Music to soothe savage breast

Unfortunately, it looks like Hongkongers will have to miss out on Symphony Under the Stars – one of Hong Kong’s biggest annual events presented by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra – this year as well.

One the orchestra’s signature concerts, the event attracts more than 15,000 people every year since its debut in 2006.

It is a fabulous event for many reasons: it’s free, it’s outdoors next to Victoria Harbour, features award-winning musicians – and best of all, ends with fireworks.

During the sustained protests in the city last year, the orchestra announced that it would postpone the concert “given recent social events and unforeseen circumstances.”

That never happened, as the Covid-19 outbreak soon followed – and it seems like the gathering won’t go ahead this year either.

Themed “Be the Stars,” the concert takes the star as a symbol for each shining person in everyone’s life. As part of a new campaign, Your Starry Moment, audiences were invited to submit photos of their loved ones. The HK Phil has created a collage of these photos and will set it to music as part of the concert.

The concert includes live performances of music by Aaron Copland, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Georges Bizet, Antonio Vivaldi, Claude Debussy, Leonard Bernstein and Tan Dun, to name a few.

Renowned conductor Lio Kuokman will take the podium for this event, curated by creative director Phoebus Chan.

The concert will feature performances by principal horn Jiang Lin, concertmaster Wang Jing, principal clarinet Andrew Simon and principal cello Richard Bamping.

After one musician’s infection with and subsequent recovery from Covid-19, the orchestra has resumed rehearsals and is preparing for performances scheduled for the next two months – all while taking a raft of precautionary measures, including arranging regular Covid-19 testing for staff.

“It was not easy for us during those difficult times. As an orchestra, we are born to be on stage and perform music, and we were longing to make music for our audience,” said its spokesman.

“The HK Phil believes passionately in the power of music as a source of courage, healing, calm and unity. Our mission is to share our passion with people everywhere, not just in the designated venues, but also in other accessible ways.”

Supported by the Swire Group, the concert will be presented on the HK Phil’s website, YouTube channel and Facebook page at 7.30pm on December 12.

(This article was published at The Standard on November 27, 2020: Weekend Glitz: Music to soothe the savage breast )

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