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Hong Kong's disaffected youth

Young people need to rebel to find their own path, says Hong Kong’s top cellist ahead of music festival

Trey Lee will perform with 12-year-old violinist Hannah Tam at the Musicus Fest in November

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 September, 2017, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 October, 2017, 2:22pm

Youth rebelliousness is nothing new but opportunities must be provided for youngsters to find their own voice, the city’s top cellist has said.

Trey Lee Chui-yee, an internationally acclaimed Hong Kong-born cellist, recalled his own rebellious days against something that turned out to be his life pursuit.

“I hated music and I was totally against it when I went to college, I think I was being pretty rebellious,”

Lee, founder and artistic director of Musicus Society, told the Post at a press conference for 5th Musicus Fest last Friday.

“That went on until I found my own way and that’s something I wanted to do. So I hope to be able to provide an opportunity for the young people who want to find their own voice in music beyond taking exams,” he added.

One such opportunity was when Lee, a Unicef ambassador since 2012, led eight young local musicians to take part at a music festival in Finland last April.

Pitch perfect: Hong Kong prodigy Hannah Tam Wan-ching wins international violin competition

As for this year’s Musicus festival, which will run from November 22-26, local young talents will play a substantial role alongside international artists. Ballerina Erita Lee Acham Chen and violinist Hannah Tam Wan-ching for example, will debut at City Hall.

“I’m very happy and honoured to be performing with Trey and I hope the audience will fall in love with music after hearing us,” said Tam, a 12-year-old winner of a competition in Germany last month. They will perform a Vivaldi concerto in F for violin and cello with the Mantua Chamber Orchestra from Italy.

Victoria Vargas, a renowned Chicago-based Venezuelan choreographer, will set the dance passage for Chen, a 13-year-old winner of many awards, in a new children dance drama, Marco Polo goes to Carnival.

“What attracted me to this production is the Marco Polo story combined with the artists and talents of Hong Kong, who are very creative, talented, and easy to work with,” Vargas, founder of the Luna Negra Dance Theater, said.

Hong Kong-born cellist brings cultural diversity to classical music festival

“Most of the works I have done before are dramas for adults. But this play is about family and kids, and the music is fantastic,” she added, referring to Carnival of Venice arranged by local composer Willis Wong.

The choice for local young talents to perform with top international artists, such as conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy at the opening concert, was not dictated by the winning of awards.

“There is a difference between being successful and being good,” Lee said, referring to his invitation to Tam which was long before her triumph in Germany.

“One could win a million awards but could still perform like a robot. But Hannah’s playing was brilliant and polished, and with personality,” he added.