More than 1,000 erhu players performed with the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (HKCO) and renowned erhu soloist Wong Hiu- nam in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza with Victoria Harbour as the backdrop. The 'Music From a Thousand Strings' event was the largest ever live performance of its kind and organisers hope it will win a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. The spectacular marked the official opening of the Huqin Festival of Hong Kong which is running until April. During the festival, through concerts, exhibitions and talks, the public will be able to trace the development of the ancient instrument. HKCO manager Celina Chin Man-wah said: 'We started recruiting erhu players last October. 'Among the players were local and expatriate musicians; students and highly experienced players. The youngest was six years old while the oldest was 70. 'Most of the young music stu dents came from classes conducted by the Music Office and secondary school Chinese orchestras. The experienced musicians came from amateur orchestras. They have been practising every weekend since mid-December.' At the festival's opening ceremony, the HKCO began with the piece First Movement: The Sun from The Age of the Dragon. Erhu soloist Wong, a top graduate from the Central Conservatory of Music of China, also performed Flower and The Sun Shines Over Taxgorkan. The thousand erhu players joined in with the HKCO to perform Flower Drums of Fengyang, Song of a Promising Future and We are Chinese in the finale. Mick Bolton, a Briton who has lived in Hong Kong for 18 months, was the only expatriate erhu player. 'I used to play the keyboard back in England and I often listened to Chinese instrumental music. Gradually I got addicted to it, especially erhu recitals. 'I started learning this unique instrument six months ago. It is a great privilege to be part of this event,' he said.