Heritage meets innovation for concert season

Classical masterpieces and original crossovers planned for Chinese Orchestra performances

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 June, 2014, 4:05am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 June, 2014, 4:05am

Heritage and innovation are two central themes of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra's concert season 2014-15.

In some 100 performances scheduled for the orchestra's 38th season, classical masterpieces will be staged alongside a series of original crossover concerts featuring local and overseas artists.

The biggest production is the season opener in September, the Hong Kong premiere of Caprice on Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountain, to be staged jointly with the Zhejiang Chinese Orchestra.

The music is set to the priceless 14th-century painting, parts of which are on the mainland and in Taiwan. "The sumptuous music will be performed side by side with the overhead projection of the masterpiece, and the audience will appreciate the blend of picturesque scenes in art and in music," Yan Huichang, the orchestra's artistic director, said yesterday.

Two concerts of music by the late master Peng Xiuwen will showcase the father of modern Chinese orchestral music and Yan's mentor.

"I was his deputy when he was named music director of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra in 1996. But he did not make it. We pay tribute to the late maestro with our latest reformed instruments, which would please him with augmented power and finesse," he said.

In 1996 Yan was handpicked as associate director by Peng, who was set to be leader. Yan was appointed leader when Peng died suddenly in Beijing in December of that year aged 65.

Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the orchestra's instrument reform and Yan said he believed the richer and cleaner sound would reflect Peng's masterpieces such as the Terra Cotta Warrior Fantasia to better effect.

To explore new possibilities, the new season will see the 85-strong orchestra collaborate with artists from other disciplines, such as the local Yat Po Singers.

"We'll feature our own distinctive style of singing in the music that is familiar to all of us, plus choreography and story-telling, to attract a young audience to the concert hall," said Yuri Ng, the group's co-director.

Chung Ying Theatre Company will showcase a theatrical production to tell a romantic story based on a bamboo flute. Beijing-based vocalist Gong Linna, who won the European World Music award in 2009, will sing her award-winning work Tante and other pieces by her German composer husband Robert Zollitsch.

Grammy nominee Howard McCrary, a jazz pianist-singer from Los Angeles, will sing Samuel Hui's canto-pop The Tale of Mahjong Heroes in the Victoria Harbour concert series.