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Annual Report 2005/2006

The Hong Kong Composers' Guild (ISCM Hong Kong Section) has organized the following activities during the period of 1st April 2005 to 31st March 2006.

Musicarama 2005
Musicarama 2005, a mini-festival of international contemporary music, was held in Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall and Theatre in October 2005. A total of 35 local & international compositions were featured in 4 concerts, which include the latest creations by 27 Hong Kong composers and 19 premieres. All four concerts were impressive and interesting, yet each one was unique and full of stylistic variety. The opening concert (9th Oct) was given by the renowned Japanese ensemble Brass Extreme Tokyo. They premiered Fiona Chung's Fanfare for the Mongolians, Christopher Coleman's Politics, Money, Music (commissioned), Tang Man-ngai's Requiem - In Memory of Pope John Paul II (commissioned), and Japanese composer Takashi Fujii's The Astronomical Danceology. The concert was a solid, inspiring but humorous encounter between Hong Kong & Japanese musicians. Musicarama 2005 also marks the first-time participation of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (12th Oct). Under the leadership of Maestro En Shao, they gave a full-length programme of 9 pieces, all exclusively Hong Kong compositions, including five premieres: Li Cheong's The Milky Way, Joyce Tang's Stirring Up � Cosmic Dust, Mui Kwong-chiu's Symphonic Poem - Genesis, Tsang Yiu-kwan's First Scene (Nüwa Mends the Sky), and Cheung Pui-shan'sDai Pai Dong (commissioned). This concert was a showcase of wonderful orchestration, contemporary techniques and powerful writing. The third concert (25th Oct) was a happy gathering of local talents: vocalists David Quah & Jovita Leung; pianists Genevieve Wong & Chan Ka-fu; musicians Martin Choy, Izaskun Erdocia & Shelagh Heath; and three school choirs - CCC Kei Wan Primary School (Aldrich Bay), Heep Yunn School Senior Choir, and SKH Bishop Mok Sau Tseng Secondary School Choir. They premiered Clarence Mak's Being Young At Heart(commissioned), Mui Kwong-chiu's Hong Kong, You are Beautiful (commissioned), and Lam Kin-yee's Tempestuous Night. The concert was full of delicacy, beautiful sounds and personal statements. The fourth concert (26th Oct), given by five outstanding musicians of the Hong Kong Pure Strings (Leung Kin-fung, Ho Hong-ying, Cui Hongwei, Monica Su & Cheng Wai), was a demonstration of a wide spectrum of creative composition ideas. Five out of ten pieces in the programme were premieres: Lai Sheung-ping's LangGe, Samson Young's In those Imperceptible Chrysanthemum Sighs (commissioned), Lydia Ayers' Butterfly Stir Fry, Richard Tsang's Soliloquy(commissioned), and Ada Lai's The Stars are not Wanted Now (commissioned). RTHK recorded all 4 concerts live, and the recordings were subsequently broadcast on Radio 4 at various programmes between 14th October and 9th December. The violin dealer Music Chamber also made a video recording of the fourth concert live.

Financially, Musicarama 2005 was made possible by the support of two project grants from CASH Music Fund and Hong Kong Arts Development Council, respectively. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department also sponsored us with free venue and ticketing services. A significant portion of the fees to commission composers to write new pieces was supported by CASH Music Fund. We also owe our thanks to Japan Foundation for their sponsorship of the traveling expenses of the 5 musicians of Brass Extreme Tokyo, and to Music Chamber who initiated and sponsored the DVD production of the live recording of the fourth concert. We are grateful to RhapsoArts Management Ltd. for their very important and thoughtful administrative support. Artistically, the festival was a great success. The high quality of the music and the composers' artistic imaginations were impressive. Having seen so many talented members presenting highly original & competent compositions in the festival, I believe strongly in the great abilities of Hong Kong composers and the virtues of contemporary music.

New Generation 2005
With the aim to promote contemporary-music writing among young people, our Guild has been organizing the New Generation concerts since 1989. New Generation 2005, the 17th of such event, was jointly presented by us and RTHK4, and was held at RTHK Studio 1 on 5th May 2005. All tickets of the concert were sought out well before the concert date, and the Studio was filled up by a very supportive and enthusiastic audience. Eight new compositions written by student composers from APA, BU, CUHK and HKU were premiered by distinguished singers/musicians Jovita Leung, David Quah, Martin Choy, Laurent Perrin and Stephen Chau. One of the works was specially commissioned by the Guild as an award for the New Generation 2004 winner Adrian Lam. The recording of the concert was broadcast on RTHK4 on 2nd and 9th June 2005. The selection panel for the best composition in 2005 consisted of Hui Cheung-wai, Leung Chi-cheung, Christopher Keyes, Ng Chun-hoi, Clarence Mak, Daniel Chong, Chan Hing-yan, Victor Chan and myself. The winner of New Generation 2005 is Chan Sze-rok who would be commissioned to write a new piece for the concert of 2006. The whole event was highly acclaimed, not only in terms of the outstanding musical quality, but also in administration, presentation, as well as the spirit which provides our young composers a formal platform to share their works with each other and the general public. I shall thank the project co-ordinators Leung Chi-cheung and Ng Chun-hoi for their excellent administrative work. Our gratitude also goes to CASH Music Fund whose financial support is much appreciated. 

ACL Festival 2005
The ACL (Asian Composers League) Conference/Festival 2005 was held in the Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand between 8th and 16th August 2005. Six Hong Kong composers' works were scheduled for performance: Lydia Ayers' Tala Malika Jak, Chan Wing-wah's Distant Hill, Alice Ho's Garage, Doming Lam's Moonlight over Spring River, Tang Man-ngai's Distant Image, and Li Kar-yee's Summer. Due to unforeseen technical/administrative problems of the organizer, the performance of Tang Man-ngai's piece was cancelled one day before the concert, and the performance of the chamber piece by Li Kar-yee - the Hong Kong Young Composer Representative for the ACL Young Composer's Prize Concert, was given unsatisfactorily by a local ensemble (Li Kar-yee's work was chosen by the Guild Council among 6 submissions on 3rd June 2005). The Hong Kong delegation attending the festival had 9 persons, the traveling expenses of six of them was sponsored by CASH Music Fund. Being the Hong Kong Chief Delegate, I gave a multimedia presentation (with handouts, PowerPoint slides, & sound recordings) of the Hong Kong Report during the ACL General Assembly. This detailed report, which highlights many activities of the Hong Kong composers in 2004/05, was well received. I also described and answered some questions on the progress of our 2007 ISCM/ACL 2007 World Music Days project, which was enthusiastically supported by the ACL General Assembly.

International Rostrum of Composers 2005
As a collaboration with RTHK4, the Guild sent Joyce Tang as the Hong Kong Delegate (representing RTHK) to attend the International Rostrum of Composers held in Vienna from 6th - 10th June 2005. About 30 countries sent representatives and recordings to this 5-day meeting. Each participating country had up to 35 minutes of recorded music played in turn during the daily sessions. Originally, the Guild Council selected, on 15th April, the following pieces: Aenon Loo'sGlory the God in the Highest, Ng Cheuk-yin's White and Richard Tsang's Dragon Sign. However, since the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra does not grant others to use their recording (because the relevant terms and conditions are not included in the musicians' contracts), we had to eventually substitute Richard Tsang's Dragon Sign with Joshua Chan's Circular Triangle. Since the participating countries of the Rostrum are allowed to get copies of each other country's recordings, Joyce Tang was able to collect many interesting pieces for subsequent RTHK broadcast. Joyce Tang also commented on some of the recordings in a RTHK4 programme.

Schools Creative Music Showcase 2005/06
With the aims to broaden young people's horizons in creative arts by nurturing contemporary music making into primary and secondary schools, the Guild, with the support of the Education and Manpower Bureau, has been staging the major annual event Schools Creative Music Showcase in which different school teams will give a gala performance of multi-media works (music, choreography, lighting, props, etc.), all of which were composed and performed by the students themselves. Some of these works were created with the sound-project guidelines written by Hong Kong composers. For example, Joshua Chan's Pentagonal Mysterious Ball, Ng Chun-hoi's Picturesque Seascape and Lam Kin-yee's Rhythm Tour. The 4-hour event Schools Creative Music Showcase 2005/06 was held at the Auditorium of Shatin Town Hall on 12th January 2006 and it featured the performances of eight primary schools and four secondary schools, which were competitively chosen among 40 plus participating schools. The adjudicating panel for the preliminary selection was formed by Shirley Gwilt, Ada Lai, Lam Kin-yee, Li Chi-man, Ng Chun-hoi and Vincent Pang, while the panel for the final judging consisted of Ada Lai, Lam Kin-yee, Lam Shun, Lo Hau-man and myself. A total of nine prizes were given at the end of the concert: (1) Best Musical Notation - SKH Chu Yan Primary School, (2) Best Sound Design Prize - SKH Yuen Chen Maun Chen Primary School, (3) Best Music Composition Prize - shared by SKH Bishop Mok Sau Tseng Secondary School and The HKTA Ching Chung Secondary School, (4) Best Musical Interpretation Prize [Primary] - SKH Tsing Yi Estate Ho Chak Wan Primary School, (5) Best Musical Interpretation Prize [Secondary] - SKH Bishop Mok Sau Tseng Secondary School, (6) Best Overall Performance Prize [Primary] - Yan Oi Tong Tin Ka Ping Primary School, (7) Best Overall Performance Prize [Secondary] - SKH Bishop Mok Sau Tseng Secondary School, (8) Most Original Creative Ideas Prize [Primary] - shared by Yan Oi Tong Tin Ka Ping Primary School and The Salvation Army Lam Butt Chung Memorial School, and (9) Most Original Creative Ideas Prize [Secondary] - The HKTA Ching Chung Secondary School. The prizes were sponsored by CASH Music Fund which also supported part of the production cost of this concert. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department also provided free venue and ticketing services.

Interactive Composition Workshops - LCSD Artist-in-Residence Scheme 2005/06
This is a new project the Guild initiated the first time, with the aim to promote an understanding of modern music and composition. It was also a response to the Education and Manpower Bureau's plan of implementing, in September 2009, a new senior secondary music curriculum in which composition becomes a compulsory item for all students. We want to launch a series of projects within these five transition years to help equipping schools music teachers with knowledge, skills and motivation to face the new challenge. The Guild was one of the success applicants to be given an LCSD grant (Leisure and Cultural Services Department, HKSAR Government) to run a project under their Artist-in-Residence Scheme 2005/06. With this grant, we were able to organize 11 interactive composition workshops and one lecture-demonstration concert and have Hong Kong Composers' Guild as the Artist-in-Residence in Tsuen Wan Town Hall. The whole project was a great success. LCSD's requirement is a minimum of 40 participants in each workshop in order to have the whole project to be funded. But we managed to have an average enrolment figure of 120 in each workshop (one workshop even had 135 participants). Even though our target audience was school music teachers and students, we had people of various background participating in the workshops, from primary-school students to retired people, from pop-song writers to white-collar workers.

Some of the special aspects of these 11 topic-based workshops were the availability of professional instrumentalists help demonstrating the music live, and the easy reference of musical scores on large screen via transparency or computer-screen projection. The questions-and-answers sessions between the speaker/musician and audience in some workshops were very to-the-point and stimulating; we happened to inspire the audience to ask the most appropriate questions. The topics and speakers/musicians of the 11 workshops were (1) Melody Contour - Joshua Chan, (2) Melodic Writing for Strings - Tang Man-ngai & Boris Cheung, (3) Melodic Writing for Wind Instruments - Ada Lai & Martin Choy, (4) Rhythm and Time - Clarence Mak & Lam Siu-king, (5) Rhythmic Writing for Percussion - Mui Kwong-chiu & Margie Tong, (6) Harmonic Experimentation - Ng Chun-hoi & Stephen Chau, (7) Harmonic Writing for Piano - Hui Cheung-wai & Genevieve Wong, (8) Tone Colour Exploration in Brass - Lo Hau-man & Lee Ka-cheong, (9) Part Writing for Strings - Daniel Law & Avant String Quartet, (10) Creative Sound Project for Percussion - Chan Hing-yan & Jenga, (11) Creative MIDI Sequencing - Jason Chen.

The concluding event of this project was a lecture-demonstration concert on Hong Kong composers' works held in the Auditorium of Tsuen Wan Town Hall on 17th March 2007. Six pieces were featured: Tung Lai-shing's Four Pieces for Woodwinds & Percussion, Tsang Yiu-kwan'sTrifle, Tang Lok-yin's A Change of Scenery, Ada Lai's Red Cliffs Reminiscence, Tam Chin-fai'sMoments, & Richard Tsang's Multifacts. After the general introduction given by Leung Chi-cheung, the performance of each piece was preceded by an 8-minute demonstration in which the composer and musician introduced to the audience interesting aspects of the composition. Besides talking and showing technical notes through video projection, short excerpts of some pieces were demonstrated. The audience was encouraged to ask questions or propose ad-hoc suggestions. Through this concert, we wanted to encourage constructive interactions between the three parties: composer, performer and listener such that the audience would have a better understanding of the composers and performers and their methods in music-making, and an eventual elevation of the audience's own music appreciation ability. It was very encouraging to see the six composers went up to the stage in turn to talk about their ideas with various approaches. The complete score of Richard Tsang's piece was even projected on the stage wall page by page, synchronized with the live performance. The event was much appreciated by the audience.

HKCG Website ( /
On 7th October 2005, the Council appointed Joyce Tang as the Website Co-ordinator who would lead a Website Sub-committee consisting of herself, Tsang Yiu-kwan, Clarence Mak, Poon Po-choi and myself. Under the leadership of Joyce Tang, the contents of the website have been greatly improved. For example, more information can be found under "News", "Call for Scores", "Major Activities", "Membership", etc. And the members' information found in the book An Introduction to the Hong Kong Composers' Guild 2002 has completely uploaded to the corresponding members' pages in both Chinese and English. Tsang Yiu-kwan, a professional IT person as well as an active composer, has been instrumental in helping us to identify and solve many technical problems. For example, security problems and programming inflexibility in our exiting website, establishing a parallel site at with a new web-hosting plan of ICDSoft, revamping the format on the menu bar, creating a number of email aliasing, remodeling the current design, enabling free-or-charge instant translation service from traditional to simplified Chinese (from KanHan), etc. 

Other ongoing projects
We have a number of ongoing projects: (1) We have been a successful applicant in receiving a grant to run a 7-month 38-event project called Understanding Composition and Contemporary Music under the Tsuen Wan Town Hall Programme Partnership Scheme 2006/07 sponsored by LCSD. The project includes 5 concerts, 5 demonstration lectures, 6 lectures, 11 workshops, 8 training classes, 2 sound installations and an exhibition. The first event will begin on 1st August 2006. (2) Despite the fact that CASH Music Fund would neither sponsor the commission fees nor provide us a project grant for a Musicarama festival in 2006, we decided anyhow to organize a 3-concert Musicarama 2006 and subsequently we got an ADC project grant of $97,000. The first concert will be held in City Hall Theatre on 23rd October 2006. (3) As part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, a collaborative project between the Guild & HKCO called "Cadenzas of Hong Kong" has been launched. The project has 3 parts. In Part I, eighteen Hong Kong composers will be commissioned to write 3-6 minutes pieces to be premiered by HKCO during 18 different concerts of the 30th & 31st orchestral seasons [9/2006 - 8/2007, 9/2007 - 8/2008]. Each piece aims to express the versatility of Hong Kong in social, cultural, scenic, geographic or personal terms. Part II will be a series of tailor-made workshops for composers to promote creative, idiomatic writing for the Chinese orchestra. Part III is field trips to various places in Guangdong province to help strengthening the compositional relevance of the Hong Kong subjects which usually have the cultural root strongly tied with the region, (4) We are one of the organizers of the 13th International Seminar of the Commission on Music in Cultural, Educational, and Mass Media Policies in Music Education [CMCEMMP] to be held in July 2006. This seminar is chaired by Leung Chi-cheung. With the theme Music in Hong Kong, the opening concert will be held in Jireh Concert Hall, International Christian Quality Music Secondary and Primary School on 12th July 2006 in which some compositions by Guild members will be performed.

Dr. Joshua Chan
Hong Kong Composers' Guild

HONG KONG, 23rd May 2006




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