Concert with Nordic music during Nordic Festival in Hong Kong

October 22 and 23, top local performers such as cellist Chor Kai-hei, pianist Linda Yim and Cong Quartet will present Nordic composers like Jean Sibelius, from Finland, Jón Leifs (Iceland), Carl Nielsen (Denmark), Edvard Grieg (Norway) and Wilhelm Stenhammar (Sweden) at the “An Evening with Nordic Composers” chamber music concerts at Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, in Tsim Sha Tsui, hosted by Hong Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

The concerts are part of the big Nordic Festival taking place at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in October and November. Read more about the event here: https://www.worldfestival.gov.hk/2019/en/about.html. The full program includes many spectacular performances.

About the classical concert, Hong Kong cellist Chor Kai-hei explained to South China Morning Post why the Nordic composers are interesting:

“We’ve yet to invent a time machine, but we do have music, which is like a time machine, where we can go back to different times and places and experience different cultures,” he says. Caleb Wong, a violist in the Cong Quartet, adds:

“Composers often find inspiration in their own lives, including their heritage and natural surroundings, so the Nordic compositions [have a] feel [about them] like the weather, language and all the impressions we have of the Nordic countries and cultures. Nordic music helps to convey a mix of feelings and emotions – including moments of peace and calm, cold and distance – combined with occasional “bloody and muscular moments, just like the Vikings.”

Nordic music helps to convey a mix of feelings and emotions – including moments of peace and calm, cold and distance – combined with occasional “bloody and muscular moments, just like the Vikings,” says Caleb Wong, a violist in the Cong Quartet, standing to the right.

From the program:

The opening night of the Nordic Festival will be an operatic version of Ingmar Bergman’s signature film Autumn Sonata by Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund. Human nature is further examined in Ibsen’s “Ghosts”, a searing, unconventional Norwegian ballet originating from the 19th-century play and reinterpreted for modern times. Icelandic contemporary dance production The Best of Darkness wrestles with our inner vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, Breath and Signmark: Impossible is My Thing, both from Finland, show how movement and music respectively can help to transcend darkness

Moving to a different set of mega challenges, Sweden’s Limits brilliantly deploys the techniques of cirque nouveau to reflect on the global refugee crisis. In addition, Danish multimedia opera-theatre NeoArctic searchingly explores where we and the environment are headed in the age of the Anthropocene. Tackling the future from another angle, Eugenio Barba directs the acclaimed Odin Teatret in The Chronic Life, where the Danish based acting lab delves into the disoriented times of 2031.

Indeed, tomorrow all depends on how we treasure yesterday and what we choose to do today. This is the focus of Arctic Odyssey, a spell-binding encounter with the eclectic arts of indigenous people from diverse regions of the far north. The Sounds of Finland also connects innovation and tradition in a concert centred on the multi-stringed kantele. More music is in store at the Nordic & Hong Kong Band Sound Gala, where Scandinavian and local groups present an upbeat sonic celebration spotlighting women singers. Don’t miss either the Festival’s refreshing Nordic Café series that turns the Hong Kong Cultural Centre’s Studio Theatre into an informal “salon”, complete with appropriate décor. Here, the audience can appreciate chamber music, play-reading, and improvisational theatre, while comfortably enjoying snacks and drinks.

 

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