Hong Kong Ballet and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra will dazzle in two works – Fauré’s hauntingly beautiful Pelléas et Mélisande, which Fauré wrote as the score for Maurice Maeterlinck’s play of the same name, and Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, with its trademark ebullience and energy. Hong Kong-born pianist Chiyan Wong, praised by Gramophone for his “dazzling virtuosity” and “sincerity of purpose”, will perform Ravel’s iconic Piano Concerto, a work full of flowing melodies and irresistible joy.
The concert runs approximately 75 minutes without an intermission.
Christoph Koncz is rapidly establishing himself internationally as a conductor, having already enjoyed success as a violin soloist, chamber musician and a principal of the Wiener Philharmoniker.
In March 2019 he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss am Rhein, having guest conducted the orchestra the previous summer. He also enjoys a very close relationship with the renowned French period-instrument ensemble Les Musiciens du Louvre, where Marc Minkowski recently appointed him Principal Guest Conductor.
This season he has already made his debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Bern Casino Hall, conducted the Camerata RCO in Schubert and Rossini at the Cartagena Festival, and he returns to the Berlin Philharmonie to conduct the Sinfonie Orchester Berlin in a programme ranging from Handel to Gershwin. He will also conduct four different programmes with Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss am Rhein including works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Johann Strauss II.
Last season Koncz made his Concerto Köln debut at the Cologne Philharmonie and took the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal on tour in Canada with Brahms Symphony No.2. He made his US debut in 2017, conducting the Memphis Symphony in Schumann and also directing them from the violin in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.4.
He made his conducting debut at the 2013 Salzburg Mozartwoche, which was rapidly followed by concerts at prestigious venues including the Berlin, Cologne and Munich Philharmonies, Vienna Konzerthaus and KKL Lucerne, as well as at the Salzburg Festival. Over the last few seasons he has also enjoyed a very close relationship with the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra.
As a violinist, he made his North American debut aged twelve with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal conducted by Charles Dutoit, which led to collaborations with conductors such as Sir Neville Marriner, Dmitry Sitkovetsky and Gábor Takács-Nagy. But even earlier Koncz became famous at the age of nine, when he starred as the child prodigy Kaspar Weiss in The Red Violin, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
In demand as a chamber musician, his musical partners include Leonidas Kavakos, Joshua Bell, Vilde Frang, Renaud Capuçon, Antoine Tamestit, Kim Kashkashian, Gautier Capuçon, Andreas Ottensamer and Rudolf Buchbinder.
Born in 1987 into a family of musicians, Koncz entered the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna at the age of 6. As part of his intensive conducting studies there, he took classes with Mark Stringer as well as masterclasses with Daniel Barenboim and Daniel Harding. He has also conducted the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich as part of David Zinman’s prestigious conducting programme.
UK-based pianist Chiyan Wong has been astonishing audiences with the sincerity and authority of his playing. He is a broad and thoughtful musician with a special interest in the music of Franz Liszt and Ferruccio Busoni. Wong was recently awarded a prestigious prize as one of the most promising young artists to appear at the International Mozarteum Summer Academy and subsequently performed at the Salzburg Festival in 2017.
Wong released his critically-acclaimed debut CD on LINN Records in 2017 which featured Liszt’s operatic transcriptions completed and edited by Wong himself: ‘I have run out of superlatives here as this really is a superb recording’ (Musicweb International). In 2016, he made debuts with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra where he was immediately re-invited for the following season. He recently returned to the Singapore International Piano Festival and performed at Stoller Hall in the International Piano Summer School, Manchester.
Other recent debuts include Hong Kong Arts Festival, Wigmore Hall, International Music Festival in Dinard, France and the 19th Singapore International Piano Festival. Chiyan was invited to return to Hong Kong for a Liszt live broadcast recital sponsored by RTHK.
Born in Hong Kong, Chiyan began his piano studies at six, and then moved to England at 12 to pursue his studies at the Chetham’s School of Music under Norma Fisher. He is an honours graduate of the Royal Academy of Music.
Septime Webre is an internationally recognised ballet director, choreographer, educator and advocate. He joined Hong Kong Ballet as its Artistic Director in July 2017 after 17 years as Artistic Director of The Washington Ballet in Washington DC, US from 1999-2016. Previously he served as Artistic Director of the American Repertory Ballet, based in Princeton, New Jersey, US from 1993-1999. In addition, Webre has served as the Artistic Director of Halcyon, a Washington DC-based foundation, launching an annual international Festival for Creativity in Washington DC in June 2018.
During Webre’s tenure at The Washington Ballet, the institution’s budget grew by 500%, and it enjoyed unprecedented advances in the scope and quality of its work on stage, in the size and reach of its professional school and in the development of several far-reaching community engagement programmes that he founded. Webre also launched an array of artistic initiatives, including The American Experience, which developed great works of literature like The Great Gatsby and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises into full-length ballets.
As a choreographer, Webre’s works appear in the repertoires of ballet companies throughout North America, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Colorado Ballet, Ballet West, Atlanta Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Austin, Ballet Memphis, Milwaukee Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, and many others, and he has worked frequently in theatre as well as opera. His new work for HKB, Romeo + Juliet, set in 1960s Hong Kong, will have its world premiere in June 2021. As a dancer, Webre was featured in solo and principal roles from the classical repertoire as well as in contemporary works by choreographers such as Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor and Merce Cunningham. He has served on the board of Dance/USA and on the juries of a number of international ballet competitions, including those in Varna, Bulgaria, Istanbul, Cape Town, New York and Seoul. Webre's work has received numerous honors, grants and awards. He holds a degree in History/Pre-Law from the University of Texas at Austin and is the seventh son in a large, boisterous Cuban-American family.
©Worldwide Dancer Project
George Balanchine is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. St Petersburg-born Balanchine had both the music and dance of Russia in his blood. Extensive musical training put him on equal grounds in communicating with great composers and enabled him to reduce orchestral scores on the piano, which is an invaluable aid in translating music into dance. Balanchine’s style has been described as neo-classical, de-emphasising plot in ballets and preferring to let “dance be the star of the show”. In his lifetime, he created 465 works, including Serenade as one of the renowned pieces.
photo: George Platt Lynes
BALANCHINE is a Trademark of The George Balanchine Trust
Diana White was born in Chicago, Illinois, US, started dancing at age four and joinedthe Lyric Opera of Chicago Ballet at age fourteen. When she was sixteen, GeorgeBalanchine offered her aSchool of American Balletscholarship andinvited her to jointhe New York City Ballet one year later.During her twenty years performing, shedanced corps de ballet, soloist and principal roles in over fifty Balanchine ballets andin twenty by Jerome Robbins. As arepetiteur, she has staged the works of bothmasters on major ballet companies and schools on six continents.
Set and costume designer YokiLai won Best Make-up and Image Design and Best SetDesign at the 2005 and 2006 Hong Kong Drama Awards, respectively. Internationally,she has worked with Public Broadcasting Service, Princeton University, Great ScottFilms and Broadway theatres in the US,The Haymarket in UK, QueenslandConservatorium Theatre in Australia, Wild Rice in Singapore, Theatre Above inShanghai, Hong Kong Ballet, Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Festival,Chung Ying Theatre, Musica Viva, Opera Hong Kong and City Contemporary DanceCompany. Lai holds a Master’s degree from Yale University and a Bachelor’s degreefrom The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
Ruby Yau majored in theatre lighting technology at The Hong KongAcademy for Performing Arts and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. She is currently a stage lighting freelancer.
BEETHOVEN | Leonore Overture no. 3
LISZT | Les Préludes
FAURÉ | Pelléas et Mélisande Suite excerpts (HKB Special Appearance)*
MOZART | Eine kleine Nachtmusik excerpts (HKB Special Appearance)^
RAVEL | Piano Concerto in G major
* Variations from Emeralds, Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust; Staged by Diana White; Costume Design by Barbara Karinska; Lighting Design: Ruby Yau
^ Choreography by Septime Webre; Costume Design by Yoki Lai; Lighting Design: Ruby Yau