The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra announces its 45th Professional Season

Author: Dutch Chamber of Commerce

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) and its Music Director Jaap van Zweden today announced its 2018/19 season, which marks the orchestra’s 45th professional season, with a line-up of 38 programmes with no less than 20 premieres, presenting Hong Kong debuts of great stars such as Michel Camilo, Alexandre Desplat, Max Richter and more. 

•  HK Phil’s 45th – the three most recent Artistic/Music Directors of the HK Phil – Jaap van Zweden, Edo de Waart and David Atherton, together with HK Phil’s Principal Guest Conductor Yu Long, celebrate the 45th anniversary of the HK Phil
•  Highlights of programmes conducted by Music Director Jaap van Zweden
•  Selections of great Conductors and Soloists – Leonard Slatkin, Osmo Vänskä, Joshua Bell, Khatia Buniatishvili, Michel Camilo, Augustin Hadelich, Leila Josefowicz, Evgeny Kissin, Gil Shaham and more
•  HK Phil Principals and HK artists in the season – Lin Jiang, Jing Wang, Rachel Cheung, Wong Chun-wai, Austin Yip, Piano Duo Ping and Ting and Hong Kong Philharmonic Chorus
•  New series introduced

HK Phil’s 45th 
To celebrate the 45th professional season of the finest music-making, the orchestra’s current Music Director Jaap van ZwedenPrincipal Guest Conductor Yu Long, and former Music Director David Atherton and Artistic Director Edo de Waart, each of whom marked important milestones in the development of the HK Phil, will conduct the orchestra, presenting this special series. 

The season opening concerts feature Jaap van Zweden and the visionary star violinist Leila Josefowicz, presenting two Russian masterpieces – Stravinsky’s fierce Violin Concerto and Rachmaninov’s romantically beautiful Symphony no. 2 (31 August & 1 September 2018). 

Former Artistic Director Edo de Waart once again leads the orchestra in Brahms’s delightful Symphony no. 2. In the same programme, Timothy McAllister, one of today’s foremost saxophonists, will perform the Saxophone Concerto by Pulitzer-Prize and Grammy-award winning composer John Adams, for whom de Waart is a keen advocate (14 & 15 September 2018). 

HK Phil’s Conductor Laureate David Atherton will be conducting masterpieces by three of his native British composers, including The Planets Suite by Holst, with the Ladies of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Chorus. He will be joined by Grammy-winning and phenomenal violin talent Augustin Hadelich in Britten’s Violin Concerto (7 & 8 June 2019). 

HK Phil’s Principal Guest Conductor Yu Long, together with German cellist Alban Gerhardt, who returns after a highly acclaimed performance in 2016, will bring Barber’s expressive Cello Concerto to the stage. The second half of the concert will take an exotic turn with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, a musical re-telling of the beguiling stories The Arabian Nights (14 & 15 December 2018).  

Jaap! And more from Jaap 
In this season, Music Director Jaap van Zweden will be conducting TEN exciting concert programmes with the HK Phil.  


After the season-opening with Leila Josefowicz (31 August & 1 September 2018) will come a programme featuring one of the most distinguished violinists of our time, Joshua Bell, who returns to the HK Phil with Sibelius’s great Violin Concerto after 11 years. Jaap van Zweden concludes the concert with one of Mozart’s most popular symphonies, Symphony no. 41, nicknamed Jupiter, which is full of radiance and solemnity (7 & 8 September 2018).


Maestro van Zweden will again conduct a shimmering all-Mozart programme including Symphony no. 1 which Mozart composed at the age of eight, and Symphony no. 40, which is arguably the most popular of all of Mozart’s forty-one symphonies. The programme will also feature the HK Phil’s Principal Horn, Jiang Lin, in Mozart’s Horn Concerto no. 4 (19 & 20 April 2019).  


Apart from classic repertoire, this season sees no less than 20 regional premieres including John Corigliano’s Symphony no. 1, generated by feelings of loss, anger and frustration. Maestro van Zweden will introduce this to the Hong Kong audience in a concert which also includes the world premiere of an HK Phil commission from local composer Wong Chun-wai, as well as Hong Kong pianist Rachel Cheung in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G (10 & 11 May 2019).


Mahler $200. Acclaimed as “A Great Mahler Interpreter” by the D Magazine, Jaap van Zweden will be conducting Mahler’s Symphony no. 9 (16 & 17 November 2018) and Symphony no. 7 (26 & 27 April 2019). All tickets for these two programmes will be available at a uniform price of HK$200 as a new special project in the milestone of our 45th professional season.

Maestro van Zweden will be continuing the Mahler cycle with Mahler Symphony no. 2, Resurrection. This shattering work of genius is approximately 90 minutes long and will feature soprano Ying Fang, mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, the Netherlands Radio Choir and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Chorus(17 & 18 May 2019).

Jaap will also conduct many great symphonies by other composers, including Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 4 (19 & 20 October 2018); and Bruckner’s Symphony no. 7 (3 & 4 May 2019).

Swire Symphony Under The Stars. Maestro van Zweden will return to the podium at the Central Harbourfront and conduct our biggest annual outdoor symphonic event, Swire Symphony Under The Stars. Feel the power of Jaap van Zweden next to the spectacular harbour view of Hong Kong (24 November 2018).

Conductors and Soloists in the Spotlight 
In its 45th anniversary season, the HK Phil is delighted to welcome many celebrated international guest conductors and soloists to our stage. 

Guest Conductors 
Internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin is praised for his versatility and his excellent performances of iconic American works. He will conduct the orchestra in signature pieces from several leading American composers of the last century. Starting with the Southeast Asian premiere of Rouse’s sombre yet fierce The Infernal Machine, followed by Barber’s emotionally-charged Adagio for Strings and Bernstein’s hopeful Chichester Psalms with the Eton College Chapel Choir. The concert concludes with Tchaikovsky’s magnificent Symphony no. 5, a work which speaks directly to the heart through its colourful orchestration (5 & 6 April 2019). 

Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä, who won a Grammy Award in 2014 for “Best Orchestral Performance” for one of his Sibelius albums, will lead the HK Phil on a Finnish journey, with Sibelius Finlandia as the concert opener, and Symphony no. 2 by the same composer to conclude the concert (28 & 29 June 2019).  

American-Canadian violinist Leila Josefowicz is famed for her in-depth understanding of 20th century and contemporary music. She plays contemporary music almost exclusively, but Stravinsky is one of the few exceptions to that. In the season opening concerts, she will play Stravinsky’s fierce Violin Concertounder the baton of Jaap van Zweden (31 August & 1 September 2018). Also with Maestro van Zweden will be Joshua Bell, one of the most prominent violinists of our time and widely acclaimed for his exuberant technique and imaginative playing. He will return to the HK Phil with Sibelius’s great Violin Concerto (7 & 8 September 2018).   

Grammy-winning and phenomenal violin talent Augustin Hadelich will return to our stage with HK Phil’s Conductor Laureate David Atherton in Britten’s Violin Concerto, one of the major violin concertos of the post-war years (7 & 8 June 2019). Superstar violinist Gil Shaham’s flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit has solidified his renown as an American master. In a Czech-themed evening, Gil Shaham returns to perform Dvořák’s Violin Concerto under the baton of Yu Long (21 & 22 June 2019). 

Evgeny Kissin came to international attention in 1984 when, at the age of twelve, he performed Chopin’s Piano Concertos 1 and 2 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. The legendary pianist will be playing Liszt’s spectacular Piano Concerto no. 1 with conductor Andris Poga (5 December 2018 - one performance only). 

Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, who has swept the globe with her fiery musicianship, will be on the stage together with the HK Phil under the baton of Jaap van Zweden, in one of Mozart’s most popular and influential Piano Concerto no. 20 (3 & 4 May 2019). 

Magnus Lindberg's Clarinet Concerto, written for Kari Kriikku, has received more than 100 performances since its premiere in 2002. The piece, which is lyrical, expressive and colourfully orchestrated, is a marvellous vehicle to showcase the amazing ability of virtuoso clarinettist Kari Kriikku (28 & 29 June 2019). 

The much-loved Broadway diva Lea Salonga will return to Hong Kong. Apart from “The Human Heart” from the Broadway Musical Once On This Island, Lea will also sing songs from popular musicals (such as Miss Saigon), Disney movies (such as Frozen) and more (8 & 9 February 2019). 

Hong Kong Talents
In this 45th anniversary season, the HK Phil is excited to announce the performance of two works by two Hong Kong composers. The HK Phil’s commissionfrom local composer Wong Chun-wai will have its world premiere, conducted by Music Director Jaap van Zweden. In the same programme, Hong Kong pianist Rachel Cheung, finalist and Audience Award winner at the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, showcases her poetic musicianship and compelling music-making in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. This programme is a testament to the vital role young musicians play in Hong Kong’s classical music scene (10 & 11 May 2019). 

Austin Yip’s Metamorphosis, which was one of the four commissioned pieces in the Hong Kong Composer Showcase 2017, will be performed by the HK Phil in its mainstage programme conducted by Huang Yi (28 & 29 September 2018). 

In a programme that features innovative portrayals of dreams by French and Japanese composers, Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu’s double piano concerto  Quotation of Dream– brings together conductor Jun Märkl and Piano Duo Ping and Ting of twin sisters Lok-ping and Lok-ting Chau, laureates of ARD International Music Competition renowned for their fine musicality and fascinating synchronicity. HK Phil’s Principal Oboe Michael Wilson will perform Takashi Yoshimatsu’s Dream Colored Mobile II, which is also having its premiere in China (24 & 25 May 2019).    

From the ranks of the HK Phil, our own Concertmaster Jing Wang will perform Brahms’ beautiful Violin Concerto (19 & 20 October 2018), while Principal Horn Lin Jiang is featured in Mozart’s irresistible Horn Concerto no. 4 (19 & 20 April 2019), both with Music Director Jaap van Zweden. Other HK Phil Principal players will also shine in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, with returning conductor David Stern (11 January 2019, one performance only). 

More Programmes to Anticipate 

“In this exciting new season, the HK Phil is proud to introduce two new series with the intention of inspiring audiences to discover different aspects of orchestral music”, said Fung Lam, Director of Artistic Planning of the HK Phil. 

Discover Series
In the Discover Series, the HK Phil will be moving from the Hong Kong Cultural Centre to Tsuen Wan Town Hall and Sha Tin Town Hall to reach out to a wider audience, and to inspire them to discover some different aspects of orchestral music. The HK Phil and its audience will solve a murder mystery about the killing of a composer in Nathaniel Stookey’s The Composer is Dead!, which is a modern-day Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. The programme also features other detective-themed music, such as the Pink Panther and different Sherlock soundtracks (21 & 22 September 2018). 

Conductor Benjamin Bayl will return to the HK Phil and, along with 19-year-old Dutch recorder player Lucie Horsch, explore a series of Baroque music for chamber orchestra (9 & 10 November 2018). There will also be a Halloween-themed concert conducted by Lio Kuok-man and hosted by Harry Wong (aka Harry Goh Goh), to share the love and laughter of orchestral music (27 & 28 October 2018).    

Silver Screen Series
A gripping movie always comes with a good film score. In the Silver Screen Series, apart from the movies in concert format which have proved to be popular, the HK Phil is thrilled to welcome a pair of star film and TV composers to the stage to perform their own music. Multiple award-winning Alexandre Desplat, whose film score for The Shape of Water has just won him his second Academy Award for Best Original Score, will conduct his signature works and transport us back to the touching moments in the films (4 & 5 January 2019). 

Max Richter’s artistry transcends boundaries and his wide range of works can be heard not only in the concert hall, but also in dance and cinema. Max Richter will visit Hong Kong and play his own compositions under the baton of American conductor Robert Ziegler. These concerts offer a refreshing listening experience with his best-known compositions, Recomposedand Memoryhouse. The former is his acclaimed reworking of Vivaldi’s classic Four Seasons and the latter is a lush and lyrical postcard journal of 20th century Europe (30 November & 1 December 2018). 

Do not miss the two Star Wars Movie in Concert programmes at the end of the season, when Star Wars IV – A New Hope(4 & 6 July 2019) and Star Wars V – The Empire Strikes Back (5 & 6 July 2019) will be screened to live music from the HK Phil conducted by Benjamin Northey

Swire Denim Series 
The Swire Denim Series offers a relaxing weekend option for busy urbanites, as well as an unusual alternative for music lovers. This season we have invited classical music comedy duo Igudesman & Joo, who caused a sensation around the world with their creative theatrical concerts filled with fun and dazzling displays of virtuosity. The programme will include the Asian premiere of the duo’s latest creation Clash of the Soloists and more (10, 11 & 14 April 2019). 

Not everyone can cross the boundaries of jazz, Latin and Classical music with ease, but this is what Dominician pianist and composer Michel Camilo is celebrated for. The Grammy, Emmy & Latin Grammy Award Winning Pianist and Composer will host two nights of jazz with the HK Phil. In his belated Hong Kong debut, he will perform his own Piano Concerto no. 1 which features his powerful virtuoso piano playing and jazzy American sounds, and Gershwin’s all-time favourite Rhapsody in Blue. The performance is not to be missed and promises to be a most relaxing and enjoyable event (14 & 15 June 2019). 

Joint effort with HK Ballet
The HK Phil will team up with Hong Kong Ballet for an exhilarating evening celebrating 21st century drive and innovation and bringing together a unique cadre of international talents. AfterRite is a reconceptualisation of Igor Stravinsky’s iconic and notorious The Rite of Spring, the score of which still excites and stimulates audiences today with its amazing raw and primal rhythms. The Year of the Rabbit is a joyful and imaginative work set to a live orchestral adaptation of Sufjan Stevens’s Chinese astrology-inspired electronic score (31 May – 2 June 2019). 

Subscriptions run from 8 May until 8 July 2018
The 2018/19 HK Phil subscription campaign will continue to have two phases. 

Current subscribers can renew their subscription before 28 May 2018 to enjoy the best savings and best seats. 

Subscriptions will then be open to the public from 1 June to 8 July 2018. During this period, subscribers can still enjoy the best savings. 

Subscribers are eligible for discounts up to 25%; the more concerts purchased, the greater the savings. Students, seniors, disabled and CSSA recipients receive 50% off subscription and single ticket purchases (excluding “Mahler $200”). 

Single Ticket for concerts (including “Mahler $200”) will be available at URBTIX from 16 July 2018 (Monday)

How to subscribe
There are four ways to subscribe: 

1. Mail:    HK Phil Subscription Office, Level 8, Administration Building, HKCC, TST
2. Online:   
3. Email:
4. Fax: 2721 1487

The online season brochure can be found here