[Sponsored Article] The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) is set to reunite on stage in September with music director Jaap van Zweden, who is returning to the city to perform in person with the orchestra again after more than 18 months away. The 2021/22 schedule, which marks the HK Phil’s 48th season, is heavily anticipated as a triumphant homecoming for the ensemble after a challenging year, with a line-up of concerts that champion the works of great composers, while spotlighting a number of the HK Phil’s own musicians as well as local artists. Van Zweden and the HK Phil are looking forward to the synergy and excitement of more performances in audience-filled venues this season after an unprecedented period of time apart. “We could never have imagined that it would take so long before we would be together again,” van Zweden says, adding that it had intensified his and the HK Phil’s desire to gather and return to sharing music with Hong Kong audiences. The upcoming season is aptly titled “Harbour a Love for Music”, and it is imbued with a renewed purpose of bringing music to audiences. The theme reflects van Zweden’s deep belief that classical music can be a source of peace, healing and unity. “I think we have all experienced how music can help us better understand and appreciate one another, and unite our world as we continue to recover from turbulence,” he says. The harbour concept has a layered meaning for the HK Phil, representing its close relationship with Hong Kong and the historical significance of Victoria Harbour, says Benedikt Fohr, chief executive of the HK Phil. “Hong Kong is famous for its harbour, with the flow of people and business bringing a liveliness to this city,” Fohr says. “We play music to give everyone a lift at our home performance venue – Hong Kong Cultural Centre – which is just next to the city’s iconic Victoria Harbour.” The HK Phil is initially announcing programmes from September up to December, with the hope that it will lead to a season heralding a return to regular concerts and repertoires played by a full orchestra, as well as the arrival of more international artists to perform with the ensemble later on. Van Zweden will lead the HK Phil through the first two weekends in September, with his baton taking the orchestra through Beethoven’s at once frantic and melancholic Symphony No 7 . They will also see HK Phil concertmaster Jing Wang take the lead in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto , notably the composer’s only foray into that type of composition. This programme has been long awaited by the ensemble and local classical music lovers alike, as it was originally slated to be performed last season. The opening weekend of concerts will also include the world premiere of a score by London-based, Hong Kong-born composer Raymond Yiu, titled Old Bei. This work was commissioned by the HK Phil last year as a tribute to Beethoven for his 250th birthday. That will be the first of several premieres planned for the upcoming season. During the second weekend of September, van Zweden will lead the HK Phil in a programme featuring one of Canada’s most exciting and acclaimed young pianists, Avan Yu, who will perform Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini . The concert will also feature Dvořák’s Symphony No 7 , in addition to the Asia premiere of an emotive string composition called Within Her Arms by British composer Anna Clyne, which she wrote following the death of her mother. Other premieres include Ozno’s Piccolo Concerto – penned by the HK Phil’s principal timpanist, James Boznos – with Linda Stuckey taking up the role of piccolo soloist. The performances on November 5 and 6 will again be led by van Zweden and will feature Beethoven’s Symphony No 3, Eroica , a fiery composition of heroism and tyranny that began as a homage to Napoleon Bonaparte, until his claim as emperor destroyed the composer’s affection for the leader. Guest conductor and pianist David Greilsammer has garnered a reputation for his bold interpretations of musical scores that add drama and flair to performances. The Israeli musician will bring his eclectic style to audiences on September 17 and 18 with a programme titled “Mozart Meets John Williams”. Greilsammer will lead the HK Phil through Mozart’s fiery Symphony No 35, Haffner , and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 17 . The performances will accompany those of works by contemporary composer John Williams, including one of the most famous film scores ever penned. Williams has composed more than 100 film scores, including the iconic theme music for Jaws , the Indiana Jones series and Jurassic Park . He also wrote the menacing Imperial March for the original Star Wars trilogy, which Greilsammer will infuse with his own inimitable style during the programme. The concert will also feature local saxophonist Timothy Sun playing a rendition of Escapades, a progressive jazz, saxophone-heavy piece of music that Williams wrote for the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can. Williams’ work will again be in the spotlight on October 22 and 23 with “ Jurassic Park in Concert”, which combines a film screening with live music by the HK Phil. Other highlights include the appearance of master guitarist Milos Karadaglic on December 10 and 11. The Montenegro-born musician will bring his charismatic style to Hong Kong with lively renditions of Latin compositions including La procesión del Rocío by Spanish composer Joaquín Turina and Concierto de Aranjuez by fellow Spaniard Joaquín Rodrigo, as well as the jazz-infused Libertango by composer Astor Piazzolla. Later in the year, esteemed conductor and Hong Kong native Elim Chan, who is currently chief conductor of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, will be welcomed back to her hometown to lead a programme. Also planned for the first half of the season is the return of the HK Phil’s much-loved annual outdoor concert, Swire Symphony Under The Stars, live at the Central Harbourfront with van Zweden conducting this signature event. More details will be announced on the HK Phil’s website closer to the event. The HK Phil is introducing a new discount scheme at Urbtix for programmes taking place from September to December in its 2021/22 season. This new discount scheme will allow concertgoers to purchase standard tickets for multiple programmes at discounted prices. The general public will be offered up to a 20 per cent discount, while HK Phil Club Bravo members will get up to 30 per cent off the price.