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Clarinettist Gilad Harel and pianist Alexander Ullman
début with Hong Kong Sinfonietta

For immediate release
18 October 2021

This Autumn, Hong Kong Sinfonietta and Premiere Performances of Hong Kong (Premiere Performances) are delighted to continue their collaboration in bringing international artists to Hong Kong, this time featuring Israeli clarinettist Gilad Harel and British pianist Alexander Ullman, both of whom will be making their début with Hong Kong Sinfonietta in concert plus giving a recital for Premiere Performances. Audience members can enjoy a 20% off discount when purchasing tickets to both the concert and the recital of the same artist in the same transaction at URBTIX.

Hailed as one of the leading clarinettists of this generation, Gilad Harel has impressed audiences around the world with his “breathtaking virtuosity” and “phenomenal capabilities” (Haaretz), and has worked with some of the most illustrious composers of this century such as Elliott Carter, Salvatore Sciarrino and Tristan Murail. In this visit to Hong Kong, he will play Mozart’s timeless and well-loved Clarinet Concerto, as well as Klezmer’s Smile by Sergei Abir (world première) in his début with Hong Kong Sinfonietta under the baton of Jason Lai (HKS Artist Associate 2009-2011) on 23 Oct (Sat), in a programme that will also feature Dvořák’s joyous Symphony No 8. He will also be giving a recital on 20 Oct (Wed) with pianist Rachel Cheung, organised by Premiere Performances, where he will begin with some classic repertoire by Debussy, Saint-Saëns, Schumann and Mozart, and end with a stunning display of his prowess in Klezmer music.

British rising star pianist Alexander Ullman is rapidly building a distinguished international profile, having won both the International Franz Liszt Piano Competitions in Budapest (2011) and Utrecht (2017), and performed at renowned venues such as London’s Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus and Kennedy Center. Under the baton of Swedish conductor Ola Rudner, he brings Rachmaninov’s stunning Piano Concerto No 3 to his début with Hong Kong Sinfonietta on 20 Nov (Sat) – a programme which also includes Brahms’s enchanting Symphony No 4 and Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten. On 18 Nov (Thu), he will play sonatas by Haydn, Beethoven and Liszt in recital, again organised by Premiere Performances.


Disease Prevention Measures

  • Audience members will need to go through temperature checks upon entering the performance venue. Those with fever symptoms will be denied entry and should seek immediate medical advice.
  • Audience members must wear their own masks inside the performance venue.
  • To comply with the reduced capacity and social distancing regulations of the performance venue, special seating arrangements are in place. Please sit in your assigned seats.


Hong Kong Sinfonietta Concerts

Mozart Clarinet Concerto

23 October 2021 (Saturday) 7:30pm
HK City Hall Concert Hall
$420, $280, $160 (Tickets at URBTIX)

Conductor: Jason Lai (HKS Artist Associate 2009-2011)
Clarinet: Gilad Harel

Mozart – La Clemenza di Tito Overture, K621
Mozart – Clarinet Concerto in A, K622
Sergei Abir – Klezmer’s Smile (world première)
                             Caprice on traditional tunes for clarinet & chamber orchestra specially composed for Gilad Harel
Dvořák – Symphony No 8 in G, Op 88


Great Piano Concertos: Alexander Ullman Plays Rachmaninov No 3

20 November 2021 (Saturday) 7:30pm
HK City Hall Concert Hall
$420, $280, $160 (Tickets at URBTIX)

Conductor: Ola Rudner
Piano: Alexander Ullman

Arvo Pärt – Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten (1977/1980)
Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No 3 in D minor, Op 30
Brahms – Symphony No 4 in E minor, Op 98



Premiere Performances Recitals

Gilad Harel: A Clarinet Rhapsody

20 October 2021 (Wednesday) 7:30pm
HK City Hall Concert Hall
$480, $320, $180 (Tickets at URBTIX)

Clarinet: Gilad Harel
Piano: Rachel Cheung

Debussy – Première Rhapsodie
Saint-Saën – Clarinet Sonata, Op 167
Schumann – Fantasiestücke, Op 73
Mozart – Violin Sonata No.32 in B Flat, K.454 (arr. for clarinet by Gilad Harel)
Harel/Tarras – Klezmer Medley


Alexander Ullman: 3 Sonatas

18 November 2021 (Thursday) 7:30pm
HK City Hall Concert Hall
$480, $320, $180 (Tickets at URBTIX)

Piano: Alexander Ullman

Haydn – Sonata in G, Hob XVI:40
Beethoven – Sonata No 21 in C, Op 53, “Waldstein”
Liszt – Sonata in B minor, S178


  • Enjoy 20% off when purchasing tickets for both Hong Kong Sinfonietta’s concert and Premiere Performances’ recital of the same artist in the same transaction at URBTIX.
  • Half-price tickets available for full-time students, senior citizens, people with disabilities and their minder, and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients
  • 10% discount for group booking of 4 or more standard tickets
  • Note: Discounts cannot be used in conjunction of other discounts
  • Suitable for 6 years old or above


Gilad Harel                                                                                                                  Clarinet

When Israeli clarinettist Gilad Harel first started his classical clarinet training, he got two tapes as a gift – one of Benny Goodman, the other of Giora Feidman. Since then, Gilad Harel has continuously combined all genres throughout his career – Mozart with Klezmer, Klezmer with swing, contemporary music with folk. His programmes are adventurous, fresh and exhilarating.

Harel performs regularly with German cabaret singer Ute Lemper. He played as a soloist with different orchestras around the world – the Geneva Chamber Orchestra, Geneva Camerata, Torino Philharmonic Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan Sinfonietta, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra and Israel Sinfonietta. He has collaborated with mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital at the Taipei International Festival of Arts, created a unique concert of Klezmer music with electronics which was performed at the Paris Centquatre and the Comédie de Genève, played at the Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków with a band playing Cuban-Klezmer music, and recently created a programme of Dixieland Klezmer.

After finishing his studies at the Paris Conservatory and Juilliard School, Harel remained in New York and worked with some of the leading composers of this century – Elliott Carter, Salvatore Sciarrino, John Zorn, Tristan Murail, Tania León and Milton Babbitt, to name a few. Since returning to his homeland, Harel has given over 200 premières of works newly written. He also plays in theatre shows for the leading theatre houses in Israel, and appears on recording labels such as the Tzadik, Albany and Nonesuch records, as well as Soupir Editions and New Focus Recordings.

Harel is a faculty member at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv. He gives masterclasses and Klezmer workshops around the world.


Jason Lai                                                                                                       Conductor/HKS Artist Associate 2009-2011

Jason Lai is the Principal Conductor at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestra of the Swan, and former Associate Conductor of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Sinfonietta, where he was also HKS Artist Associate from 2009 to 2011. He has been a prominent figure in Singapore’s musical life since his arrival in 2010, while also actively giving international masterclasses in Europe and China. He has guest conducted the New Japan Philharmonic, Podlasie Opera Philharmonic in Poland, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Macao Orchestra.

Intent on broadening the appeal of classical music to audiences who would not normally think of going into a concert hall, Lai is also building a unique reputation as a communicator with mass appeal through his television appearances in both the UK and Asia.  He has frequently appeared on BBC television as a judge in both the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition and the classical talent show Classical Star. He reached his widest audience when, as a conducting mentor in the series Maestro, his celebrity student, the popular comedienne Sue Perkins, won with a nail-biting final in front of the BBC Concert Orchestra and a live studio audience. Other BBC television appearances included How a Choir Works and The Culture Show.  Lai also starred in Clash for the children’s television channel, CBBC.

Lai has continued with his television work since settling in Singapore. He was presenter and conductor for Project Symphony, an eight-part series for OKTO where he was filmed setting up a community orchestra.  He has been heavily involved in filming for a BBC series Heart of Asia which explores the contemporary arts and culture scene in Thailand, Indonesia, Korea and the Philippines, and a further series for BBC World called Tales from Modern China.

Lai’s roots lie in Hong Kong but he was born in the UK and was a pupil at the prestigious specialist music school in Manchester, Chetham’s, where he studied cello.  At Oxford University he studied both cello and composition, and went on to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where he was awarded a Fellowship in Conducting.

Despite having toured as a cellist with the Allegri String Quartet and having been a finalist in the BBC Young Composers Award, Lai gravitated increasingly towards conducting after he won the BBC Young Conductors Workshop in 2002.  This led to his appointment as Assistant Conductor to the BBC Philharmonic with whom he made his BBC Proms début in 2003.

Education is an important part of Lai’s work in Singapore.  At the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, he trains the next generation of conductors, many of whom have had many successes both at home and abroad, and with the SSO he spearheaded the education and outreach programme, helping the orchestra reach new audiences notably through his Discovering Music and Children’s concerts.


Alexander Ullman                                                                                                                  Piano

Praised for his subtle interpretations and refined technical mastery, British pianist Alexander Ullman has impressed audiences and critics worldwide with his deep understanding of the scores he interprets, his elegant touch and crystalline phrasing.

Having come to international attention since winning the 2011 Franz Liszt International Piano Competition in Budapest and 2017 International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht, Ullman was represented by the Young Classical Artists Trust from 2014 to 2017, and has appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Budapest Radio Orchestra and Korean Symphony Orchestra, as well as the New Jersey, Fort Worth and Montreal symphonies, working with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Giancarlo Guerrero, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Valentin Uryupin and Cristian Măcelaru.

Ullman has performed at London’s Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Kimmel Center, Kennedy Center, Seoul Arts Center, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, and has been featured in the Nottingham and Oxford international piano series, on BBC Radio 3, France Musique and MDR Klassik. Chamber music highlights include performances at the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Pablo Casals Festival in Prades and La Jolla Summerfest with performers such as the Dover Quartet, violinists Barnabás Kelemen and Aleksey Semenenko, and cellist Michael Petrov. In the 2017/2018 season, he closed the Lille Piano(s) Festival with Orchestre de Picardie under Jean-Claude Casadesus.

Recent highlights include performances with the National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra in Beijing under Markus Stenz, Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona under Josep Vicent, as well as his débuts at the Lucerne Piano Festival and Montreal Chamber Music Festival. He also made his début with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and performed recitals in Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Georgia, Mexico, Korea and his native UK.

The 2021/2022 season sees his evening recital début at Wigmore Hall and débuts with Münchner Symphoniker under Joseph Bastian and Hong Kong Sinfonietta under Ola Rudner. He also returns to the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Klavierfestival Ruhr, and performs a recital for Premiere Performances Hong Kong.

In 2019, Ullman’s first album on Rubicon, featuring Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite, Prokofiev’s Six Pieces from Cinderella, as well as Stravinsky’s Petrushka and Firebird suites, received rave reviews. In 2022, the label will release a second album featuring Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 1 and 2 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Litton, coupled with the composer’s Piano Sonata in B minor.

Born in London in 1991, Ullman studied at the Purcell School, the Curtis Institute and the Royal College of Music, completing his Artist Diploma as the Benjamin Britten Piano Fellow in 2017 (awarded by the Philip Loubser Foundation). His teachers have included William Fong, Leon Fleisher, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Robert McDonald, Dmitri Alexeev, Ian Jones and Elisso Virsaladze.



Ola Rudner                                                                                                                   Conductor

Swedish conductor Ola Rudner started his career as a high-profile violinist, having been a prizewinner of the Paganini Competition, the assistant of the legendary Sandor Vègh, and concertmaster of various orchestras such as the Camerata Salzburg, Volksoper Wien and Wiener Symphoniker. In 1995, he founded the Philharmonia Wien, and from 2001-2003, he was the Chief Conductor of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in Australia. He was Chief Conductor of the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento in 2003-2006, and the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen from 2008-2016.

Since 1997, Rudner has conducted all the major Australian orchestras – the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the orchestras of Melbourne, Queensland, Tasmania, Adelaide and Perth – while also having conducted most of the major orchestras in Scandinavia. Other orchestras he has worked with include the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, SWR Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, Deutschen Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Wiener Symphoniker, Bremen Philharmonic, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Fondazione Arena di Verona, Orchestra Sinfonica di Torino della RAI, Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma, Orchestra del Teatro la Fenice, Orchestra del Teatro Massimo Bellini di Catania, Orchestra Filarmonica Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos etc.

Following his appointment as Chief Conductor of the Württembergische Philharmonie, he transformed the orchestra into one of Germany’s top regional orchestras, regularly taking the orchestra on tour to Spain, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland and Italy, to halls like the Vienna Musikverein, Liszt Academy Budapest, Tonhalle Zürich, KKL Luzern, Palau de la Música de València and Sala Verdi Milano.

In recent years, he enjoyed highly successful collaborations with Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Arctic Philharmonic, Royal Swedish Opera, Polish National Radio Orchestra Katowice, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Chile and others. The 2021/2022 season includes returning to Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Osaka Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Tonkünstler Orchestra. Since 2010, he has regularly toured in Japan with the Orchestra of the Volksoper Wien.

Rudner is also an important opera conductor regularly invited to the opera houses of Australia, Austria, Sweden and Italy. In Salzburg, he conducted Carmen, followed by Don Pasquale and Il Barbiere di Siviglia. His repertoire includes Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Così Fan Tutte, The Marriage of Figaro, La Clemenza di Tito and Idomeneo, Beethoven’s Fidelio, Bizet’s Carmen and Verdi’s Il Trovatore and La Traviata, as well as operettas by Offenbach, Strauss, Lehár and Kalman. In 2019, he conducted a successful series of Donizetti’s L‘Elisir d‘Amore in Verona.

He has recorded for BIS Records, Harmonia Mundi, ABC Classics, Camerata Tokyo and Amadeus. With the Württembergische Philharmonie, he has recorded Romantische Ouvertüren, Mendelssohn’s Third, Fourth and Fifth symphonies, and works by Grieg (Holberg suite) and Lars Erik Larsson (Pastoral Suite) for ARS Productions. For Antes Edition, he recorded Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suites. For the CPO label, he made a celebrated first recording of the two symphonies by Giovanni Sgambati, Italy’s forgotten Romantic composer.

Rudner has an extensive repertoire ranging from Bach to contemporary composers like Ferran Cruixent and compatriot Rolf Martinsson, who dedicated a piece to Rudner and his orchestra. His special attention concerns the interpretation of the Classical repertoire from Haydn to Brahms and Bruckner, for which he has received great critical acclaim.

Rudner is the recipient of the order of merit for services rendered to the Republic of Austria. He also received the Centenary Medal for his outstanding musical work in Australia.

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Amanda Mok
Senior Marketing & Development Manager, Hong Kong Sinfonietta
Email: amanda.mok@hksinfonietta.org
Direct Line: +852 3607 2328