Premiere Performances Hong Kong
Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival
The annual festival returns next month with a host of free events that promise to create a "musical movement" throughout the city.
"We want young musicians, lapsed musicians and retired musicians to pick up their instruments, call their friends who play, and get together to make music," says organiser Premiere Performances Hong Kong. "And make music fun."
This year's HKICMF has added to its paid programmes with community concerts, workshops for amateur musicians, rehearsal sessions and talks as well as chamber music masterclasses for professional players. While the festival runs from January 16 to 23, the free events will begin on January 5.
Founder and executive director of Premiere Performances Hong Kong Andrea Fessler says the HKICMF is now into its fourth year and it is important to show local audiences how exciting and interesting chamber music concerts can be.
"We are working hard to develop a new audience for chamber music," she says. "Our outreach programmes have reached a lot of people who may not have otherwise thought of going to a chamber music concert, either because they never knew what chamber music was or because they never heard it played at the highest international standards."
Fessler says the free events are targeted especially at young people who don't usually have the opportunity to see a live performance of world-class music.
"Chamber music is an integral part of a musical education. There are so many kids studying an instrument to a very high level in Hong Kong, yet very few play in small ensembles. We are trying to encourage more students to give playing chamber music a try," she says. "Once they experience that special moment where they are communicating with their friends through music, they might develop a lifelong hobby of music-making."
The festival has roped in two chamber music educators from the US, Earl Carlyss and Ann Schein, to lead its outreach and education programme. The Asia Society Hong Kong in Admiralty has also stepped in to lend its space for many of the free events.
Fessler says she is particularly excited about a number of new initiatives this year, including two sessions called "Performance in Progress" where Carlyss and Schein will rehearse Schubert's Trout Quintet with three of local festival artists "so that people can see how professional musicians work through a piece of music and negotiate its interpretation".
All the outreach events are free - partly the result of PPHK receiving a matching grant from the Home Affairs Bureau - so anyone interested in them should pre-register at www.pphk.org 
As in the past years, a line-up of stellar international musicians will be participating in the week-long festival including festival director Lin Cho-liang, violinist Ning Feng, cellist Richard Bamping, clarinetist Andrew Simon and the Jerusalem Quartet.
Jan 16-23, various venues and prices. Inquiries: 9545 6851