Celebrating Chinese culture in London

The Hong Kong Music Series, a very special arts event taking place in London until July 28, brings together more than 70 of Hong Kong’s best musicians and artists to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The ambitious programme ranges from music by 20th-century British composers Holst, Bridge and Britten to works by Hong Kong composers, including Doming Lam’s setting of three night songs by famous Chinese poet Li Bai.

Wilton’s, the world’s oldest grand music hall, is the atmospheric setting for Hong Kong Episodes, a cinematic account of a virtual day in Hong Kong featuring the breath-taking images of architect Anthony Lai, set to a score by Fung Lam with jazz guitar from Teriver Cheung.

Also at Wilton’s Music Hall, the young and creative Music Lab team presents a triple bill. Music Lab: Fingerman x Beloved Clara x SMASH consists of contrasting new works, including a celebration of Clara Schumann and a mash-up of popular melodies in new guises.

Pureland Foundation founder Bruno Wang says: “We are honoured to support the special 20th-anniversary event as the debut event of the HK Arts Development Council in the UK to introduce London audiences to Hong Kong’s wide-ranging, distinctive and vibrant arts culture.”

The Shaw Theatre is home to more traditionally-inspired works, where Law Wing-fai’s Beyond the Senses follows a contemplative path to enlightenment and aesthetic inspiration, thanks to the spectacular singing of renowned Kunju artist Kong Aiping and the timbres of typical Chinese musical instruments.

Concluding the festival in spectacular fashion, the Richmond Theatre will stage the European premiere of Chan Hing-yan’s chamber opera Datong: The Chinese Utopia, based on the life and dreams of 20th-century scholar Kang Youwei and his pioneering daughter, Kang Tongbi. It takes us from the last days of the Qing Dynasty through to the Cultural Revolution, with a century of Chinese history distilled into three acts.

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