Karmen Cheung | Alain Chiu | Romer String Quartet | Teriver Cheung | Jan Curious | Gadjo Station | Nate w/ The Wong Way Down | AMA with Rebecca Li & Jonathan Wu | Music Lab & Strangers | Groove Lee | Nancy Loo | Bonnie Tang | Olivier Cong | Sinking Smoke | Karton Ma | The Black Sheepee | Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra | Simon Yu Electronica Quintet | Mo-Men-T | Christoph Grab | Quarter | Shaolin Fez | Pomegranate Tree | Cassette | Zpecial | Starry Morning | Blaster
Karmen Cheung Yuen-tung is a fearless explorer of life, unabashedly questioning universal values of truth, oneness, commitment, peace and love. Her musical performances and inspiring messages are spine-tingling, life-enhancing and memorably poignant.
At 18, she debuted as an independent solo singer. Having performed for audiences in HK, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Tokyo, Macau and Seoul. She opened for Angie Hart from the Australian band Frente! in 2010 at an international music festival. Karmen is a mature performer beyond her years who sings from her heart, true to her spirit and is passionate about creating a new industry sector supporting independent artists with a meaningful message.
A versatile artist and an insatiable learner, she is proud to be part of a new lifestyle paradigm, a new way of being, co-creating and the respectful advancement of humankind, which became her idea of making music.
An active composer in the music and multimedia scene of Hong Kong, Alain Chiu's music has been performed in concert halls and festivals throughout the world. He is the recipient of the Schulich Scholarship. He is also the Finalist of the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition. Chiu's music was recorded by the Grammy Award winning ensemble Orchestra of Our Time in 2011.
Chiu has received commissions by the West Kowloon Cultural Distract Authority, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Hong Kong Arts Festival Society, Sotheby’s Hong Kong. Chiu’s music was performed at the 40th to the 44th Hong Kong Arts Festival, WKCDA Freespace Micro 2013, 2012 Hong Kong Week at Taipei, Jumping Frames Italy Tour, Cannes Film Festival 2013 & 2014 and Guggenheim UBS - No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia.
Chiu is developing a new composition method: “Woven Composition technique,” with its main focus to examine the use of speech and acting as a musical element; and to find new solutions in hope that different medium could work together to form a more structured approach to multimedia performance.
Photo by Kurt Chan
Named after Hong Kong’s own Romer’s Tree Frog, the Romer String Quartet is a genuinely local ensemble formed by musicians all born and raised in Hong Kong. The quartet has performed at major local and international venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Shanghai Concert Hall and the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and at a number of regional music festivals, such as the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Kota Kinabalu String Music Festival in Malaysia. Together the group have recorded for Radio Television Hong Kong programmes such as “Match-Making Concerts” and “The Works”, and frequently collaborate with composers and multimedia artists around the world.
Teriver Cheung is an internationally touring guitarist and composer. The Hong-Kong born musician is currently an endorsed artist for the D’Angelico Guitars.
Photo by Kitmin Lee
Jan Curious is the frontman of the 5-piece Chochukmo, an indie experimental rock band whose unique style blends rock music with elements of jazz, punk, dance and bossa nova. Known for their energetic live performances, the band were described by TIME as “Perhaps the most charismatic band to have emerged in southern China in recent years.” Through crossover projects with different musicians, the band aims to expand the possibilities of the Hong Kong music scene.
Gadjo Station is a collective of musicians who play Gypsy Jazz. Featuring guitars, sax, clarinet, vocals, double bass and occasionally snare drum, Gadjo Station is a collective specialising in gypsy jazz and music that has its roots in traditional Romani, Eastern European and American Blues/Jazz.
The band's name is the Romani word for a “foreigner”. This reflect their diverse background with musicians coming from Hong Kong, France, and the US. The music that they play has its roots in traditional Romani, Eastern European and American Blues/Jazz.
Local jazz ensemble Nate w/ The Wong Way Down is Hong Kong’s premiere original music jazz ensemble. The Wong Way Down is made up of HK’s some of the city’s edgiest musicians and has its roots in, including former students of The Berklee College of Music of whom Nate Wong (drums), Callum Mackenzie (saxophone) and Max Mckellar (bass) are alumni. Also in the band is, as well as Ruel De La Verde from the Philippines and Han Hau from Hong Kong. WWD has performed at the Hong Kong International Jazz Festival and Guangzhou Opera House Music Fest.
Multi-disciplinary artist AMA is a painter, poet and singer-songwriter who combines a range of expressive art forms into interactive art pieces and performances. Much of her work centers around her fascination with spirituality. In this month’s Freespace Happening, AMA will perform a series of works together with cellist Rebecca Li and percussionist Jonathan Wu.
Once documented in the film “KJ Music and Life”, KJ is now a pianist, a music teacher, an artistic director, an art critic, a columnist and a person. Studied the piano with Nancy Loo, Gabriel Kwok and Emile Naoumoff, he also learned the violin with Yang BaoZhi, Michael Ma and Ho HungYing. Graduated from Indiana University, he primarily focuses on practicing, teaching and performing. After two years of various experiments, KJ now leads the Music Lab Festival, turning a new chapter for himself and local musicians.
Hailing from all parts of the world, this international 10-piece funk band calls Hong Kong its home. The band’s name pays tribute to the city’s biggest hero, Bruce Lee, while its members use his legendary flow as inspiration to play great funky music and have a blast while doing it.
Ms. Nancy Loo is one of Hong Kong's most versatile artists, as pianist, radio programme host, actress and writer. She was a recipient of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award in 1978. She currently teaches piano at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and The Chinese University of Hong Kong and is often invited to host music talks and master-classes and to serve as a juror for piano competitions.
As a pianist, Ms. Loo has given solo recitals and concertos with orchestras in England, Europe, North America and Asia. Locally, she has appeared in the Hong Kong Arts Festival and performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. In addition to founding the piano and woodwind sextet Les Six, she has also worked with numerous local and visiting artists in chamber music concerts. As a keen promoter of contemporary music, she has participated in the annual Musicarama and the ISCM World Music Days Festival.
Bonnie Tang is a Hong Kong-based singer-songwriter with years of experience. In 2013, Tang formed the duo WnB with her partner Waimond Wong. Together they have played at various venues and busked on the streets around the city. Tang enjoys writing her own music and lyrics, and is always looking for new ways to share her songs with a wider audience.
Born on a quiet December night, aspiring singer-songwriter Olivier Cong has a gentle touch of the folky blues. Inspired by Leonard Cohen, Damien Rice, Bob Dylan, Radiohead and Steven Wilson, he honed his skills and confirmed his desire to sing performing in bars and pubs in the UK and Europe. With songs like “Searching for the Raven” and “A Thousand Winds”, Cong conveys a sense of restless wandering and shows clearly that he has found his own path.
Sinking Smoke members Hannah (Vocals/Keyboard), Jovi (Guitar), Ar Pi (Bass) and Keith (Drum) merge their different music backgrounds into a fusion of Dream Pop, Psychedelic Rock and Jazz. They are currently working on new creations that explore the possibilities of alternative music styles.
Up-and-coming singer Karton Ma is known for his dynamic voice and wide range of music styles, both in the studio and live.
Black sheep are as hard to find as good original music, and the happy duo behind The Black Sheepee, guitarist Hei Hei and vocalist Yanny, are dedicated to their on-going exploration in search of refreshing new sounds. With original songs that touch on topics as wide as kindness, concerns for climate change and the joy of making music, and covers that come with an extra twist, The Black Sheepee are a rare delight.
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) is the first professional orchestra in Hong Kong since 1974. Being one of Asia’s leading orchestras, HK Phil has a busy performance schedule of over 150 performances reaching more than 200,000 listeners each season, touring around the world to promote Hong Kong as Asia’s World City. One of the highlights will be the large-scale symphonic event Swire Symphony Under the Stars, which aims to bring classical music to the community. Besides performances, HK Phil also has comprehensive education and outreach programmes to invest in Hong Kong’s musical future. This time, HK Phil once again leads us to step outside the Concert Hall! Come and join the HK Phil brass ensemble, bringing you wonderful music in a spectacular setting.
Guitarist and multimedia artist Simon CF Yu was born in Hong Kong to a family of musicians. Since graduating from Berklee College School of Music, Yu has collaborated with a number of top New York artists, and in 2011 he toured as a lead guitarist with hip-hip icon Lauryn Hill. In 2013 Yu played a sold-out show at the MISA festival in Shanghai with his band The Exotic Experiment. Yu has also performed in major jazz clubs in New York.
Mo-Men-T is a Hong Kong-based quintet with an ultra-modern jazz style. Together the influence of each of the band members creates a unique mixture of musical currents including modern jazz, funk, rock, and post-rock.
Swiss jazz musician Christoph Grab studied under Andy Scherrer, Sal Nistico, Jerry Bergonzi, Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman and others at the Swiss Jazz School Bern, and has toured internationally playing live concerts, as well as doing recordings for radio and television. One of the best known jazz musicians in Switzerland, Grab has performed with the likes of Ray Anderson, Benny Golson, Louis Sclavis, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Irene Schweizer, Axel Dörner, Joe Beck, Mark Egan, Danny Gottlieb, and Harald Haerter. His musical language is energetic, contemporary and fresh, covering a wide range from straight ahead to contemporary jazz, from groove oriented music to electronic soundscapes. Since 1998 Grab has also been a professor of saxophone and improvisation at the Zurich University of the Arts.
Supported by: Connecting Spaces Hong Kong – Zurich / Zurich University of the Arts
Formed by four young, local musicians, Quarter is a two-piano-two-percussion group specialising in contemporary classical music. The group was established in January 2016 at the Modern Academy organised by the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble. Since then, Quarter has been working closely with various composers. They also gave the Asian premiere of Aaron Helgeson’s “If where is of to why” (2008).
Shaolin Fez – “A wondrous, massive, mishmash of a group,” (Time Out Magazine) – launched in 2012 with the release of their album “Calm Your Storm” and made their debut at Clockenflap later that year. Led by HK Philharmonic bassist Samuel Ferrer, the group has become a regular on the local festival circuit and has released six music videos. “Calm Your Storm” included 22 professional musicians, a children’s choir, the acoustic guitar work of a 2012 Grammy nominee, and was mixed by one of Hollywood’s most accomplished engineers (of major films such as “Frozen”).
In some cultures, the pomegranate fruit symbolises the washing away of worries. The band hope that their songs can erase people’s sorrows and help them find meaning in their lives.
Music duo Cassette is made up of singer Aeolus and programmer Johnny, who came together through a shared interest in experimentation. Playing with different music genres and styles, Cassette create music on their own terms.
Local independent band Zpecial was established in September 2009. Trained by local favourites ToNick and Kolor, they won the Hong Kong Division of the “YAMAHA Asian Beat 2014” and represented the city in the finals in Japan the same year.
The three local buskers that make up Starry Morning – Tiksan on vocals and guitar, Joshua on keyboard, and Judah on cajón – are keen music lovers eager to share their passion with the public.
Blaster was formed in April 2009 by five ardent music lovers. Playing a range of genres and styles, the band hope to energise audiences with their positive sounds and pass on the conviction that music is an international language that can bring people together everywhere.