The Composer is Dead is an innovative show that explains the role of various music instruments in an orchestra [Review]

Zachary Perez Jones

This murder and music mashup is fun for the whole family

Zachary Perez Jones |

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Who murdered the composer?

Possibly one of the most exciting concerts in Hong Kong this year, The Composer is Dead is a concert that entertains the audience with a murder mystery plot while providing insight about the instruments that make up most orchestras in an informative and fun way.

The concert started off with the Pink Panther theme, which set the mood in the concert hall as suspicious and mysterious. It reminded me of when I was 5 or 6, when I used to watch cartoons on TV and brought back many good memories.

The first half of the concert was filled with easily recognisable themes such as the Sherlock Suite from the new BBC TV series and more Sherlock Holmes music from Hans Zimmer. There were also two numbers from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition which were definitely mysterious and creepy. It’s not every day that a large scale Philharmonic play this type of repertoire and it was fascinating to listen to.

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At the beginning of each of the two Sherlock numbers, The narrator (Eric Monson from Metro Vocal Group) came out dressed as an investigator to announce a murder had happened in the concert hall; This eventually leads to the second part of the concert which was the educational and funny part of the show.

After the intermission, the The Composer is Dead section of the concert began. The Narrator began to explain how an orchestra is run, by investigating each instrument group's alibi to see if they had a reason to kill the composer. The investigator found out why each instrument was important to the orchestra and its characteristics. After each alibi, the orchestra would play a sample of the instrument with some accompaniment.

Many jokes were littered throughout this part of the concert making the concert very enjoyable and very informative. While the first bit of The Composer is Dead was slightly boring, once the plot began rolling it was easy to become invested in the story.

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This concert is excellent for everyone, but this would be especially informative for music students who want to know more about the different sections.

The narrator explains the specialities and characteristics of the instruments which make it easier to identify all the different instruments for novice concert-goers. Students also get half-priced tickets thanks to government subsidies given to HK-based orchestras.

If The Composer is Dead ever makes its way back to HK again I would definitely recommend that people curious about classical music go check it out. It's an fun and unintimidating way to step into a new musical world.

Edited by Jamie Lam