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July 2023

HKCO 47th Orchestal Season Brochure

Download 47th Orchestral Season Brochure (E-version)

(Please register to receive the 47th Orchestral Season Brochure:

Message from the Artistic Director

As a flagship performing arts company of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (HKCO) has endeavoured to carry out its role as a cultural ambassador of Hong Kong by continuing to offer a variety of activities and technological applications to maintain its premium image, despite the coronavirus pandemic of the past three years. Since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in early 2023, we have set off once again in earnest contacts with the world. At the invitation of Singapore’s Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, we presented The Chorale of Spring at their Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts during the Lunar New Year. In early March, we participated in the launch of the first Hong Kong-based cruise liner ‘Resorts World One’ by performing on the ship’s helipad, with the dazzling Victoria Harbour nightscape as its backdrop. Using 5G technology, the performance was broadcast live to a global online audience. In April, we toured Japan and made our debut at four prestigious concert halls in Tokyo, Sapporo, and Hyogo and Aichi Prefectures to promote the culture of Chinese music to the world.

The design theme of the new orchestral season brochure focuses on the Chinese character he (和), defined in the 3rd century dictionary Guangya as ‘harmony’.

The Chinese character he and one of its homophonic variants convey the concepts of accordance and complementarity, both of which are relevant to music. According to Chinese philosopher Tang Chun-I (1909 - 1978), ‘harmony’ taught in music resonates with ‘the mean’ propounded in etiquette. Symmetry between equilibrium and rhythm oftentimes underlies the beauty pursued in Chinese art. In the same vein, Chinese music has the capacity for temperance and conciliation that evoke a spirit of neutrality and harmony.

Nowadays, breakthrough advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have brought about major changes to the way humankind lives and works. AI is used to generate image and music, and can even undertake artistic and literary creativity, very much contrary to our previous understanding of technology. While music is increasingly becoming digitised, it is timely to reflect on music standards themselves. In time to come, the perception of a sense of congruence in the world and harmony among all life forms through Chinese music will constitute an important basis on which the survival of human civilisation and wisdom rely.

Opening the HKCO’s 47th Orchestral Season is The Palace of Eternal Life on a Moonlit Night. As another of our collaborative efforts with Zhang Jun, this production combines Kunqu, another outstanding feat of Chinese culture inscribed on the UNESCO List of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and our full-scale modern Chinese orchestra to tell the poignant love story between Emperor Ming and Imperial Concubine LadyYang of the Tang dynasty. For the Hong Kong Arts Festival, HKCO will present its signature programme Music About China featuring the specially commissioned A Timbral Dialogue. It is a dialogue between two imposing musical instruments, the Chinese bianzhong and the Western pipe organ, highlighting in three dimension the different realms of harmony. Other fabulous concerts this season, all prefaced by harmony, include The Ancient Tea Horse Route, Tunes of Tianjin and Northern China, Lyricism in Chinese Music, A Musical Tour of China’s North and South, and Pastoral Harmony. They vividly showcase the different musical landscapes of multiple locations, using diverse Chinese music and artistic techniques to bring spiritual harmony to the audience.

In addition, we will present three tribute concerts to iconic figures in Chinese music. They are: He Zhanhao & the HKCO - The Butterfly Lovers @ 65, for which the nonagenarian Professor He ZhanHao is invited to Hong Kong to perform the gaohuconcerto The Butterfly Lovers and other works; Doming Lam Memorial Concert - The Insect World; and From the Peng Xiuwen Collection - Chinese Rhapsody. The selected pieces, each hugely acclaimed on the international music scene, will enlighten the audience firsthand on the artistic heritage of large Chinese music ensembles.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong Drum Festival, we hope to inject positive energy once again into all walks of life through the invigorating sounds of drums. With the generous support of title sponsor Chinachem Group, HKCO will hold One Beat One World: Connecting through the Drum - Drum Carnival and Live Concert @ West Kowloon Art Park. The global 5G live concert will harmoniously connect people from different socioeconomic strata, from seniors, youth and teenagers, disadvantaged groups, young person in custody, and ethnic minorities, across the 18 districts of the territory. This demonstrates to the world the soft power of Hong Kong culture and reinforces Hong Kong’s reputation as a city of grand events.

We cordially invite everyone to join us for the 47th Orchestral Season and share the beautiful experience of harmony in the world of Chinese music.

Yan Huichang

Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for Life