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Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra  Biography
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Biography
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra makes its permanent home in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. It is truly multinational with members drawn from China, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Australia, Israel, Italy, USA and the UK. Between 1989 and 2000 the orchestra's Music Director was David Atherton, who has worked with most of the world's greatest orchestras and has firmly established himself as a superb artist in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. He is now Conductor Laureate and the 2000-01 season welcomes Hong Kong-born conductor, Samuel Wong, as the new Music Director.

As the only fully professional symphony orchestra in Hong Kong, the HKPO maintains a busy schedule, giving over 100 concerts each season, including its regular 28 week subscription series. As well as performing in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the Orchestra also plays at City Hall, Tsuen Wan Town Hall, Sha Tin Town Hall and Tuen Mun Town Hall. Over 150,000 people hear the Orchestra every year.

Equally popular are the family and community concerts, which focus on light classics, the pops concerts at the Hong Kong Coliseum, and the free "Symphony Under the Stars" concert presented by the Provisional Urban Council, who contribute extensively to the funding of the orchestra.

Committed to the promotion of classical music within the community, the Orchestra runs an extensive audience development programme. This includes, in each season, over 10 free student concerts by the full orchestra and more than 40 free visits by the Orchestra's String, Woodwind, Brass and Percussion Ensembles to primary and secondary schools, and schools for the mentally handicapped. As part of its community service efforts, the Orchestra also sends its two ensembles to give free concerts at nearly 30 local hospitals each season. The Orchestra also organizes pre-concert talks, seminars, workshops and newspaper courses as well as publishes books, CDs and video tapes to further music appreciation among students and the general public.

The Friends of the Philharmonic is the "bridge" between the Orchestra and the audience. It furthers the interests of music lovers by encouraging them to participate in a wide range of music-related activities. Aimed at enriching the musical life of local secondary students, the Young Audiences Scheme, launched in 1996, has received enthusiastic support from teachers and students.

The Orchestra also serves as cultural ambassador for Hong Kong. It has toured Singapore, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan and Japan and also participated in the prestigious Osaka Festival in 1983 and the Macau International Festival.

The Philharmonic made its first tour of three major cities in the People's Republic of China in 1986 and the Ministry of Culture invited the Orchestra to Beijing again in 1994. The Orchestra made its highly successful North American début in September 1995, performing in nine cities in the USA and Canada, and recently made another highly successful, landmark tour to Beijing and Shanghai in May 1997.

The Orchestra has also commissioned many works by Chinese composers from Mainland China, Hong Kong and abroad, and each season regularly performs over 14 works by local composers. The Hong Kong Philharmonic’s recording of Tan Dun's Symphony 1997 (Heaven Earth Mankind), directed by the composer himself with Yo-Yo Ma was played at the change of sovereignty and was released worldwide in July 1997.

Under the baton of David Atherton, the Orchestra has also recorded a series of  six CDs for the Internet-based Global Music Network.

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