendition of Prokofiev's classic and sing her way through the hilarious under-the-sea tale of Juanita the Spanish Lobster by David Haslam.

On March 18, in conjunction with this concert, members of the CCOHK will present a demonstration/workshop where children can see the instruments in the orchestra up close and familiarise themselves with all the tunes in Peter and the Wolf.

Other highlights include the Hong Kong debut of acclaimed Welsh composer and conductor Jenkins, who is known for his choral-orchestral works featuring an eclectic mix of classical, jazz and global music elements. He will lead the CCOHK, Hong Kong mezzo-soprano Louise Kwong and local choir Die Konzertisten in a performance of his Requiem on February 16.

For Le French May's 20th edition the CCOHK contributes two quintessentially French programmes. On April 23 and 24, audiences will be treated to the voice of Mouron, the diva of French Chanson known for her performance of Edith Piaf's songs such as La Vie en Rose and Avec le Temps.

On May 22, 'Musical Waves' will be an intriguing concert highlighting the sounds of the ondes Martenot, one of the most significant French musical inventions of the 20th century. Best known for its use in blockbuster film scores such as Star Trek, Ghostbusters and Mad Max, the ondes Martenot produces unique glissando effects and is mastered by few in the world today.

Thomas Bloch is the featured player who will perform works by Jacques Charpentier, and Olivier Messiaen, along with other guest artists to include Hong Kong pianist Mary Wu and Nicole Corti's acclaimed Choeur Britten from Lyon.

To round off the season on June 29, the CCOHK will be joined by Australian guitarist Craig Ogden for a performance of Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. The programme, tinged with Mediterranean moods and summer colours, also features orchestral works by Tchaikovsky and Kodaly.

Music lovers can also take advantage of a whole range of open master-classes and workshops held by the guest artists and pre-concert talks by chief conductor Thorel.

Subscribers to the CCOHK can enjoy such benefits as priority booking, discounts on tickets and postal delivery of tickets.

The subscription period ends on October 31. Tickets for most of the programmes are normally available four weeks before the event at Urbtix. For more information visit www.ccohk.com