Concert celebrating Chinese Communist Party’s centenary to show Hong Kong’s ‘unique’ blend of East and West
- The Hong Kong String Orchestra and violinist Yao Jue, its founder, will perform a variety of Chinese and Western music to honour Hong Kong’s diversity
- The ‘Centennial and HKSAR Establishment Celebration Concert’ takes place at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall on June 13
A mainland China-born, Julliard-trained violin virtuoso who has lived in Hong Kong for a quarter of a century hopes to send a message about the city’s diversity through music when the string orchestra she founded eight years ago gives a celebratory concert featuring a variety of influences.
Since Hong Kong is her home, she wants to celebrate the place that has made her life “full” through the concert on June 13 – which will mark this year’s centenary of the Chinese Communist Party’s founding and the anniversary of the British handover of the city to China – by showing Hong Kong’s “unique” blend of East and West, she says. Yao will perform as a soloist on her treasured 1713 Stradivarius violin.
“I developed my vision and discovered the purpose of my life in Hong Kong,” says Yao, a member of the council of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and of the Hong Kong Arts Festival committee.
The Hong Kong String Orchestra concert will give the local premiere of Joshua Chan Kam-biu’s Cantonese Pop Song Medley. Despite being a classically trained musician, Yao admits that Canto-pop has been a great personal influence, and says she hopes hearing the piece will remind audience members of Hong Kong’s “Lion Rock spirit” and that they will work together to make the city a better place.
Another work featured in the programme is Chinese Folk Song (2002) by Zhou Long. Zhou has lived in the US for a long time but Yao sees in his work a reminder of the importance of one’s own culture. “Without it, we are lost,” she says.
Yao also wants to reflect Hong Kong’s diversity by giving the audience a varied musical experience. The orchestra will play a Western piece of music to complement the theme of cultural exchanges – Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir of Florence (1890).
It was chosen because it is a challenging piece that will show off the skills of the orchestra’s young musicians.
The work that will set the tone for the evening is likely to be the opening piece, a new arrangement of China Overture for piano and string orchestra by the composer Ye Guohui. Originally written for full orchestra in 1998, it is adapted from the Chinese national anthem March of the Volunteers.
Yao says it is a perfect choice for an event titled “Centennial and HKSAR Establishment Celebration Concert” that she wants also to be a celebration of how the lives of people in China have improved since she left for the US as a poor student with only US$45 in her pocket.
She hopes the evening will generate positive energy and be seen as a celebration of Hong Kong’s fusing of different influences.
“Hong Kong is a unique place. I hope the audience will be proud of their own culture by the end of the performance,” she says.
“Centennial and HKSAR Establishment Celebration Concert”, Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall, June 13, 8pm.