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News Highlights

Huqin master's East-West crossover concert dazzles Shanghai Expo visitors (with photos)

Acclaimed huqin maestro Wong On-yuen dazzled Expo audiences with an East-West crossover concert for Hong Kong Week this afternoon (October 18).

The audience was enchanted by the richness and versatility of Wong's musical mastery and how he has reinvented the image of huqin music with a blend of East and West.

"The Huqin World of Wong On-yuen", staged at the Baosteel Stage (Large) inside Expo Park, is one of a glittering array of events and performances lined up to showcase Hong Kong's creativity during Hong Kong Week.

Joining Maestro Wong were renowned Mainland cellist Dong Jinchi, young Hong Kong erhu master and Maestro Wong's son Sunny Wong, the King's Harmonica Quintet, and celebrated Hong Kong pianist Cheng Wai.

The concert opened with a duo involving Dong Jinchi playing "Jasmine and Bach", an erhu and cello piece specially composed by esteemed Hong Kong composer Yang Baozhi for Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo).

This piece comprised a Bach cello cappella prelude melody and the Chinese folk songs "Jasmine" and "Cuckoo".

Adding to the fascinating hybrid of Occidental and Oriental music and instruments, Maestro Wong combined erhu and harmonica in his collaboration with the King's Harmonica Quintet.

They jointly performed music specially arranged by Dr Mui Kwong-chiu, Music Director of Hong Kong Week opening ceremony: "HK Sketch 2nd melody" and "Moon reflected in the 2nd pond".

Accompanied on piano by Cheng Wai, Maestro Wong amazed the audience with his renowned solo performance of the famous violin work, the Hungarian dance song "Csardas de Vittorio Monti".

This was the same work he played in the early 1990s which prompted the New York Times to remark: "The varieties of colour he produced were enough to make a listener momentarily regard the four strings of Western fiddles as a needless luxury."

The finale saw Maestro Wong join his son and Cheng Wai for a Cantonese music medley with double erhu and piano.

"Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city where you will find the best of the East and West. It is a city of dynamism. The repertoire we put together echoes the characteristic of Asia's world city," said Maestro Wong.

Maestro Wong is one of the most active Chinese music performers in music and recording circles.

Over the years, he has won numerous awards and honours, including the Gold Tripod Award from the Taiwan Government Information Office and the Most Outstanding Asian Artists Award from the Chinese–American Arts Council of New York.

Under the baton of composer Joseph Koo, he will join violist Yao Jue and singer Francis Yip to deliver a new 2010 version of "Beneath the Lion Rock" at the opening ceremony of Hong Kong Week, Shanghai Expo, this Wednesday (October 20).

The five-day Hong Kong week, which lasts until this Friday (October 22), will feature a kaleidoscope of events and activities. For details, please visit www.hkexpo2010.gov.hk.