PREVIEW: Hong Kong Episodes, Wilton’s Music Hall (7-8 July 2017)

Hong Kong Episodes Credit: Wandering Photography
East meets West in London from 7 to 28 July. The Hong Kong Music Series will bring 70 musicians and composers to a range of venues across the capital from Richmond Theatre to St John’s Smith Square, giving a many-faceted insight into the musical diversity  of Hong Kong. Leah Williams previews Hong Kong Episodes at Wilton’s Music Hall, opening the series on 7 and 8 July, with talented jazz guitarist and composer Teriver Cheung: The Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) knows what a wealth of incredibly talented musicians they have been cultivating in recent years and is making sure the rest of the world gets the opportunity to hear them. Chairman, Dr. Ying-wai Wong, says: “Hong Kong’s cultural scene has undergone rapid growth. With an increasing number of outstanding artists creating high quality works in Hong Kong in the past few decades… now is the right time to help our home-grown artists to reach out and perform on the international stage.”
Luckily for us, London is getting the first taste of this specially curated programme of events with five productions, featuring over 70 musicians, composers and performers, taking place in different venues over a three-week period. With concerts ranging from Chinese music theatre and chamber opera to contemporary music and jazz, there’s much to get excited about from this special programme of music, which is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It’s easy to see why Teriver Cheung has been chosen to represent Hong Kong’s homegrown jazz talent. His musical journey began at a young age, starting on the piano at a mere five years old, but then found its true destination when, at the age of 16, he picked up a guitar and fell in love with jazz. He made the move to the U.S. to study with Fred Hamilton on a scholarship at the University of North Texas and, after graduating, formed his first group Nobody’s Business, with which he toured internationally.
Cheung’s mellow tones and lyricism have won him many fans and he’s become an active member of the jazz scene there, performing alongside big names such as Eddie Gomez, Billy Drummond and Jeremy Monteiro. He released his first jazz album as band leader, My Nocturne, which has been well-received. As both a guitarist and composer, Cheung has been involved in many collaborative projects and Hong Kong Episodes, being performed at Wilton’s Music Hall on 7 & 8 July, is his latest. The original music has been written by Cheung alongside renowned Hong Kong composer Fung Lam. The youngest Chinese composer to ever be commissioned by the BBC, when he was invited to write for the BBC Concert Orchestra in 2007, Lam’s compositional style has found an audience in both the West and his native Hong Kong with a unique sound that filters traditional Chinese motifs through a Western context. He favours orchestral composition on a smaller-scale, allowing for focus and restraint, and Hong Kong Episodes captures this essence. Alongside Teriver Cheung, a jazz quartet and top chamber players from the Hong Kong Contemporary Music Group will take to the stage to bring Cheung and Lam’s work to life. This is not all though. In a multi-media concert, described by Wilton’s as “a cinematic musical journey filled with intrigue”, the audience will be transported to the vibrant city of Hong Kong through imagery, curated by architect Anthony Lai, displayed above the stage. The musical and visual landscape will lead the audience on an evocative journey of the many aspects – spiritual, cultural, historical and contemporary – of this fast-paced city throughout the course of one virtual day. Perhaps the closest you can get to experiencing the excitement and diversity of Hong Kong whilst sitting comfortably in your chair in London! (pp) LINKS: Teriver Cheung Hong Kong Music Series Hong Kong Episodes at Wilton’s Music Hall

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