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Media Room : Press Quotes, Reviews and Articles

February 2013
Flamenco Classico (Review)
Flamenco Classico is an imaginative collaboration between the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong and choreographer Nina Corti. Led by two outstanding flamenco dancers from Spain, Rosana Romero and Adrian Santana, the show was rapturously received by a packed house.
Musically, the most unusual item was the Quintet No 4 in D Major and G.448 Fandango by 18th century Italian composer Luigi Boccherini. The only piece to showcase the guitar, the closing fandango was distinguished by a thrilling virtuoso castanet performance by Romero.
This was followed by two of the best-known Spanish (or Spanish-influenced) compositions of all time. The first, Manuel de Falla's El Amor Brujo was performed with elan by the orchestra and showed off the dancers' classic flamenco skills, with their tapping feet, claps and snapping fingers enhancing the score.
The second, Bizet's Carmen was presented in the form of Russian composer Rodion Schedrin's 1967 Carmen Suite, created as a ballet for his wife the great Maya Plisetskaya. Schedrin's inclusion of other Bizet music and extensive use of instruments like the marimba and vibraphone resulted in the work being banned by the conservative Soviet authorities. Daring in its time, it today sounds dated and the instrumentation works against the music - the vibraphone is not ideal for expressing sexual passion or homicidal jealousy.
Corti gets full marks for ambition in staging Carmen as a two-hander and sensibly opts for an impressionistic approach. This produces some exceptional moments, notably a smouldering habanera, while Carmen's murder was so dramatic the small girl in front of me flung herself into her mother's lap in terror, a tribute to the performers' power.
However, a cast of two is too restrictive - the succession of she-loves-me, she-loves-me not duets becomes repetitive and confusion creeps in with Santana portraying both Don José and Escamillo. And while flamenco is an ideal emotional match for the story, the dance vocabulary is limiting in this context.
Any quibbles about music or choreography were overcome by the spectacular performances of Romero and Santana, whose technical brilliance was equalled by the intensity of their interpretation. A dazzling encore of pure flamenco sent the audience home happy.
read online:
Natasha Rogai, South China Morning Post

February 2013
Sir James Galway (Review)
World-renowned flautist Sir James Galway has been in town on several missions, but found time to pay an unexpected act of respect to the victims of the Lamma ferry disaster.
The Irish legend, along with his flautist wife Lady Jeanne Galway, performed to a packed audience at the City Hall Concert Hall on Friday as they kicked off the concert season of the City Chamber Orchestra.
The concert was part of a week's activities for the septuagenarian maestro, including masterclasses where he shared his expertise with more than 100 local flute players.
The couple made a brief appearance at the pre-concert reception to meet the orchestra's board, including chairman Bryan Carter and his wife Stella, new director of the Academy for Performing Arts Adrian Walter and Hong Kong Philharmonic board member Janice Choi.
The new season will also feature legendary percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, who will perform and record with the City Chamber Orchestra, according to founder and executive director Leanne Nicholls.
The opening concert will be best remembered by Galway's third encore, when he played Danny Boy in memory of the ferry victims. You could have heard a pin drop during this heartfelt performance.
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Oliver Chou, South China Morning Post

February 2013
The Britten 100 Project - HK Arts Festival (Review)
The surprise was the chamber orchestra, who with a relatively small number of players delivered nuanced and powerful impact in support of the speakers and chorus.
Alan Yu, Bachtrack

December 2012
The Snowman & The Bear (Review)
“The orchestra and the narrators were excellent...The two percussionists in the orchestra were perhaps the most entertaining as they ran around the xylophones, timpani, drums and bells”
Hong Kong Economic Journal

November 2012
Our Dream 2012 (HK Chinese Woman's Composers Association)
“City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong was totally buoyed up. The string section was given the full rein to the perfect match of the woodwind section”
Ta Kung Pao

October 2012
James Galway Live in Hong Kong

Sir James Galway is undoubtedly one of the most famous flautists in the world. Since leaving the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and starting his solo career in 1975, Galway has accumulated a discography of over 65 CDs that goes far beyond classical music and into popular and soundtrack music. And with over 30 million of his albums sold, it’s no wonder that City Hall was packed for the first of two concerts with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong.

Mozart dominated the evening that opened with the Flute Concerto No 2 in D, K.314. Unlike his first concerto, the second was an adaptation of Mozart’s Oboe Concerto. Galway, doubling as the conductor, set a tempo that was a tad slow, thus failing to give the first movement the kick it ought to have. This, however, was beautifully offset by the awe-inspiring cadenza at the end. The second and third movements found a more suitable pace, with the orchestra also sounding more confident. Throughout, Galway played with a clear golden tone that shaped the most pleasing phrases. Mozart’s Symphony No 29 in A, K201, one of his better known early symphonies, followed. In the first two movements, Galway took an expansive view that slightly bordered lethargic. Despite this, the CCOHK responded most eloquently, with humour in the Minuet and with panache in the finale.

Arranged by David Overton especially for Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway, The Magic Flutes opened the second half. The three-movement suite consists of snippets of Mozart melodies expertly and amusingly woven together, was delightfully played. Augmenting a rather short second half were a series of encores that included Mozart’s Ronda alla turca (for two flutes), two Irish traditional – Brian Boru’s March and Danny Boy/Londonderry Air; and Bach’s Badinerie (Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor final movement).

Overall, the performance was very well received and showed Galway’s technical brilliance and superb showmanship remained impeccable.

read online:

Satoshi Kyo, TimeOut

September 2012
English Recorder Concertos (Review)
Performed by the incomparable instrumental soloist Michala Petri and the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong under the direction of conductor Jean Thorel, these varied pieces demonstrate the range of once-maligned woodwind. From the dramatic opening of Harvey's Concerto Incantanto through the pastoral meanderings of Jacob's Suite for Recorder and Strings, this is the music of European myth and history. Recommended.
Chris Morgan, Scene

September 2012
English Recorder Concertos (Review)
What a lovely disc this is! This is a collection of three English recorderconcertos by Malcolm Arnold, Gordon Jacob, and Richard Harvey. The recorders are accompanied by a delicate orchestra, consisting of strings, flutes, clarinets, harp, celesta, and percussion. Harvey's concerto is a most enjoyable discovery, and so there's really nothing to do but to go out and purchase this CD!
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare

June 2012
English Recorder Concertos (Review)
Petri’s crystal clear virtuosity finds an ideal partner in perfectly balanced, idiomatic and sensitive accompaniments of the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong conducted by Jean Thorel. A highly recommended CD that will not only delight recorder fans, but will also appeal to a wide audience!
Klassik Heute

May 2012
English Recorder Concertos (Review)
“This is one of the best CDs of recorder music that I have ever heard. Michala Petri…has given a superb performance. Jean Thorel at the helm of the City Chamber Orchestra has contributed a sympathetic accompaniment to these three concertos. This is an enjoyable CD that is well played and features a diverse programme.The presentation of the disc is impressive: it looks and feels good. The sound quality is excellent.” 
MusicWeb International