|Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, China, 2017|
Tour Dates: 10th May - 25th May, 2017
Founded in 1977, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra is the only professional, full-sized Chinese orchestra in Hong Kong.
Founded in 1977, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra is the only professional, full-sized Chinese orchestra in Hong Kong. It has won the accolades as “a leader in Chinese ethnic music” and “a cultural ambassador of Hong Kong”, and is often invited to perform at various famous venues in the world and at international festivals. It has been heard by audiences in Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and the Arctic Circle. The Orchestra has an establishment of 85 professional musicians, playing in four sections: bowed-strings, plucked-strings, wind and percussion. The instruments include both the traditional and the improved, new versions. In particular, the bowed-string section has adopted, since 2009, the Eco- Huqin series developed by the Orchestra. With its roots in the Chinese cultural heritage, the Orchestra has built a repertoire that includes not only traditional Chinese music but also contemporary works. It also explores new frontiers in music through commissioning new works of various types and styles, whether as original compositions or arrangements, and the total number has exceeded 2,300.
Apart from regular concerts and activities promoting arts education, the Orchestra has organized symposia and competitions. One of its milestone events is the world’s first ever ‘Hong Kong International Conducting Competition for Chinese Music’ in 2011. The Orchestra has won numerous awards for its achievements in the arts, arts education, marketing and promotion, governance and administration. They include ’The Most Outstanding Achievement in Advancing Contemporary Chinese Music’ presented by the ISCM World Music Days Hong Kong (2002), ’Directors of the Year - Statutory/Non-profit-distributing Organization Board’ by The Hong Kong Institute of Directors for achievement in corporate governance (2004), ’2004 Best Corporate Governance Disclosure Awards - Gold Award of Public Sector/ Not-for-profit Category’ by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (2004), ’The Most Outstanding Achievement in Advancing Asian Contemporary Music’ by the Asian Composers League (2007), and the ’Instrumental Music–Album’ category and the ’Instrumental Music –Performance’ category at the 6th China Gold Record Awards (2008) for their album, Roots of the Chinese. Its ’Chinese Music Alive’ Scheme won the ’Hong Kong Arts Development Awards - Arts Education 2010’ in 2011. In May 2012, the ’Hong Kong International Conducting Competition for Chinese Music’ organized by the Orchestra won a ‘Bronze Award - Group/Organisation Category’ from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. Apart from the ’4th Ministry of Culture Innovation Award’, its Eco-Huqin series has also won many other awards for its green and innovative concepts.
Artistic Director & Chief Conductor: Huichang Yan
Huichang Yan was conferred the title of National Class One Conductor at the First Professional Appraisal of China in 1987. After graduating from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1983, Yan was appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the China National Orchestra. As a conductor who has worked with all professional Chinese orchestras in Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong and philharmonic or symphony orchestras such as the China National Symphony Orchestra and the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra. He joined the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra in June 1997. Over the years, he has received numerous accolades and awards, such as the ‘Cultural Medallion (Music)’ by the National Arts Council of Singapore in 2001, a Bronze Bauhinia Star (BBS) by the Hong Kong SAR Government, the Jurors’ Award for Conducting at the 6th China Gold Record Awards–Multi Arts Category, and the Overseas Award for Music at the 51st Literary and Art Works Awards in Taiwan. He is currently a Visiting Professor or Adjunct Professor in many conservatories. He regularly gives talks and lectures in Hong Kong and Overseas to promote Chinese music as a legacy. He was the first ever Chinese to hold master classes in the Conservatoire national superieur de musique et de danse de Paris. He is now an Honorary Fellowship by HKAPA, with an appointment as Visiting Scholar of its School of Music and Music Director of National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan.
Led by Yan, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra has been setting many milestones in Chinese music over the last dozen years or so. On the global front, it has been frequently invited to perform in arts and music festivals, and its artistic accomplishments have been endorsed by music professionals, the media and audiences worldwide. At its home base in Hong Kong, the Orchestra has seen omni-directional growth. Artistically, it has contributed to the Chinese music legacy by perpetuating its history of a thousand years, showcasing the spectrum of regional music on China’s vast territory, and commissioning new works. It has also reached out proactively to the world of Western music to explore new frontiers together–one outstanding example of which is the annual concert series, Music About China, now becoming a hallmark event of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. It has also led the way in instrumental reform with its ‘Eco-Huqin’ series. In terms of education, the Orchestra was the first to initiate the Professional Orchestra Internship scheme through collaboration with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the establishment of the world’s first Chinese orchestral academy, The HKCO Orchestral Academy. In bringing Chinese music to a wider audience, the Orchestra has organized themed festivals based on instrumental types, such as huqin, drums, dizi and xiao, and zheng, etc. On a professional level, the Orchestra has hosted several international symposia on Chinese music, organized the first ever ‘International Conducting Competition for Chinese Music’, which won the enthusiastic support of music institutions in China and other parts of the world, and created a Master’s degree programme in Chinese music conducting at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
Yan is also actively engaged in composition, with many award-winning works. His representative works include the symphonic poem The Sound of Water, Nostalgia for pipa solo, Buddhist music The Weiyang Sect, Qing Lian Yu Yue (‘Cyan Lotus under the Moon’) and Chuan Deng Xu Ming (‘The Passing of the Light’). In the early years of his career, Yan had been the composer and producer of digital music for record releases. The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra’s audio and video releases over the years have been made under his baton. In addition to Chinese music, Yan has also been involved in music of other genres. The professional orchestras he has worked with include the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, China National Symphony Orchestra, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra of Moscow and Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra of China.