The Lyric Theatre hall was packed with curious music-lovers. The event was a violin recital, but one unlike any heard before in Hong Kong. The performer was the much talked about Vanessa-Mae, a violinist whose name is simultaneously topping pop charts around the world and winning praise from classical music critics. To set the record straight, Vanessa-Mae is not just another musician taking a novel approach to excite an audience. She is a genuinely talented young woman who launched her musical career as a violin prodigy, performing with the London Philharmonic at the age of 10, and joining the Royal College of Music at 11. The college usually accepts only students aged 18 and above. Her accomplishments include being a member of the London Mozart Players and recording three classical albums. Steeped in the classics, Vanessa-Mae suddenly realised she could do more with her violin - take it into the realms of pop, rock, jazz, fusion and even reggae. Her recent 'Red Hot Tour' concert at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts saw the violinist blazing away at her hot new 'techno-acoustic fusion', a hybrid of rock, jazz, country, classical, pop and fusion. You listen with rapt attention, enjoying the daring new sounds. But just as you begin to think the whole thing may be just another pop gimmick by an artist who sells music using a sexy image, Vanessa-Mae switches to the classics and whips through three pieces by Paganini and Kreisler. In one piece, she used only one string of the violin, a technical feat. She teases her audience with bizarre contrasts - a concert violinist who performs dance steps at the same time. Using a rock guitar, bass and drums, the long-haired Thai-Chinese performed works from her debut pop album, The Violin Player. Popular numbers like Toccata and Fugue, Red Hot and Classical Gas, played on her white electric guitar, had people in the audience swaying to the catchy rhythms. And when Vanessa-Mae picked up her expensive violin (valued at HK$2.5 million), the audience was transported to another world. At the end of the recital you were not sure quite what to make of the artist. But as she herself said on a previous visit to Hong Kong, she just wants to be accepted as 'a violin player', period. At the end of her 90-minute concert, Vanessa-Mae performed a lullaby. She joked with the audience that no matter how hard and long they applauded, it was time for her to go to bed, like any other A-level student.