The Joy of Music

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 December, 2006, 12:00am

Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall

Today, Dec 18 to 20, 8pm

Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

Tomorrow-Sun, 8pm

Having organised last September's Hong Kong International Piano Competition, the Chopin Society of Hong Kong is back with a rich classical concert series, featuring a weighty lineup that includes renowned pianists Gary Graffman and Pascal Roge, local protege Rachel Cheung Wai-ching (above) and last year's competition first prize winner Ilya Rashkovskiy (left).

To run until December 20, The Joy of Music Festival is also presenting a number of string and wind chamber performances by members of the London Chamber Orchestra (LCO).

'The idea behind this festival is basically very simple: to gather together a small group of world-renowned musicians, as well as some very talented young pianists, and ask them to play singly and together in small chamber groups, music which they chose and which they want to share with the audience,' says Andrew Freris, chairman of the society.

Tonight, 15-year-old Cheung's recital programme includes Mozart's Fantasie in C minor, KV396 and Sonata in D major, KV576; Liszt's Benediction de dieu dans la solitude and Two Concert Studies; Schubert's Three Piano Pieces D946; Chopin's Four Mazurkas Op24 and Ballade in F minor, Op52 No4 and Poulenc's Trois Pieces.

Freris says what also makes this event special is the combination of instruments and music: 'Chamber music is, perhaps, the most difficult of all the musical expressions, as it involves a continuous conversation between the instruments and the artists who play them, but in a transparent and ever-changing manner.'

The LCO has returned after being the 'official orchestra' for last year's competition. Freris says the ensemble has agreed to appear every year in Hong Kong and in the next Hong Kong International Piano Competition, scheduled to be held in 2008, thus establishing a regular contact with the local classical music scene.

'What makes this agreement exciting is that LCO will participate either as a full orchestra or a chamber orchestra or as a small chamber ensemble and its individual players will form string or wind chamber groups to allow maximum flexibility for the presentation of diverse and challenging musical programmes.'

Other highlights in the coming week include a concert on December 18, with guitarist Alvaro Pierri, and with Rashkovskiy playing Nielsen, Berwald and Schubert with the LCO in the closing performance.

Tickets: HK$150. Inquiries: 9027 1429