The new HKPO season!
Mark Tjhung picks out five things you should know about the orchestra’s only-just-announced 2012/2013 programme
With 65 concerts, 50 guest artists and ensembles – and the little matter of a new music director – there are plenty of things to absorb about the next Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra season. Here are five we picked out…
‘Jaap!’ So shouts the HKPO’s new season programme – and with little wonder: this next year for the city’s premier classical ensemble is very much about welcoming new Dutch music director, Jaap Van Zweden. A tad disappointingly, we’ll only see him take the baton in six programmes in this first year, with the first two being the flagships of the season: the National Day Celebration (Sep 28-29), world premiering a new commissioned work by exciting young composer Chinese-American composer Conrad Tao, as well as leading Beethoven 7, and Brahms’ Requiem (Nov 30-Dec 1), performed with soprano Lyubov Petrova and the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra Chorus. However, in the end, it may be his Mendelsohn-centric programme (Dec 7-8), including The Hebrides overture and Elgar’s Sea Picture that may steal the limelight.
The big names
Yes, we all love big name soloists, and HKPO seasons, like this one, have never had a shortage. As ever, the names that’ll sell out quickest will probably be the Chinese glamour duo of pianists, Yundi Li (Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1, Sep 7-8) and Lang Lang (Mozart and Chopin recital, Nov 24). But it’s perhaps the grand dame and the heir apparent of violinists, Anne Sophie Mutter (Currier’s Time Machines and Dvorak’s Violin Concerto, Nov 16-17) and Nicola Benedetti (Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Feb 7-8), which has us even more excited.
The cool new series
Or, as it officially goes by, the Swire Denim Series. Mixing in a 9pm start, getting rid of the interval and throwing in short and sharp popular programmes of baroque (Apr 5-6), jazz (with Australian trumpet master, James Morrison, May 17-18) and an audience-voted lineup (led by Jaap Van Zweden, May 3-4), it’s positively cool enough for jeans.
With the creation of both the Swire Denim Series, Sunday Family and the Holiday, Pops & More series, it’s clear there has been a conscious decision to engage all areas of the music-loving public. In particular, the evocative multimedia journeys which they’ve curated around the Antarctic (featuring Vaughan Williams’ Sinfonia Antartica, Jan 18-19) and Holst’s The Planets Suite (Jul 5-6) should strike a chord with many after a more holistic concert hall experience.
The return of the chorus?
One of the former HKPO chief conductors Maestro de Waart’s greatest frustrations was the
inability to get a full-time chorus off the ground. So, even if it’s not a full-time, permanent addition, the return of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Chorus, singing Handel’s Messiah at Easter (Mar 29-30) is at least a small step in the right direction. Hopefully.