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Czech Philharmonic and pianist Paul Lewis to collaborate for two concerts in June

     The Leisure and Cultural Services Department's Great Music 2014 series will stage two concerts in June by the Czech Philharmonic, under the baton of Chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek and in collaboration with acclaimed English pianist Paul Lewis, offering a fantastic opportunity for music lovers.  

     The concert on June 3 will feature Smetana's "Vltava" (from Má vlast), Brahms's "Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15" and Dvořák's "Symphony No. 6 in D, Op. 60".  On June 4 will the programme include Weber's "Overture to Der Freischütz", Beethoven's "Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37" and Martinů's "Symphony No. 4, H.305".

     Chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek was born in Prague. He began conducting the Czech Philharmonic in 1970 to great acclaim, starting a long relationship with the orchestra. In 1979, he conducted Berlin's Komische Oper and a decade later he succeeded Václav Neumann as Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. Bělohlávek has consistently championed the music of Czech composers. He founded the Prague Philharmonia in 1994, which he directed until 2005 when he became its Conductor Laureate, and has since gone on to conduct many of the world's great orchestras. In 2012, in a much-anticipated reunion, Bělohlávek returned as Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic. Also in 2012, he was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) "for services to music" by Queen Elizabeth II. He has also been awarded the First Grade Medal of Merit for service to the Czech Republic.

     Conducted by Dvořák, the Czech Philharmonic first performed in 1896 and has since delighted audiences around the globe. In 1908 composer Gustav Mahler conducted the orchestra in the world premiere of his Symphony No.7. The orchestra's international reputation grew under the direction of Václav Talich, and began to perform worldwide to great acclaim. It has received numerous awards, including nominations for Grammy and Gramophone Awards, and was ranked in Gramophone's "Top 20 Best Orchestras in the World" in 2008.  

     Paul Lewis's complete cycles of core works by Beethoven and Schubert have earned him unanimous critical acclaim. His numerous accolades include three Gramophone awards, with a Record of the Year in 2008. Lewis has worked with many great orchestras including Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra, and has performed in collaboration with conductors including Sir Colin Davis, Bernard Haitink, Sir Charles Mackerras and Sir Mark Elder.  According to, Lewis' "sensitive touch on the keys enabled the listener to hear each and every note placed with thought and imagination, making a unique interpretation of each of the works."

     The Czech Philharmonic concerts will be staged at 8pm on June 3 and 4 (Tuesday and Wednesday) at the Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets priced at $850, $700, $550, $400 and $250 will be available from March 25 (Tuesday) at URBTIX outlets, on the Internet and by telephone credit card booking. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (limited tickets for full-time students and CSSA recipients are available on a first-come, first-served basis).  Group booking discounts are also available.

     Two pre-concert talks will be held with free admission on a first-come, first-served basis. Details are as follows:

June 3 (Tuesday) 6.45pm
Foyer Reception Area, 4/F, Auditoria Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Speaker: Lio Kuokman (Conductor)
Guest: Josef Špaček (Concertmaster of the Czech Philharmonic)
Conducted in Cantonese and English

June 4 (Wednesday) 6.45pm
Foyer Reception Area, 4/F, Auditoria Building, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
Speaker: Dr. Sharon Choa (Chair of School of Music, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts)
Conducted in English

     Other Great Music 2014 series programmes include "Encore Series: Piano Recital by Evgeny Kissin" (April 7) and "Encore Series: Piano Recital by Mikhail Pletnev" (May 21).

     For programme enquiries, please call 2268 7321, or visit . For ticketing enquiries, please call 3761 6661. For telephone credit card bookings, please call 2111 5999. For Internet bookings, please visit

Ends/Thursday, March 20, 2014
Issued at HKT 10:00


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