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History of Premiere Performances of Hong Kong

Premiere Performances of Hong Kong was founded in March 2007 by Andrea D. Fessler as a registered charity. Designed to support the Hong Kong arts community in building a vibrant local classical music scene and to help boost the city’s standing in the world’s cultural landscape, Premiere Performances brings the best international artists in the world to perform, solo recitals and chamber music concerts.

Having lived in Hong Kong since 2004, Ms. Fessler perceived a strong demand for classical music concerts, but there was very little in the way of solo recitals and chamber music. Solo recitals were limited to a scattering of performances by the world's “rock star” musicians like Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman and commanding prices starting at HK$800 while chamber music was nearly non-existent. Hong Kong, a city with perhaps more pianos per family than any other, was missing a vital component of classical music. This was a shame for audiences and particularly difficult for students and teachers of music. Ms. Fessler founded Premiere Performances to fill that gap, and to collaborate with other classical music, arts and youth organizations to support the Hong Kong music and arts scene as a whole.

More Premiere Performances History

In 2007, Premier Performances’ first series was entitled the Rising Stars Piano Series, it showcased four exceptional young pianists who represent the next generation of classical music superstars. The concerts took place at the Sheung Wan Civic Centre and the first season proudly included the Hong Kong debuts of Spanish pianist Javier Perianes, and Chinese pianist Chen Jie, both of whom were subsequently invited back by the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Gilmore Artist, Ingrid Fliter, and Van Cliburn Gold Medalist, Alexander Kobrin,also performed in the first series.

This was followed by the 2008 Great Performers Series, featuring four concerts at City Hall by well-established international musicians who are considered the top of their fields, including British pianist Stephen Hough, British cellist Colin Carr, Swedish pianist Peter Jablonski and Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang. Premiere Performances received an Arts Development Council grant for the Stephen Hough and Colin Carr concerts. The South China Morning Post named Stephen Hough’s recital for Premiere Performances as “the most memorable concert of the year” in Hong Kong in its year-end review.

Premiere Performances launched the 1st Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival (HKICMF) in June 2009 with well-loved Hong Kong-born cellist Trey Lee. The first HKICMF brought together 11 talented musicians and included four days of critically acclaimed performances in venues across Hong Kong. The Title Sponsor was the luxury watch brand, Breguet. Premiere Performances followed the HKICMF with the 2009 Young Virtuoso Series which opened with the Hong Kong debut of Chinese piano sensation Wang Yuja. Other artists in this exceptional showcase included Ukrainian “Natural Born Fiddler” Valeriy Sokolov in November 2009, and the amazingly talented and highly sought-after Russian pianist Kirill Gerstein in December 2009.

In 2010, Premiere Performances presented both the 2nd HKICMF which spanned five nights and included more than fifteen international soloists as and musicians from the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. In the fall, Premiere Performances followed the Festival with Premiere Performances Presents: 2010-2011 Recital Series. Both the series and the Festival were sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The Recital Series included Chinese violin virtuoso Feng Ning in October 2010 and Finnish piano genius Juho Pohjonen in November 2010. The SCMP in its 2010 Arts Roundup praised Premiere Performances for its “sterling work in promoting artists with bright futures”.

In 2011, Premiere Performances focused on Premiere Performances Presents: with six concerts throughout the year. The lineup included Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, Scottish superstar Nicola Benedetti and the long-awaited performance of solo Bach by the incredible Christian Tetzlaff. In June 2011, Premiere Performances co-presented a chamber music concert with the LCSD and the Finnish Consulate featuring Trey Lee and musicians from the Kuhmo Festival in Finland. In the fall of 2011, cello great Steven Isserlis performed and the genre defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider performed later in the year.

The 3rd Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival took place in January 2012. Taiwanese violinist Cho-liang Lin was named the new Artistic Director, and was joined on stage by a great lineup of some of the world's most talented musicians. Nineteen of the twenty five Festival events were free to the public, reflecting Premiere Performances' commitment to developing an audience for the extraordinary concerts it presents.

The 2012 Recital Series included the phenomenally talented Behzod Abduraimov, the return of Javier Perianes and the Hong Kong debuts of both guitar superstar Miloš Karadaglić and violist Maxim Rysanov.  In November of 2012 Premier Performances also launched the PLAY! Family Series, curated by Artistic Director, Haylie Ecker.  The first PLAY! concert was performed by Alpin Hong, pianist.

In 2013 Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival was the biggest and most comprehensive festival to date, thanks, in no small part to a grant Premiere Performances received from the Home Affairs Bureau. The prestigious Springboard Grant under its Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme, was a matching grant whereby the Hong Kong Government matches every dollar that Premiere Performances raises in sponsorship or donations with two dollars. Premiere Performances also announced J.P. Morgan as the new Title Sponsor of all of Premiere Performances' concerts in 2013. 

This additional sponsorship enabled Premiere Performances to undertake new initiatives, including the residency of the acclaimed flute/cello/piano trio "Trio Festivale" from Ireland as well as partnership with Musica Viva Australia to bring their acclaimed chamber music education programme into Hong Kong schools.

In 2014, Premier Performances had designed a unique and diverse concert program with piano duo Lucille Chung and Alessio Bax, Steven Osborne, an award-winning British pianist, and The New Dutch Academy as well as BBC Music Magazine’s Best Newcomer award winner, Mei Yi Foo was invited to perform a recital series with us. There were six concerts with 18 visiting musicians and 3 local musicians for the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival that year.

Premier Performances opened up with the Family Series with our first original commission, The Shadow of the moon presenting the story of the origins of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Along with The shadow of the moon, the world music ensemble, Mara! Was also part of our family series in 2015. Our recital series 2015, consisted of The rising star pianist, Benjamin Grosvenor, The Jerusalem String Quartet, Avi Avital and the Cologne Academy, the global guitar sensation, Miloš, and French-Israeli pianist David Greilsammer.

The Swiss-Chinese pianist Louis Schwizgebel, young cellist Narek Hakhnazarayan, British pianist Stephen Hough, and the rising star Iskanda Widjaja were the stars of our recital series in 2016. Cellist Narek Hakhanzarayan also gave masterclasses at the Hong Kong cello academy that year. As our Family Series, The Shadow of the moon was a huge success and received great responses last year; we decided to repeat that program again for our family series in 2016. This performance was followed by two Muscia Viva groups including the jazz ensemble, Adam Hall and the velvet Players and the string trio Fiddlesticks.

Premiere Performances looks forward to ever adding to this story and to delighting Hong Kong audiences by continuing to bring the best in the world to perform.

Upcoming Events

Apr
25
Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
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May
14
Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre Theatre
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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May
15
Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
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May
28
Asia Society Hong Kong Center
3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
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Jun
05
Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
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You may now read and download our Annual Report 2015 - 16 from here. NEW!

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Premiere Performances brings the world's best performers of recitals and chamber music to Hong Kong. From internationally celebrated musicians to the world's brightest rising stars, our concerts feature a dynamic array of instruments, performance styles and musical programs. Premiere Performances was founded in 2007 and is a registered charity.


Premiere Performances of Hong Kong is financially supported by the Art Development Matching Grants Pilot Scheme of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.