HK orchestra brings Beethoven to life on the mainland

By Chen Nan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-03-14 10:33:29

HK orchestra brings Beethoven to life on the mainland

Jaap van Zweden brings the Hong Kong Philharmonic to the mainland. Provided to China Daily

HK orchestra brings Beethoven to life on the mainland
The Rolling Stones hold concert in Shanghai
HK orchestra brings Beethoven to life on the mainland
Li Yundi holds concert in Croatia
Jaap van Zweden is fully aware of the importance of touring the world. Appointed music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic in 2012, he heads one of the largest and busiest musical organizations in Hong Kong, presenting more than 150 concerts every year.

In December, the orchestra performed in Taipei for the first time in two decades, and in March it is touring Chinese mainland cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Guangzhou-the first time former violinist Van Zweden has visited as a conductor.

The orchestra will have a major tour of Europe in February and March 2015 and travel to the United States in May 2016.

"Touring is important for the orchestra as it brings us together," he says. "These tours also help build the orchestra's international fame and make it progress in the right direction."

Van Zweden, who has a four-year initial contract in Hong Kong, is considered one of the world's most sought-after conductors.

"Every tour is special," he says. The tour in China, however, offers something different for him personally. The all-Beethoven program, including Egmont Overture, Violin Concerto in D major and Symphony No 5, took him back to his early days of getting to know classical music.

Since childhood, music has been an irresistible attraction for Van Zweden. Born in Amsterdam, he received his first violin lessons at the age of 5.

"When I came home, I often played soccer with friends and then studied violin for a few hours. When I was alone, I often listened to classical music since my parents had a large collection. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is my favorite," says the 54-year-old, sitting in a five-star hotel in Beijing before a rehearsal at the National Center for the Performing Arts.

Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma also joined the tour in China, performing Beethoven's violin concerto.

As a violinist, Van Zweden studied at the prestigious Juilliard School before he was appointed the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's youngest concertmaster ever at age 19. As he recalls, it felt like "becoming a father at such a young age", which came as a total surprise but he was willing to give it a try.

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Editor's Picks
Hot words

Most Popular