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HK Philharmonic Orchestra presents Beethoven's popular Symphony No.9 for Shanghai Expo (with photos)

The prestigious Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) together with internationally renowned vocalists presented Beethoven's popular Symphony No.9 for Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo) this evening (September 4).

Under the baton of the HKPO's Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Edo de Waart, the "Bank of Communications brings to you: Hong Kong Phil in Beethoven 9" concert was held the Oriental Concert Hall of the Shanghai Oriental Art Centre.

As a highlight of the HKSAR cultural programme for Shanghai Expo, the concert was well received with an attendance rate of 90% and a round of applause of over ten minutes.

Symphony No.9 is considered one of the best compositions in the Western classical repertoire and the pinnacle of Beethoven's work. It symbolises universal brotherhood and is frequently performed at public celebrations.

For tonight's concert, the HKPO teamed up with soprano Zhang Liping, mezzo-soprano Liang Ning, tenor Warren Mok, bass-baritone Shen Yang and the Shanghai Opera House Choir. The performance included the universally celebrated final movement "An die Freude (Ode to Joy)".

Maestro de Waart said the concert and musical collaboration signified friendship and fraternity which resonates with the Expo theme, "Better City, Better Life".

"The symphony is regarded as one of the high points reflecting brotherhood and goodness," Maestro de Waart said.

"It is a great opportunity to co-operate with the Shanghai Opera House to play the piece."

Other captivating programmes in the concert were Gabrieli's two famous works for brass choir – "Canzon: Primi Toni" and "Sonata: Piane Forte". It also included the world premiere of newly commissioned work "Rong" by Hong Kong composer Fung Lam. Mr Lam is the youngest Chinese composer to be commissioned by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr Lam studied composition in Britain under renowned classical music composers such as Martin Butler, Michael Finnissy and Michael Zev Gordon.

"'Rong' is a six-minute work divided into various segments," Mr Lam said.

"It provides snapshots of Hong Kong's unique scenes, ranging from birds chirping, nature and technology to spiritual life and people praying and singing."

During the Expo period, 60 events and activities involving some 100 performances and four visual arts exhibitions are being staged by Hong Kong in Shanghai. They showcase the city's cultural diversity, modern lifestyle and strong links to the Mainland and the world.

Other performances in September and October include "The Will to Build (Revival Version)" by Theatre du Pif on September 24 and 25. This will also be the opening programme for Hong Kong Cultural Week of the 12th China Shanghai International Arts Festival. "Danny Yung Experimental Theatre: Flee by Night" by Zuni Icosahedron will be presented from October 16 to 18. Performances during Hong Kong Week from October 18 to 22 include "Spectacular for Expo" by the Hong Kong Police Band; "Cantonese Opera Performances" by Hong Kong Children and Juvenile Chinese Opera Troupe; "Swing for All" and "Contemporary Jazz featuring Ted Lo and Eugene Pao" by the Hong Kong Fringe Club; "My China Heart" by Opera Hong Kong; "Generation Singer-Songwriters Concert" by Hong Kong singer-songwriters and "A Soldier's Story" by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

For full details and ticketing information, please visit the Event Calendar section on Hong Kong's Expo website, www.hkexpo2010.gov.hk.