Tomorrow (Thursday 19th), the Academy Symphony Orchestra will perform in its last big concert of the academic year.
It’s a particularly special occasion because our new Chair of The School of Music, Sharon Choa, will be conducting the orchestra for the first time. Sharon has a great reputation as a conductor in the UK (see her website www.sharonchoa.co.uk) so I wanted to ask her a couple of questions about how she’s finding her HKAPA experience so far.
How do you find the Academy’s student musicians, compared to those you worked with in London?
They are brilliant – I have a lot of respect for them; especially the soloists – they are quite exceptional compared to any young musician in the world.
An outstanding quote on your website reads: “What drives my life is passion, at every level of endeavour…”. Do you think musicians in Hong Kong share that feeling of passion for what they do? And how about our classical music audiences?
Many of them do; but as with everything in life, there are people who are passionate and devoted to everything they do and there are some who simply aren’t. Sometimes, it may also be a matter of mode of expression.
I do believe there are a lot of music lovers in Hong Kong who would perhaps like to understand more about their passion – their reason for loving music, or a specific kind of music. There seems to be a lot of initiatives in HK to ‘enlighten’ audiences, so I sense that there is a good trend and good potential for development in all directions.
How was the programme for the concert chosen? (for details, see below) Did you have final say on pieces and performers?
The programmes were entirely chosen by the student soloists – we just have to learn the scores of the repertoires they have chosen – it is quite a task! – as these are big works of very different styles.
I notice that there is a Chinese music piece included in the programme. Have you conducted musicians playing Chinese instruments before and what, if any, are the differences in approach?
No, I have never conducted a piece with Chinese instrumental soloists – I find this most interesting because of the different ‘accents’ and ‘intonation’ Chinese music presents. We are trying to create a ‘Chinese spirit’ with a Western-style symphony orchestra – in terms of colour, mode of articulation and the music’s dramatic narrative. I hope this will come through in the performance.
This should be an exceptional and enjoyable evening of music. Hope you can make it!
Academy Concerto Concert III, Academy Concert Hall, Thursday June 19 2014 @ 7.30pm
Composers & Programmes
Zhou Yuguo: Guzheng Concerto, Tune of Rainbow Cloud Soloist: Ho Ying-ying
Strauss: Horn Concerto No 1, OP 11 Soloist: Harry Chu Chin-pong
Forsyth: Viola Concerto in G minor Soloist: Chris Choi Shu-lun
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D major, OP. 35 Soloist: Sharon Chan Shawn-nan
Concert duration: 2 hours with an intermission
Tickets are free and released half an hour before the start of the performance from the Box Office on a first-come, first-served basis.