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HK Phil Returns to the Stage To Preview Its 2020/21 Season

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The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) made its joyous return to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall on 4 July after five months of venue closure. It was the orchestra's first performance to a live audience since the re-opening of the concert hall in June. Over 70 orchestral members, under the baton of Lio Kuokman, together with Hong Kong pianists Rachel Cheung and Colleen Lee, as well as our own Concertmaster Jing Wang, were onstage to present an impressive preview of HK Phil's 2020/21 season with their enthusiasm and artistry.

Chief Executive of the HK Phil, Mr Benedikt Fohr, expressed his pleasure at having the orchestra back on stage. "It has been a long time since the HK Phil last performed for a live audience. The 2020/21 season is fuelled by hope and resilience, with the theme From note to hope; In music we rejoice. Through music-making, we bring people together; through music, we bring hope." Conductor Lio Kuokman and the HK Phil performed alongside Hong Kong pianists Rachel Cheung and Colleen Lee in Beethoven's Rondo and Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 26, Coronation: 1st movement, and HK Phil Concertmaster Jing Wang in Beethoven's Romance no. 2. The orchestra also performed masterworks by Ravel, Schumann and Stravinsky.

This concert presented a sampling of music from the upcoming 2020/21 season. Music-lovers from around the world enjoyed free access to this concert with an ultimate visual quality in 4K via 5G network on the HK Phil's website, Facebook and YouTube channels, supported by 3 Hong Kong jointly with technology partner TFI. The concert was also live broadcast by RTHK Radio 4. Mr Fohr thanked our partners - 3 Hong Kong, TFI Digital Media Ltd and RTHK - for making this season preview concert accessible to thousands around the world, to engage our audience in our music-making through creative means.

Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings Limited, Mr Kenny Koo said, "The live broadcast of the HK Phil 2020/21 Season Preview Concert in 4K ultra high-definition via 3 Hong Kong's advanced 5G network was another success showcase of 5G applications in the performing arts. Through innovation and technology, we are delighted to bridge arts to the wider communities together with the HK Phil, and let music be experienced in a very unique way."

Founder & CEO of TFI Digital Media Ltd., Mr Wilson Yuen said, "Video streaming technology continues to explore new ground. We are very excited to team up with the HK Phil and 3 Hong Kong to transform the making and sharing of music during this special period of time, and to bring people together."

The HK Phil puts the health and well-being of our audience, players and staff at the forefront. We, together with the venue, have worked as a collaborative team in making special arrangements both onstage and offstage. For onstage, we have come up with a different seating plan to provide enough space between the players, along with plastic shields for the wind players. For offstage, dedicated measures, such as temperature checks at admission and special seating arrangements, have been taken to ensure the well-being of the audience members. Deputy Director of Leisure & Cultural Services (Culture), Ms Elaine Yeung stated, "As the HK Phil's venue partner, we are excited to welcome back the orchestra as well as our dear audience to the concert hall. Through effective social-distancing measures, we hope our audience feels safe as well as at ease as they engage with cultural activities."

The HK Phil announced its exciting 2020/21 season, presenting 35 fantastic programmes featuring over 80 international and local guest artists. Five newly commissioned works by Hong Kong composers will be premiered. In the new season, Jaap van Zweden will lead the orchestra to tour to Asia and Europe, showcasing Hong Kong's artistic excellence to the world!

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