For immediate release
16 Aug 2023
Hong Kong’s very own star pianist and prizewinner at the 15th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition Colleen Lee adds to her long list of successful collaborations with Hong Kong Sinfonietta, this time presenting the world première of Charles Kwong’s Piano Concerto – written especially for her and the orchestra – under the baton of celebrated German conductor Clemens Schuldt. The concert will take place at 8pm on 1 Sep (Fri) at Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall, with tickets now available on URBTIX.
As an avid believer in the importance of nurturing and promoting homegrown talents, Hong Kong Sinfonietta has been working closely with local composer Charles Kwong since 2014, whose creative output focuses on orchestral music, instrumental compositions for musicians across diverse musical cultures, site-specific music and transdisciplinary works that depart from the paradigm of concert music. Having received wide acclaim for his piece which was performed by the orchestra on tour in Germany and Austria earlier this year, Kwong’s works have also been performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble intercontemporain, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Ensemble of Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra, ensemble recherche etc.
On his new Piano Concerto, Kwong wrote: “The piano, as an instrument, is nearly as versatile as an entire orchestra, and the palette of pianistic writing in its repertoire is often described with analogies to orchestral colours. Indeed, the piano and the orchestra are both musical entities that possess the capacity to conjure a sonic cosmos on their own. The piano concerto, therefore, represents an encounter of two worlds, like two parallel universes interwoven.”
Having recently been appointed Music Director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, German conductor Clemens Schuldt was Chief Conductor of the Munich Chamber Orchestra from 2006 to 2012, and won the prestigious Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London in 2010. In this concert, he will also conduct Brahms’ majestic Symphony No 1, which famously took over 20 years to complete, as well as Weber’s captivating Euryanthe Overture.
Colleen Lee & Hong Kong Sinfonietta
1 Sep 2023 (Fri) | 8pm
Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall
$480, $340, $180
Conductor: Clemens Schuldt
Piano: Colleen Lee
Weber – Euryanthe Overture
Charles Kwong – Piano Concerto (world première)
Commissioned by Hong Kong Sinfonietta
Brahms – Symphony No 1 in C minor, Op 68
- 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)
Clemens Schuldt Conductor
Hailed as one of the most exciting conductors emerging from Germany today, Clemens Schuldt has recently been appointed as Music Director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, a position he is commencing this 2023/2024 season. He is widely praised for his innovative interpretations and deep understanding of music. His knowledge, particularly about Classical and Romantic repertoire, as well as his creativity in including lesser-known and contemporary works in his programmes, are widely acclaimed.
Highlights of the 2023/2024 season include a tour of Germany and eastern Europe with the Bundesjugendorchester and Martynas Levickis, return visit to the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música where he will conduct the season opening concert, as well as collaborations with Copenhagen Philharmonic, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Hallé Orchestra and Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
Other recent highlights with the Munich Chamber Orchestra, where he was Chief Conductor from 2016 to 2022, include a recording of Márton Illés’ Violin Concerto with Patricia Kopatchinskaja, concerts at the Dresdner Musikfestspiele, as well as a Beethoven project with Jazzrausch Bigband at the Isarphilharmonie Munich.
In addition to symphonic work, Schuldt also devotes himself intensively to opera. This season, he will make his début at Opera North conducting Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte. In the 2022/2023 season, he conducted a highly-praised new production of Mozart’s Mitridate, Re di Ponto together with The English Concert at Garsington Opera, and led the revival of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe. He spent two years as Conductor in Residence at the Staatstheater Mainz, where he led new productions of Bellini’s Norma, Gluck’s Armide, Gounod’s Faust and Verdi’s Rigoletto, as well as performances of Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer. In 2019, he made his acclaimed début at the Venice Biennale, conducting George Benjamin’s opera Written on Skin with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI.
Other European orchestras Schuldt has appeared with include the Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatskapelle Weimar, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, SWR Symphony Orchestras, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta and Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. Further afield, he conducted the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Xi’an Symphony Orchestra and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
Soloists with whom Schuldt enjoys working with include Khatia Buniatishvili, Colin Currie, Vilde Frang, Ilya Gringolts, Håkan Hardenberger, Steven Isserlis, Igor Levit, Baiba Skride, Kian Soltani, Christian Tetzlaff, Daniil Trifonov, Alisa Weilerstein and Frank Peter Zimmermann.
Schuldt won the prestigious Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London in 2010, and was the Assistant Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for one year. Born in Bremen, he first studied violin and performed with the Gürzenich Orchester Köln and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. He then completed his conducting studies in Düsseldorf, Vienna and Weimar.
Colleen Lee Piano/HKS Artist Associate 2010-2011
Since winning the 6th Prize at the 15th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition, Colleen Lee has performed extensively throughout Asia, Europe and North America in solo recitals and with orchestras such as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Galacia Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra, China Philharmonic Orchestra, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Sinfonietta and Hong Kong Philharmonic, among others. Lee was the Artist Associate of Hong Kong Sinfonietta in 2010/2011, and has toured with the orchestra in South America, Italy and Taiwan. This season, apart from presenting the world première of Charles Kwong’s Piano Concerto commissioned by Hong Kong Sinfonietta, she will also make multiple appearances alongside leading international artists in the brand new HKS Recital Series. In November, she will perform with the orchestra in Shenzhen at China’s largest outdoor music festival, under the baton of Music Director Emeritus Yip Wing-sie.
Lee has been a featured artist at several international music festivals including the International Chopin Festival in Duszniki and Gdansk in Poland, Assisi International Piano Festival in Italy, Meissen Pianoforte Festival in Germany, International Keyboard Festival in New York, Bowdoin International Music Festival and Musicus Fest in Espoo, Finland. Her performance of the “Magic Piano and Chopin Shorts” animation series at the 42nd Hong Kong Arts Festival had garnered rave review. She was invited to perform twice in the “Beethoven Piano Sonatas Marathon” in Vienna and Hong Kong. She appeared as soloist with the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble in the 2018 Shanghai New Music Week. In 2019, she made her début with London Symphony Orchestra under Simon Rattle.
As an enthusiastic chamber musician, Lee frequently appears in chamber music concerts and has also collaborated with world-famous instrumentalists including violinists Ning Feng and Kang Dong-suk, cellists Trey Lee, Daniel Müller-Schott and Alexander Kniazev, trumpet virtuoso Sergei Nakariakov, and the Shanghai Quartet. She is also a member of the RTHK Chamber Soloists which was formed in 2018.
Born in Hong Kong, Lee started her piano lessons at the age of four. Subsequently she was trained at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) under Eleanor Wong and at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hannover with Arie Vardi. She won the First Prize at the 3rd Seiler International Piano Competition in Kitzingen, Germany, the 2003 Dorothy Mackenzie Artist Recognition Award, Third Place and Critic and Audience Prizes at the 15th International Competition for Piano and Orchestra in Cantú, Italy, and was a prize winner at the 1st Hong Kong International Piano Competition, the Pro Musicis International Award, Gina Bachauer International Artist Competition, Sendai International Music Competition, and the 16th Santander International Piano Competition in Spain.
Lee’s discography includes an all-Chopin album recorded on the Pleyel Piano released by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, and a complete Scarlatti Sonatas album by Naxos. She was also featured on the Hong Kong Sinfonietta DECCA album This is Classical Music 3.
In recognition of Lee’s outstanding achievements in music and in the promotion of arts and culture, she has been awarded Certificate of Commendation by the Secretary of Home Affairs, Commendation for Community Service by the Hong Kong Government and Young Artist Award by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. Currently Lee is the Honorary-Artist-in-Residence of The Education University of Hong Kong and on the piano faculty of HKAPA and Hong Kong Baptist University.
Charles Kwong Composer/HKS Artist Associate 2020-2022
Charles Kwong is a composer from Hong Kong. Approaching music as collective experiential situations, his creative output focuses on orchestral music, instrumental compositions for musicians across diverse musical cultures, site-specific music and transdisciplinary works that depart from the paradigm of concert music.
Kwong’s music has been internationally featured in festivals such as Lucerne Forward, Ultraschall Berlin, Takefu International Music Festival, Ticino Musica, Festival International de Piano La Roque d’Anthéron, Marvão International Music Festival and ManiFeste, among other professional presentations. In recent years, he has been commissioned by ensemble recherche, Lucerne Festival, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble (HKNME) and Hong Kong Arts Festival, among others. Other renowned groups and musicians who have performed Kwong’s music include the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble intercontemporain, Ensemble of Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestra UniMi, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Divertimento Ensemble, Ensemble Offspring, Mario Caroli, Jeanne-Marie Conquer, Tadashi Tajima, Tosiya Suzuki, Colleen Lee, Edward Gardner, Yip Wing-sie, Christoph Poppen and Pierre-André Valade, and among others.
Kwong has developed a long and fruitful collaboration with Hong Kong Sinfonietta since 2014. Their artistic bonding, which included a two-season appointment as the orchestra’s Artist Associate in 2020-2022, has resulted in multiple commissions that have been showcased locally and as well globally in the orchestra’s overseas tours. With his role in Contemporary Music Research for the orchestra since 2015, he has also been contributing ideas to the orchestra’s planning in contemporary repertoire and commissioning.
In 2020-2022, Kwong was engaged by ensemble recherche for the collaborative project “the new recherche” on the subject of gentrification, for which he wrote Migrating Tracks which was performed in Berlin, Munich and Freiburg. For the 60th anniversary of the Hong Kong City Hall in 2022, he wrote the orchestral piece Lullabies for the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Edward Gardner, who hailed the work as “wonderful, having a beautiful, light, airy quality, lots of fantasy and a real underlying wistful beauty which the orchestra have really enjoyed indulging in”. In 2016 at their first ever performance in Hong Kong in the ensemble’s history, the Ensemble intercontemporain performed his sextet Lachrymae.
Kwong’s interest in site specificity and transdisciplinarity of music led him to leadership roles in several extensive productions in Hong Kong. He was the curator of HKNME’s “Our Audible City” (2018-2019) – a year-long project on the subjects of site-specific music, urban soundscape, sound collecting and sound maps – for which he wrote Atlas, a series of site-specific works tailored for six non-concert spaces in Hong Kong. His research in site-specificity of music subsequently led to the conception of Requiem (2020-2021) commissioned by Tai Kwun Contemporary, and Lifelike (2021), commissioned by HKNME for performances at the Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Garden. In 2022, he was commissioned by the Lucerne Festival for Elsewhere, a site-specific composition for performances at the KKL Luzern Concert Hall; Luzerner Zeitung praised the world première of the work for “enchanting the concert hall”. For his research in site specificity, Kwong took artist residencies at the Zurich University of the Arts and at the Tai Kwun Contemporary Artists’ Studio in 2020.
Born in Hong Kong in 1985, Kwong in his formative years studied music at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and King’s College London, before earning his doctorate in Composition from the University of York in 2013 under the supervision of Thomas Simaku. His artistic development has benefitted significantly through the tutelages of Toshio Hosokawa, Francesco Filidei, Mauro Lanza and Oscar Bianchi, among others.
Kwong co-founded PROJECT21st with Sharon Chan in 2019 and has been its Artistic Director since then.Download Press Release