Christopher Halls
Christopher Halls
Christopher Halls had an extensive career as a professional freelance violinist in Europe, the US and in his native Australia. He is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. He has been writing classical music reviews for the South China Morning Post since 2017.

The award-winning Verona Quartet brought the house down in their Hong Kong debut, with a chamber music masterclass full of intensity, impressive synergy and refined individual performances.

City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, dressed as the players of Haydn’s 18th century patron Prince Esterházy would have been, entertain in performance of excerpts from 17 of composer’s works.

Estonian guest conductor draws a stirring performance of Sibelius’ Symphony No 5 from the Hong Kong Philharmonic and, with Chinese soloist Zee Zee, a sparkling, playful Liszt Piano Concerto No 2.

Violinist Isabelle Faust and pianist Alexander Melnikov were on the same page throughout their performance of Beethoven’s 10 sonatas for violin and piano, their playing equal parts brilliant and illuminating.


Russian pianist’s distinctive interpretation and devotion to blending the solo part’s lines with the playing of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta marked their performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 3.

Superb artistry, depth of interpretation and the sheer joy of the playing from young South Korea-born female musicians and local stand-in violist marked the Esmé Quartet’s concert.

The vastness of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre challenged the Insula period instrument orchestra, but Chinese pianist Yuan Sheng, playing a period piano, excelled.

Canadian shows dexterous touch, precision and uncanny maturity in two Chopin works, silky skills in Ravel’s impressionistic Miroirs, and mischief and fireworks in a demanding work by Liszt.

Vasily Petrenko, rumoured to be taking over from HK Phil’s music director Jaap van Zweden, conducted with calm and fluidity, while pianist Boris Giltburg amazed all with his total clarity and precision.

The Romer String Quartet came up trumps with their Mozart and Dvorak performances, the latter of which saw them joined by local pianist Rachel Cheung, at Hong Kong City Hall.

German showed beguiling lyricism, deft touch and brilliant dexterity in a high-octane programme of Beethoven sonatas, capped by a memorable ‘Waldstein’.

Orchestra’s sound palette, unique but hard to pin down, and supple power were on full display in programmes of late Romantic music, rounded off with Viennese waltzes and polkas.

An adventurous evening of chamber music, featuring an Asian and a world premiere, benefited from the acoustics of HKUST’s new Shaw Auditorium, which pick up every detail in the music.

Reunited with their maestro Jaap van Zweden, Hong Kong Philharmonic bring finesse to their playing of Mozart piano concerto, and deliver a taut performance of Beethoven’s 9th symphony and its ‘Ode to Joy’.

A 19th century British work and a populist piece by a contemporary Canadian composer gave two harpists a rare chance to shine in an evening of celestial music from the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong.

Conductor Ken Lam drew the best from the Hong Kong Sinfonietta in performances of Samuel Barber’s mighty Symphony in One Movement, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No 1 and a newly commissioned work.

Sixty years after its concerts to mark the inauguration of Hong Kong City Hall, the London Philharmonic Orchestra reprises some of the works from 1962 in two virtual concerts to mark the venue’s anniversary.

Lio Kuokman draws bravura performances of Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome from Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Linda Stuckey dazzles in world premiere of Ozno’s Piccolo Concerto.

The Turkish virtuoso wowed Hong Kong audiences as he made his debut concerts in the city, supported by pianists Evelyn Chang and Vanessa Wong, and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

The German regional orchestra deliver polished, passionate performances of works by Smetana, Bruckner and Mahler under the baton of chief conductor Jakub Hrusa.

Mozart’s much-loved Clarinet Concerto in A major was the highlight of the October 23 concert by the Hong Kong orchestra, and soloist Gilad Harel enthralled a full house – who responded overenthusiastically.

Despite a typhoon warning and a red rainstorm alert, the Hong Kong quartet overcame initial hesitancy to display moments of brilliance at the University of Hong Kong’s Grand Hall.

Transposing Carmen from Seville to Hong Kong makes this nearly 150-year-old story more immediate and relatable, although some cuts made for awkward breaks in the narrative flow.

Mixing tenderness and ferocity, and showing her dazzling technique, Chinese virtuoso Zee Zee gave a thrilling performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 1, while the HK Phil showed plenty of polish.

Hong Kong-born pianist’s interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations as transcribed by Busoni had moments of beauty and tenderness, but the ornamentation he added was at best whimsical, at worst nonsensical.

French viola soloist Adrien La Marca shines in a performance of Brahms’ second string quintet arranged for string ensemble, but he, violin soloist Christoph Poppen and the orchestra never quite get going in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante.

Konstantin Lifschitz performed Beethoven’s 32 sonatas in eight concerts at the University of Hong Kong in 2017. Listening to the box set recordings on CD and LP reveals subtle differences between the two.

Chinese pianist produces eccentric and entertaining performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, his cheeky fingerwork catching Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s woodwinds off guard at one point.

The rapport between violinist and cellist, and the technical accomplishment of all three players, was evident in their performances of works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Beethoven, including the latter’s Triple Concerto with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

American soprano was at her expressive best in Samuel Barber’s evocation of the Deep South, Knoxville: Summer of 2015, while orchestra showed its spurs in Wagner prelude and Shostakovich’s electric ninth symphony.