43rd Orchestral Season

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Majestic Drums

Date and Time
25/10/2019 (Fri) 8:00 pm
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall
Ticket Fee
$200, $250, $320, $420
Chew Hee Chiat
Performed by
Mohammad Reza Mortazavi
Luk Kin Bun
Huang Hsuan-ning
Ren Xinyue
The concert will be finished at around 9:30p.m. without any intermission.
Now entering its 17th year, the Hong Kong Drum Festival, a brainchild of the HKCO, has become an annual gala event that brings together the top percussionists from all over the world, spanning generations, for an exciting carnival with stunning performances.
Solo on Tombak and Daf   Mohammad Reza Mortazavi  (World Premiere)

Tombak, Daf: Mohammad Reza Mortazavi

Tombak and Orchestra Song of Abandon Mohammad Reza Mortazavi  Arr. by Chow Jun Yi (Arrangement commissioned by the HKCO / World Premiere) 

Tombak: Mohammad Reza Mortazavi

Percussion and Orchestra  Eight Sounds in Harmony Wang Yidong   Arr. by Jamie Lin  (Hong Kong Premiere)
Percussion: Ren Xinyue

Percussion Concerto The Age of the Dragon (Excerpts) Kuan Nai-chung

The second movement: The Moon

The first movement: The Sun

Percussion: Luk Kin Bun, Huang Hsuan-ning

Percussion and Orchestra Let the Thunder of Drums Roll VII.1019 Chew Hee Chiat            
Audience perform with the artists and the HKCO
Open Rehearsal

25/10/2019 (Fri) 4:00pm

Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

Inquiries and Registration: 3185 1647

Music Views & Previews

Incredible Drum Music by a Passionate Percussion Talent

In this concert, Iranian percussion soloist Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, a recognized talent in percussion music, will lead the performance of two works at the beginning, and take part in the grand finale – Chew Hee Chiat’s Let the Thunder of Drums Roll VII.1019 for percussion and orchestra. The programme is designed in such a way to offer music fans a more comprehensive showcase of the percussionist’s talents, but, more importantly, to prove once again that the ‘cross-cultural’ collaborations between percussion instruments from different cultures can create a world of boundless music.

The amazing hands of the ‘King of Percussion’

Born in Isfahan, a city in central Iran, Mortazavi moved to Germany at the age of 22 and has won the accolade as the “the best hand drummer” in the world. He can do a solo show for up to two hours playing traditional Persian instruments such as the tombak and daf, all the time in full command of the audience’s attention and emotions. This ‘stunt’ of a skill has allowed him to give highly successful tours in up to a hundred cities, big and small, across Europe.

He claimed that he does not go out of his way to practice; he only puts himself in performance mode all the time. He also said that he does not go out of his way to invent new performing techniques; by his sheer urge to look for new sounds, his hands would naturally come up with new playing techniques, which now tallies up to at least thirty. The dynamic effects, played with fingers and palms, consolidate his reputation as a born percussion genius.

Yet be it traditional, modern, or even the new finger drumming techniques invented by Mortasavi himself, they are but the ‘means’ and ‘tools’ for making music. The reason why Mortasavi can singlehandedly enamour his audience for two hours by playing two drums on the stage is his music, which is filled with a deep, powerful inner passion. His techniques and music are nothing without this passion. In other words, besides being a born talent, ‘passion’ is the key element to his success.

Solo on Tombak and Daf, which opens this concert, is not actually the name of a piece, but an improvisatory piece performed by Mortazavi to showcase his hand drumming techniques.

A cross-cultural musical dialogue

There is another piece in the concert that is noteworthy. Song of Abandon, composed by Mortazavi, transcribed by Lea Fink and arranged by Chow Jun Yi, is a ‘cross-cultural’ work performed by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra with Mortazavi on the tombak. Although Mortazavi said that this is a piece “about freeing oneself from constraints” and which “tells an encouraging story of overcoming the past to find something new”, it is apparent that this will be a bravura display of the new sounds he found on the tombak and his passion for music. It is expected to create a cross-cultural musical dialogue, serving as an attempt in exploring the boundless realm of music.

In fact, the last three works for percussion and orchestra in the concert also seek to broaden musical horizons through cross-cultural musical dialogues. Eight Sounds in Harmony by Wang Yidong and arranged by Jamie Lin combines a number of different Chinese and Western percussion instruments to create a new musical style with a variety of musical elements. The percussion concerto The Age of the Dragon, composed by Kuan Nai-chung in 1999, features two Chinese and Western percussionists as the lead soloists and similarly seeks to further broaden musical expression through percussion instruments in Chinese and Western cultures. As for Let the Thunder of Drums Roll VII for percussion and orchestra, first composed by Chew Hee Chiat and premiered in December 2007, it integrates different music and cultures and is annually performed at the Hong Kong Drum Festival by percussion talents from all over the world as a musical exchange. For this reason, each year’s performance will differ based on the artistic talents and the individual performing characteristics of the guest percussionists, resulting in an enduring, cross-cultural percussion work that continues to inspire.

This year, with Mortazavi taking part in performing Let the Thunder of Drums Roll VII.1019 as another cross-cultural collaboration, we can look forward to the percussionist’s finger drumming on the tombak and daf to once again open up a new world of music.