In recent years, a number of popular Cantonese musicals have been produced in Hong Kong. In this talk series, musicologist Hedy Law explores elements of Cantonese musicals through the work of influential local musical theatre composer/lyricist duo Leon Ko and Chris Shum.

Talk 1: Musical composition with Leon KoTalk 2: Musical lyrics with Chris Shum

Talk 1: Musical composition with Leon Ko

Looking at Leon Ko’s song “Recruitment” from the 2008 Cantonese musical Field of Dreams, Hedy Law explores how Ko combines stylistic elements of black-and-white Cantonese cinema and classic Broadway musicals, Chinese and instrumentation and western orchestration techniques to build climax. She also introduces the song “Tao Te Ching” from Ko and Shum’s musical The Impossible Trial.

In the second half of the session, Law and Ko will have a conversation about his creative process. 

Date:
7 January 2021 (Thursday)

Time:
12:30pm–2:00pm

The talk will be conducted through Microsoft Teams. Registered participants will receive a streaming link with their confirmation email.

Talk 2: Musical lyrics with Chris Shum

In this talk, Hedy Law explores the complexity of Cantonese musical song-writing, examining how Cantonese phonological features influence the writing of musical lyrics, and the three main elements involved in writing: the semantic meanings of words, linguistic tones and rhymes, and the combination of syllables, vowels and tones. Using Chris Shum’s “Singing as One Team” from Field of Dreams as an example, Law explains how Shum uses a combination of tone patterns, vowels and homophones to construct lyrics that serve the story on various levels. Law also analyses the lyrics of “A World in a Grain of Rice” from The Impossible Trial.

The talk ends with a dialogue with Chris Shum, who discusses his creative process and his collaboration with Leon Ko.

Date:
21 January 2021 (Thursday)

Time:
12:30pm–2:00pm

The talk will be conducted through Microsoft Teams. Registered participants will receive a streaming link with their confirmation email.

Language:
Cantonese

Speakers:
Leon Ko
Chris Shum
Hedy Law

Fee:
Free admission. Please register online in advance.

Enquiries:
Please contact Ms Chan at (852) 2200 0812 during office hours or email learning@wkcda.hk.

Adverse Weather Arrangements:
If a black rainstorm warning or a typhoon signal no. 8 or above is in force three hours before the start of the event, the event will be rescheduled or cancelled.

About the Speakers:

Leon Ko

Leon Ko received a Master’s degree in Musical Theatre Writing from New York University. His accolades include a Richard Rodgers Development Award in the US for his musical Heading East, as well as Hong Kong Drama Awards for The Good Person of Szechwan, Legend of the White Snake, Field of Dreams, The Passage Beyond, Our Immortal Cantata and Sing Out. In 2011, his musical Takeaway premiered at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in London. Ko has written scores for a number of films, with his music for Perhaps Love winning Best Original Film Song and Best Original Film Score at the Golden Horse Awards, the Hong Kong Film Awards, the Asia-Pacific Film Festival and the Golden Bauhinia Awards. His title song for The Last Tycoon also earned him a Hong Kong Film Award. Ko collaborated with Hong Kong artist Jacky Cheung as music director for the Mandarin edition of Cheung’s musical Snow. Wolf. Lake., as well as two of Cheung’s concert tours. He has also written overtures and interludes for the Yam Kim Fai and Pak Suet Sin Charitable Foundation Chinese opera productions Princess Chang Ping, The Reincarnation of Red Plum and Shade of Butterfly and Red Pear Blossom.

Chris Shum

Chris Shum is a celebrated lyricist with work spanning musicals, plays, movies, television dramas and pop music. With the song Perhaps Love, he won a Best Original Film Song Award at the Golden Horse Awards and a CASH Golden Sail Music Award. He also received a Hong Kong Film Award for Best Original Film Song for the theme song of The Last Tycoon. In 2018, Shum wrote the script and lyrics for Pica Pica Choose, a collaborative production by Mr Wing Theatre Company (Taiwan) and Yat Po Singers (Hong Kong). His other work includes the script and lyrics for This Victoria has no Secrets (Yat Po Singers) and La Cage aux Folles (Hong Kong Repertory Theatre). He also wrote the Cantonese lyrics for the Disney animations The Lion King (2019) and Frozen 2 (2019), as well as lyrics of the soundtrack for Dante Lam’s upcoming film The Rescue. Shum has authored several books on lyric writing and theatre.

Hedy Law

Hedy LawHedy Law is Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of British Columbia. She received her Ph.D. in Music Theory and History at the University of Chicago. She has published in Cambridge Opera Journal, the Opera Quarterly, Musique et Geste en France: De Lully à la Révolution, the Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies, the Oxford Handbook of Music and Censorship, the Oxford Handbook on Music and the Body, and the collection of essays Noises, Audition, Aurality: History of the Sonic Worlds in Europe, 1500–1918. She co-authored an article on Beethoven's song cycle An die ferne Geliebte for the journal CENTER: Architecture and Design in America. She published a book on the music in Enlightenment France.

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