Adventures in Foreign Lands - PAPA
A newly formed ensemble, Philharmonia APA (PAPA) is made up of young professionals graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. The formation of PAPA is inspired by the distinguished achievements of three decades of music graduates. In HKAPA’s 33rd year, PAPA has been formed to continue the high-caliber performances established by APA-trained musicians, and also to unite the network of music graduates and serve the Hong Kong community by contributing to its arts scene.
Concerts in Vienna
Philharmonia APA – 20 talented graduates of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts returns to Hong Kong – Vienna Music Festival and presents ‘Adventures in Foreign Lands’ in MuTh Theater on Sunday, April 30 at 7:30pm. The concert features works by Gershwin, Austin Leung and Stravinsky.
Conducted by Sharon Andrea Choa, Philharmonia APA will lead the audience through three ‘adventures in foreign lands’ transformed as musical fantasies by three disparate composers of unique styles. Opening the program is Gershwin’s An American in Paris, which famously portrays the impressions of an American visitor in Paris. This is followed by a new commission by Philharmonia APA, a piece by Hong Kong composer Austin Leung entitled A Chinese in London – the music makes clever use of motifs and techniques of both the Gershwin and Stravinsky, but shaped into a narrative that illustrates the composer’s personal voice and experience as a new resident in London. The second half of the concert presents Stravinsky’s Histoire du soldat (suite), a dramatic work based on a Russian folklore and incorporates musical styles as diverse as jazz, ‘Latin American’ dance music, and the 20th-century avant-garde.
George Gershwin – An American in Paris (arr. Iain Farrington)
Austin Leung – A Chinese in London
Igor Stravinsky – Histoire du soldat (suite)
Sharon Andrea Choa has been a devoted musician throughout her life – as conductor, violinist and educator. Born in Hong Kong, she excelled at the violin from a young age and started conducting whilst still at school. She was later accepted at the Royal Academy of Music as a violinist to study under the great quartet leader Sidney Griller. Further studies brought her to King’s College London on a full scholarship where her passion for conducting was re-ignited. Since then, she has worked with orchestras around Europe and Asia and with soloists such as Steven Isserlis, Jane Manning, Jeremy White, Warren Mok, Diana Moore, Philip Eastop, Paul Silverthorne and the Allegri String Quartet. In 2001, Sharon founded Chamber Orchestra Anglia (COA) in order to draw together creative and cultural strengths in the UK. In the role as artistic director and principal conductor of the orchestra, she has presented a string of concerts that earned COA the reputation for its high-level performances and innovative programming.
On her path as a young conductor, she had been coached by Jorma Panula, Georg Tintner, Janoš Fűrst, David Parry and Diego Masson as well as Sir Colin Davis and Maestro Jiří Bělohlávek, assisting them in preparing orchestral workshops for young musicians.
Sharon has been awarded many performance and academic prizes including individual grants by Arts Council England, the British Academy, the Arts Humanities Research Council and the British Council. In 2007, Sharon was nomiated an ‘inspirational woman of the world’ with her portrait appearing in the National Gallery. Her achievement as musician, conductor and entrepreneur is featured in Zerbanoo Gifford’s book Confessions to a Serial Womaniser.
In 2014, Sharon was given the Music Award under the Norfolk Arts Award scheme in the UK and the A.R.A.M. in recognition of her work as performer and educator. The same year, she returned to Hong Kong to take up the position as Dean of the School of Music at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She has since been a guest conductor of the HK Philharmonic and has recently been appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble (HKNME).
“If music doesn’t echo life, it is nothing but noise” – Austin Leung (2016)
In 2008, Leung was awarded a half scholarship to study in the University of Hong Kong, majoring in Medical Engineering. In the second year of his study, he occasionally joined the school choir which served as the enlightenment of his music journey. Being inspired deeply, he started practicing music for around 6 hours a day and acquired his first Grade 8 certificates in violin and music theory after two years.
After his graduation, Leung decided to pursue a music career. In 2014, he started studying Advance Diploma (composition) in the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
Leung’s composition is distinctive in its manner of integration of contrasting musical materials in the same work. Materials range from tonal, expressive melodies to brutal contemporary noise. Such a compositional approach echoes Leung’s philosophical belief that the world is united, but also diversified. Every soul should co-exist cooperatively on this planet without drastically losing one’s unique characteristics.
Recent performances of Leung include his Chinese orchestral work Prelude performed by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and his orchestral work Serenity recorded by a chamber orchestra formed by musicians from the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
With the support of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Oversea Scholarship, Leung is currently studying Master of Music (composition) in the Royal Academy of Music, London. His music was published by the ABLAZE record, USA/Australia.