The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra Presents Swire Classic Insights Free Concerts At HKU

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra Presents Swire Classic Insights Free Concerts At HKU2018 is the centenary of the end of World War One and also the 70th birthday of Polish Animation. In the upcoming Swire Classic Insights, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) will present fabulous music, on-stage commentary, and live animation in three concerts to be held on 2 March (Fri), 3 March (Sat) and 16 March (Fri) at 8pm in the Grand Hall, Lee Shau Kee Lecture Centre, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong. Registration is required. Ticket registration begins on 13 February 2018.

(1) Remembering World War One - Part I (2 March 2018, Friday, 8 pm)

As we approach the centenary of the end of the First World War, Jung-Ho Pak will conduct two consecutive programmes showing how composers responded to, or were affected by, this traumatic event.

The first concert features music which offers very personal reactions to the experience of war: Vaughan Williams instilled his nostalgia for the disappearing idyllic country into The Lark Ascending after his service in the army; Ravel was commissioned by Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein who lost his right arm on the Russian front; Howells wrote his moving Elegy to pay tribute to a fellow student killed in a battle in 1917.

(2) Remembering World War One - Part II (3 March 2018, Saturday, 8 pm)

The second concert recalls the suffering of soldiers and civilians in wartime. Butterworth was killed by a sniper while Webern served in the Austrian army for much of the First World War. Soviet military orchestra conductor and composer Agapkin wrote his patriotic march in honour of the women who had to be parted from their menfolk in the First Balkan War. Although Holst had been rejected for military service because of ill-health, he worked as a volunteer using music to rehabilitate traumatised soldiers. Debussy was too old and ill to serve in the war, but he described his Noël des enfants qui n'ont plus de maisons as "a prayer from the French children that the Germans should have no Christmas".

To keep up morale in the Viennese population during the war, J Strauss I's Radetzky March was particularly effective, while in America, Cohan's song Over There was used to galvanise public opinion in support of the Allied cause.

(3) 70 Years of Polish Animation (16 March 2018, Friday, 8 pm)

In collaboration with the Hong Kong International Film Festival, we are taking a special journey through Polish animation and music under the baton of Polish conductor Sebastian Per?owski. Surviving wars and decades of political turbulence, Polish composers and animators have striven to express themselves and respond to society through their works, making Polish animation and its music one of the country's shining gems on the international stage. Mariusz Wilczynski, an established Polish film-animator, will project his live drawing to the music.

All three concerts are free admission. Seats are limited and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. For more details, please visit:

Jung-Ho Pak, conductor [full biography]

Described by The New York Times as a conductor who "radiates enthusiasm" and Los Angeles Times as "a real grabber", Jung-Ho Pak is known for his unique vision of the role of classical music. Since 2007 he has been Artistic Director and Conductor of the Cape Symphony, and is also Music Director Emeritus of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. Guest conducting has taken him to Europe, Russia, South America and Asia.

Sebastian Per?owski, conductor [full biography]

Sebastian Per?owski graduated with honours from the departments of Opera and Symphonic Conducting and Composition in the Jazz Institute of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. He was nominated by music critics, journalists and the public as "Best Conductor of the Krakow Opera last five years". Currently, he is teaching Composition in the Jazz Institute of the Karol Szymanowski Music Academy in Katowice and he is vice artistic director at Pozna? Opera House.

David Pomfret, speaker [full biography]

Leung Kin-fung, Violin [full biography]

In 2015, Leung was awarded "Artist of the Year - Music 2014" by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. Since 2000, Leung has been the First Associate Concertmaster of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Artistic Director of Hong Kong Pure String and Macau Virtuosi. He has also served on the faculty of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Starting from 2017, Leung is the programme director of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth Cultural Exchange Festival.

Andrew Ling, Viola [full biography]

Hong Kong-native Andrew Ling is principal violist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. His appearances as concert soloist have included the HK Phil and the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. Andrew has also brought his musicianship to conducting engagements with the HK Phil, the Pan Asia Symphony Orchestra, and Finland's Seinäjoki City and Kuopio Symphony orchestras. He has worked with some of the world's foremost conductors, including Jaap van Zweden, Edo de Waart, Jun Märkl and Leonard Slatkin.

Avan Yu, Piano [full biography]

One of Canada's most exciting young pianists, Avan Yu achieved international recognition when he triumphed at the Sydney International Piano Competition in 2012, winning First Prize along with nine special awards. He has performed extensively throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australia and at venues such as the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Salle Cortot in Paris, and the Sydney Opera House.

Danjulo Ishizaka, Cello [full biography]

After receiving first prize in both the ARD Competition and Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann, Danjulo Ishizaka is today ranked among the most outstanding cellists of his generation internationally. His international concert schedule regularly takes him throughout Europe, Asia and the US. He has been performing around the world with artists including Gidon Kremer and Tabea Zimmermann, and with leading orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra.

Mariusz Wilczynski, Animator [full biography]

As a creator of animated films and as a painter, cartoonist, set designer and performer, Wilczy?ski's work presents a range of styles - and features films at once bittersweet and sardonic. His films have been shown at top festivals in Poland, in Melbourne, Terme and Bologna in Italy, Chicago, and at Midem, Cannes, and solo screenings in Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Milan, Vilnius, Sydney and Toronto.

Hong Kong Philharmonic Chorus [full biography]

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Chorus was established in 1980. Over the years, it has collaborated with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra to perform a range of different works by composers including Britten, Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Haydn and performed under renowned conductors Lorin Maazel, Nicholas McGegan, Brett Weymark and Jaap van Zweden.

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