• 中文

Liya Petrova plays Sibelius Violin Concerto
in Hong Kong début with Hong Kong Sinfonietta

For immediate release
24 May 2024

Acclaimed for her “Gorgeous sound – ripe and silvery, phrasing with majestic breadth” (The Times), Bulgarian violinist Liya Petrova has established herself as one of the brightest rising stars in today’s music scene since winning the Carl Nielsen International Competition in 2016, and has appeared as soloist with prestigious orchestras such as Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. In her Hong Kong début, she will join hands with British conductor Catherine Larsen-Maguire and Hong Kong Sinfonietta to present Sibelius’ timeless Violin Concerto in D minor.

The concert will also feature two exciting Asian premières – Charlotte Bray’s evocative and thought-provoking Where Icebergs Dance Away will open the concert, while Alexander Goehr’s The Master Said, inspired by the ancient philosophies of Confucius and featuring local composer Leon Ko as Narrator, will conclude the evening.

Great Violin Concertos: Liya Petrova Plays Sibelius will take place on 1 Jun (Sat) at 8pm at Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall; tickets are now on sale at URBTIX.

Widely considered the greatest Finnish composer in history, Sibelius wrote only one concerto in his lifetime and it was for the violin; the work has since taken its place firmly as one of the most beloved and recorded violin concertos of all time. A student of great masters such as Augustin Dumay, Renaud Capuçon and Antje Weithaas, Liya Petrova commented on the concerto: “The Sibelius Violin Concerto is a musical piece that feels very close to my nature. Preparing for it requires entering the universe of the concerto which is very intense, dramatic and powerful. Colours are often dark and I love working on finding lots of variety in it. It’s one of the few pieces in which I imagine a landscape in the beginning. I am standing on a field filled with snow and ice, it is snowing a bit and I feel the cold wind on my face, there is a storm ahead of me, I can see it, I have to cross it.”

Monumental British contemporary composer Alexander Goehr, at 91 year old, has enjoyed an illustrious career both composing for major organisations such as the BBC and Royal Opera House, and teaching at leading institutions such as the University of Cambridge, New England Conservatory and Yale University. A student of legendary composer Olivier Messiaen and twice composer-in-residence of Tanglewood Festival, Goehr often studies and illustrates historically important texts in his creations, and The Master Said is no exception.

Completed in 2016 for narrator and chamber orchestra, The Master Said takes inspiration from The Analects – ideologies of the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius – and sets the fascinating text in seven adagio sections as well as a brief allegro, in line with Haydn’s religious masterpiece The Seven Last Words of Christ. In this Asian première, local multi-genre composer Leon Ko will take up the role of Narrator, and present the work in its original Chinese text (in Cantonese) for the first time ever.


Hong Kong Sinfonietta

Great Violin Concertos: Liya Petrova Plays Sibelius

1 Jun 2024 (Saturday) | 8pm
Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall
$480, $340, $200

Conductor: Catherine Larsen-Maguire
Violin: Liya Petrova
Narrator (in Cantonese)*: Leon Ko (HKS Artist Associate 2018-2019)

Charlotte Bray – Where Icebergs Dance Away (2021) (Asian première)
Sibelius – Violin Concerto in D minor, Op 47
Alexander Goehr – The Master Said (2016) (Asian première)
                                             For Narrator & Chamber Orchestra *


  • 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 bookings of 4 or more standard tickets
  • Suitable for 6 years old or above
  • Tickets at URBTIX
  • Tickets online at POPTICKET (no handling fee)


Catherine Larsen-Maguire                                                                Conductor

A consummate artist who combines innate musicality with superlative technique, an astute musical ear and infectious dynamism on the podium, Catherine Larsen-Maguire is a sought-after conductor whose performances have been praised by critics as “charged with recreative energy, flexible tempi, scrupulous balance and interpretative reach” (The Arts Desk) and “difficult to think of a more committed, deeply involved and precise direction than that of Larsen-Maguire” (Scherzo). Particularly in demand for the clarity she brings to the romantic British repertoire, she remains supremely versatile, equally at home with Haydn, Brahms, Elgar or Mahler as with works by the composers of today.

Larsen-Maguire has in recent years conducted orchestras including the London Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, Orquesta de Extremadura, RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Genève, Göttinger Symphonieorchester, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Colombia and Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco. The closeness of the relationships she forms with orchestras and their audiences is reflected in the frequency of re-invitations; the 2023/2024 season saw returns to the Mecklenburgische Staatskapelle, Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa and Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM, as well as débuts with the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie, Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra and Orchestre de Chambre Nouvelle-Aquitaine. She has successfully worked with a diverse array of soloists in recent seasons including Carolin Widmann, Edgar Moreau, Adam Walker, Sean Shibe, Jean Rondeau, Lucas and Arthur Jussen, Guy Johnston and Sarah Wegener.

Embracing the challenges of contemporary music and fearless about the complexity of a new score, Larsen-Maguire also works closely with living composers and has given several world and national premières of works of composers including Alexander Goehr, Cathy Milliken, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Gordon Kampe, James MacMillan and Joey Roukens, and has collaborated with contemporary ensembles including Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Ensemble Resonanz, Ensemble Ascolta and Ensemble 10/10 of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

With a passion for mentoring the next generation of musicians, Larsen-Maguire places great emphasis on working with young people, both as conductor and educator. In 2023, following a highly successful series of concerts which was lauded across the Scottish press, she was appointed the first ever Music Director of the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland for the period 2024-2026.

Born in Manchester and now based in Berlin, Larsen-Maguire read Music at Cambridge University, followed by studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Karajan Academy in Berlin. She turned her focus exclusively to conducting in 2012 following a successful career as a bassoonist, which included 10 years as Principal at the Komische Oper Berlin.


Liya Petrova                                                                                      Violin

Liya Petrova was revealed to the international scene in 2016 when she took First Prize at the Carl Nielsen International Competition in Denmark, chaired by Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider. Two years later, she recorded the first concertos of Nielsen and Prokofiev with the Odense Symphony Orchestra and Estonian conductor Kristiina Poska for Orchid Classics. This first album earned her international acclaim from the press: London’s The Sunday Times admired her “gorgeous sound – ripe and silvery, phrasing with majestic breadth”. Pizzicato in Germany also qualified her sound as “silvery and pure”, while Gramophone praised her “exceptional tonal variety” in “a marvellous disc”. The Strad was impressed by her “natural virtuosity” while Classical Music Magazine found her interpretation of the Nielsen concerto “staggeringly good” and “intensely lyrical”.

As soloist, Petrova has performed with orchestras such as the Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen, Staatskapelle Weimar, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Brussels Philharmonic, Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock, Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Sinfonia Varsovia and Odense Symphony Orchestra, with such leading conductors as Elim Chan, Stanislav Kochanovsky, Duncan Ward, Philippe Herreweghe, Krzysztof Penderecki, Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider, Marzena Diakun, Alexander Liebreich, Mihhail Gerts, Kristiina Poska, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Xian Zhang, Ariane Matiakh, Riccardo Minasi, Christopher Warren-Green, Michel Tabachnik and Jesús López Cobos.

Petrova plays chamber music regularly with Tchaikovsky Competition winner Alexandre Kantorow, and has performed with many wonderful musicians like Beatrice Rana, Emmanuel Pahud, Pablo Ferrández, Martha Argerich, Yuri Bashmet, Mischa Maisky, Renaud Capuçon, Augustin Dumay, James Ehnes, Nicholas Angelich, Frank Braley, Yuja Wang, Gérard Caussé, Antoine Tamestit, Bruno Philippe, Aurélien Pascal and Gautier Capuçon. She is a regular guest of international music festivals like the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rheingau Musik Festival, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival, La Folle Journée, Festival International de La Roque d’Anthéron and Rencontres Musicales d’Evian.

Petrova has been recording for the French label Mirare since 2020. In 2023. she presented her latest album Momentum 1, featuring the Walton Violin Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Duncan Ward and the Respighi Violin Sonata with pianist Adam Laloum. Her two previous albums on Mirare were a Beethoven-Barber-Britten recital album with pianist Boris Kusnezow in 2020, followed by the Beethoven Violin Concerto and Mozart’s rarely performed K271 concerto, known as No 7, with Jean-Jacques Kantorow and Sinfonia Varsovia the following year. All of her albums received unanimous praises from critics worldwide.

Petrova was born in Bulgaria into a family of musicians and studied with Augustin Dumay at Brussels’ Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, Antje Weithaas at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin and Renaud Capuçon at the Haute École de Musique in Lausanne. She now lives in Paris.

Petrova plays the magnificent 1742 “Rovelli” Guarnerius del Gesù thanks to the support of her generous sponsor.


Leon Ko                                                         Narrator/HKS Artist Associate (2018-2019)

Leon Ko received a master’s degree in Musical Theatre Writing from New York University. His musical Heading East won a Richard Rodgers Development Award in the US.  His musical Takeaway premiered at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in London in 2011. He has won 10 Best Music awards at the Hong Kong Drama Awards for his Cantonese musicals including The Good Person of Szechwan, Field of Dreams, The Passage Beyond, Sing Out, The Woman in Kenzo and The Impossible Trial.

Ko was the Musical Director of Jacky Cheung’s 2004 world tour of Snow, Wolf, Lake. He wrote new music for the classic Cantonese operas Princess Chang-ping (2006), The Reincarnation of the Red Plum Blossom (2014) and Shade of Butterfly and Red Pear Blossom (2017). He wrote music for the play The Liaisons which was subsequently staged in Hong Kong and Shanghai. He collaborated with Yip Wing-sie and Hong Kong Sinfonietta in The Passage Beyond In Concert in 2014 and 2016. He was Artistic and Musical Director of Cities of Light for the 2022 French May Arts Festival. His musical I Am What I Am was premiered in Guangzhou and Hong Kong in 2024.

Ko’s music in the film Perhaps Love garnered him a Golden Horse Award in Taiwan and a Hong Kong Film Award. He won Best Original Song at the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards for the title song in the movie The Last Tycoon. He received an ASCAP Screen Music Award for the movie Monster Hunt 2 in the US. He was Hong Kong Sinfonietta’s Artist Associate from 2018-2019 and together they presented The Amazing Filmphony, a concert of his film music and songs.

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