29 June 2016

An Unprecedented Cultural Spectacle
- Hong Kong - Vienna Music Festival -



The Vienna Boys Choir Music Academy Foundation (VBCMAF) today unveiled details of the first ‘Hong Kong - Vienna Music Festival’.

Under the enthusiastic support of the Vienna and Hong Kong officials, VBCMAF collaborates with musicians, education bodies and various sectors from both cities to present an unprecedented cultural spectacle to their audience.  This cultural spectacle will start from 15/7 until 28/8/2016 under the artistic leadership of Jimmy Chiang. 

The 6-week Hong Kong - Vienna Music Festival is a multi-dimensional platform of cultural collaboration. Through a series of concerts, educational workshops, music camps, training tours and different community programmes, the Festival aims to raise the standard of local talents and art administrators, as well as to strengthen the character and image of Hong Kong as a hub of creativity and uniqueness. Vibrant music shall transfuse artistic passion between the two cities. 

More than 40 local musicians will perform on the prestigious stage of Vienna. The Festival will be brought to a grand climax in its finale: more than 250 prominent Viennese and Hong Kong musicians perform Mahler’s Symphony No.8 (nicknamed ‘Symphony of a Thousand’), under the baton of renowned Hong Kong-born conductor Jimmy Chiang. It is NOW or NEVER- a star-studded cast performing Mahler’s symphonic master piece, this Festival will certainly make history! 

The Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major by Gustav Mahler is one of the largest choral works in the classical concert repertoire. Mahler was convinced that his Symphony No. 8 was “the greatest” work he ever created. The sheer instrumental and vocal forces required renders the symphony a work unparalleled in the annals of music, and symbolises the Foundation’s ambition to link the city of music with the pearl of the Orient. 

The evening will also showcase Arnold Schönberg Choir, one of the most sought after and versatile Austrian vocal ensembles founded in 1972, the Vienna Boys Choir as well as a cast of internationally acclaimed soloists, including sopranos Anna Baxter, Yuki Ip, and Louise Kwong; mezzo-sopranos Christina Baader and Samantha Chong; tenor Vincent Schirrmacher; baritone Klemens Sander; and bass-baritone Apollo Wong. 

The Concert will be held at Hong Kong City Hall on 28th of August.  An Open Rehearsal will be held on the 27th of August, offering a fascinating and rare opportunity to see how this magnificent piece of music is shaped and polished by the conductor and the musicians. Conductor Jimmy Chiang will also deliver an introduction of the piece. 

Building Bridges

The opening concert for the Festival is performed by students from the Vienna Boys Choir Music Academy in Hong Kong.  The programme includes special works from Viennese classical pieces to Austrian folk songs.  Guest choirs of different age-levels are invited to perform and to demonstration the bridging power of music over generations and across borders. 

Summer Music Academy

A cross cultural education experience, the Summer Music Academy hopes to enable students to experience the other side of the two cities. Aimed at 8 to 17 year olds, this segment will be held at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), demonstrating hearing, singing, and basic composition techniques by Austrian conductors. With the support of the JK and Ingrid Lee Foundation, 50 students are able to have free spots at the Academy. 

Professional Training Tour

This tour brings local musical education workers to Vienna to experience a different method of music learning and immerses them in unique experiences of music education, so as to contour the future young musicians’ educational paths. 

Hong Kong Week

In one program, east and west are entwined to allow local musicians more opportunities in foreign places and concurrently display the Hong Kong way of music to Vienna. With an unique barrage on your senses, this cross cultural experience is not one to be forgotten. Programmes: Ning Liang and Justin Lavendar will sing in Cantonese Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, conducted by Sharon Choa, alongside Philharmonia APA; nine pianists from the two cities including Colleen Lee, Warren Lee and Raymond Young will present a marathon of music and perform 32 pieces of Beethovan Sonatas; the final performance will be presented by CU Chinese Ensemble.  And what spices up this concert is that, Master Chau Hang, a renowned Chinese painter, has created a painting based on the Cantonese traditional tune “Yu Da Bajiao” (Raindrops Pattering on Plantain Leaves) for auction.  All proceeds will go to the Vienna Boys Choir Music Academy Foundation for the promotion of music education. 

About the Vienna Boys Choir Music Academy Foundation

The Hong Kong - Vienna Music Festival is organized by the Vienna Boys Choir Music Academy Foundation.  The Foundation was launched under the auspices of Dr Claudia Reinprecht, Consul General of Austria and Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chief Secretary of HKSAR.  It aims to cultivating talents with global consciousness and cross-cultural competence, and to build up the ecosystem for  Hong Kong being as a creative hub of Asia.

Festival partners

The Chinese University of Hong Kong is the major partner of the Hong Kong Vienna Music Festival.  The University is offering venues including the Lee Hysan Concert Hall and the Chapel of Chung Chi. The Department of Music of The Chinese University of Hong Kong provides logistics support and offers musical instruments for the participants. 

Others sponsors include the China First Capital Group Limited, Centaline Property, Centaline Charity Fund, JK and Ingrid Lee Foundation, Shun Hing Education and Charity Fund, Dr Alex K Yasumoto, GS Charity Foundation and Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Sha Tin. 

Supporters include the Austrian Consulate General Hong Kong, Advantage Austria, AustroCham, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Berlin), the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Chung Chi College, the Department of Music and Institute of Chinese Studies of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. 

Special thanks to Leisure and Cultural Services Department who sponsors the venue and ticketing service to the concert of Mahler Symphony No. 8, and to K11, the co-organizer of the Press Conference. 

For details of sponsors and supporters, please visit www.festival.vbcmaf.org. 

Hong Kong Vienna Music Festival

“Building Bridges” Opening Concert
15th July 2016 (Fri), 7:30pm, Hong Kong City Hall

Summer Music Academy
18th-23rd, 25th-30th July 2016, 9:30am-4:30pm, the Chinese University of Hong Kong 

Professional Training Tour
31st July – 13th August 2016 

Hong Kong Week
14th – 17th August 2016 

Mahler Symphony No. 8
Open Dress Rehearsal : 27th August 2016 (Sat), 7:30pm, Hong Kong City Hall
Concert : 28th August 2016 (Sun), 7:30pm, Hong Kong City Hall
Tickets are available at Urbtix from 2nd July 2016.

Festival Official Website: www.festival.vbcmaf.org

Please feel free to discover further information about Vienna Boys Choir Music Academy Foundation, Vienna Boys Choir Music Academy and the Vienna Boys Choir at:
Vienna Boys Choir Music Academy Foundation: www.vbcmaf.org
Vienna Boys Choir Music Academy: www.vbcma.com
Vienna Boys Choir: www.wsk.at

Artistic Director Jimmy Chiang, local artists and representatives from different sectors witnessed the birth of Hong Kong Vienna Music Festival
Artistic Director Jimmy Chiang, local artists and representatives from different sectors witnessed the birth of Hong Kong Vienna Music Festival

Prominent HK pianists (Left to Right) Raymond Young, Warren Lee, Colleen Lee will perform in Vienna
Prominent HK pianists (Left to Right) Raymond Young, Warren Lee, Colleen Lee will perform in Vienna

Vienna Boys Choir recorded a special video for the Ceremony.
Vienna Boys Choir recorded a special video for the Ceremony.

Chinese painting master Chau Hang supports the Festival by offering his painting for auction.
Chinese painting master Chau Hang supports the Festival by offering his painting for auction.