In partnership with SASCO, Sai Kung Sound Collective, we brought world-class performances to inspire young people. Thank you to all our musicians and composers for their time and passion!
Some of Hong Kong’s most internationally acclaimed artists took to the stage at the Hong Kong Academy as Sai Kung Sound Collective (Sasco) kicked off its first season, presenting an electrifying mix of chamber music, operatic scenes, improvisation, and works by living composers.
Richard Bamping, cello
Richard Bamping has held the title of Principal Cellist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic since 1993. His many solo appearances with the Philharmonic have been greeted with critical acclaim. He has also performed with many of the leading orchestras in Europe, including the Philharmonia, the Royal Philharmonic and the European Community Chamber Orchestras, and served for four years as Principal Cellist with the London Soloists’ Chamber Orchestra. In 1990, Leonard Bernstein chose Richard Bamping to play Principal Cello for the first Pacific Music Festival in Japan, where he also worked closely with Michael Tilson Thomas and Marin Alsop. As a freelance cellist based in London, Richard Bamping played in many chamber music ensembles performing across the United Kingdom, Europe and the US. In 2016, Richard performed Tan Dun’s concerto The Map in Taiwan and Shenzhen, under the baton of the composer. He has had a very broad musical education studying cello with Elizabeth Wilson, Raphael Wallfisch, Amedeo Baldovino, Ralph Kirschbaum, Paul Tortelier, David Geringas, Aldo Parisot, Janos Starker, Timothy Hugh and Steven Isserlis. In the field of chamber music, he has studied with the Amadeus, Alban Berg, Delme, Takacs and Allegri String Quartets, and with David Takeno, Eli Goren, Emmanuel Hurwitz, Gyorgy Kurtag, and Peter Norris. Richard’s cello, dated 1674 was made in Cremona by Andrea Guarneri and is one of only 8 surviving examples of his work.
Yoonie Han, piano
Praised for her “flowing tones, poetic phrasing and heavenly singing melodies” (Cincinnati Inquirer), and “musical imagination and feel for complex textures that drew vivid images” (Washington Post), South Korean pianist Yoonie Han has won top prizes in distinguished international competitions and the highest accolades for her poetic performances in major concert halls in the U.S. and around the world. In 2009, Ms. Han was honored with the Gawon Music Award as the “most brilliant pianist aged 17 to 31 of any nationality who possesses the most promising potential for global prominence.” She is the first-prize winner of the Washington International Piano Competition, Fulbright Concerto Competition, World Piano Competition, Kosciuszko Chopin Competition, Juilliard’s Gina Bachauer Piano Competition, Juilliard’s Frederich Nordmann Piano Competition, Music Teachers’ National Association Piano Competition, and has garnered a number of other major prizes. She tours widely, and has played at venues such as Berlin Philharmonie, Concertgebouw, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Frick Collection, Symphony Space, Tanglewood Festival, Phillips Collection, Bergamo Festival in Italy, Salle Cortot in Paris, Mozart Museum in Czech Republic, and SeJong Performing Arts Center in Korea. Yoonie Han is a Steinway Concert & Recording Artist.
Born Lau, violin
Praised for his “immaculately refined” playing (The Philadelphia Inquirer), violist Born Lau has appeared internationally both as a soloist and chamber musician. A prize-winner of the 2014 Primrose International Viola Competition and the 2012 Astral National Auditions, he has recently performed in countries such as Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and numerous cities in the United States and China. 2018 season highlights include an appearance at the Kuhmo Chamber Festival in Finland, at the Musicus Fest in Hong Kong, and a chamber music tour in Thailand. Career highlights have included performances as a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, performance at the Henry A. Kissinger Prize ceremony in Berlin, and a concert with the esteemed Tokyo String Quartet in Los Angeles. Lau has served as Principal Violist of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and Symphony in C, as well as Guest Principal Violist of San Diego Symphony and Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra. He has recently been appointed as the new Principal Violist of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Lau received his education from the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Colburn Conservatory of Music. He has studied with viola teachers including Roberto Diaz, Paul Coletti and Richard Fleischman. Chamber music studies with members of the Emerson, Guarneri and Tokyo String Quartets. He has given master classes throughout the world, including the Soochow University (Suzhou, China), the New World School of the Arts (Miami, USA), Washington Conservatory of Music, and the Baptist University (Hong Kong).
Patrick Yim, violin
Honolulu-born violinist Patrick Yim has performed as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral violinist throughout the world, including performances at Carnegie Hall and David Geffen Hall (New York), Seoul Arts Center, Harpa Concert Hall (Reykjavík), Hong Kong City Hall, Severance Hall (Cleveland), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Teatro alla Scala (Milan), and the Musikverein (Vienna). He made his solo debut with the Honolulu Symphony after winning the Honolulu Symphony Concerto Competition, and has performed with the Hawaii Symphony, as well as the Cleveland Orchestra on tours to throughout the US and Europe. Yim has performed chamber music with members of the Juilliard, Emerson, St. Lawrence, Pacifica, and Ying Quartets, as well as with musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, and has also performed at festivals throughout Asia, Europe, and North America, including a recent performance at the Carnegie Hall with members of the Emerson Quartet. As Guest Music Director of the Collegium Musicum Hong Kong, he collaborated with world-renowned pipa virtuoso Wu Man and performed concerts at the Hong Kong City Hall as violinist and conductor. He has performed world premieres at festivals in the United States and Europe, and he recently curated a series of concerts related to the Silk Road at the Hong Kong Museum of History for which he commissioned and premiered a number of new works for solo violin. He has performed with the Contemporary Chamber Players (New York) and the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble. In 2018, he commissioned and premiered two new works with Juilliard Quartet violinist Joel Smirnoff. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Music at Hong Kong Baptist University.
Rebekah AuYeung, soprano
American soprano Rebekah AuYeung received her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Rebekah has performed the roles of Almirena in Handel's Rinaldo, Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, and Diana Barry in Campbell’s Anne of Green Gables. In 2016, she also sang the role of Ophelia in Musica Viva’s production of Shakespearean opera scenes. Oratorio highlights include performing Bach’s Cantata 51 on the New York Philharmonic Chamber Series, and Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Creation with the South Dakota Symphony. Her oratorio credits also include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Grieg’s Peer Gynt, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate and Vesperae solennes de confessore, and Strauss’ Four Last Songs. And she is now the proud mommy of a 1-year old girl!
The music of George Tsontakis has been performed and broadcast by major orchestras, chamber ensembles, and festivals throughout the world. In 1995, Tsontakis was honored with an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was the fourth recipient of the Ives Living Fellowship in 2007. Pianist Stephen Hough's recording of Tsontakis's Ghost Variations on Hyperion Records was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, and made it into Time magazine’s 1998 list of Top Ten Recordings. Tsontakis received the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin in 2002, and the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for his Violin Concerto No. 2 in 2005. A proficient conductor of orchestral and choral music, Tsontakis has been a composer-in-residence with the Aspen Music Festival, and conductor and the founding director of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble at the Aspen Music School, where he currently teaches composition.
George Tsontakis, guest composer
Native of Russia, Natalia Tokar completed her Master’s and Doctoral studies (Aspirantura) at the prestigious Saint-Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in Russia with special emphasis in solo and collaborative piano, pedagogy, and harpsichord. In 2014 she was awarded a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Michigan State University, USA, where she focused on solo performance, vocal coaching and accompanying. She studied primarily with Prof. Nadezhda Eismont and Prof. Deborah Moriarty. Ms. Tokar made her debut with Kaliningrad Philharmonic in 1998. Since that time, she has been actively performing as soloist and collaborator in Russia, The United States and Hong Kong including performances in St. Petersburg Glazunov and Philharmonic Halls, Carnegie Hall (Weil Recital Hall), and Hong Kong City Hall. She has received awards and honors from several competitions and conferences. As an active collaborative pianist and coach she has worked for numerous festivals and competitions: The International Week of Conservatories, International Competition of Opera singers “Saint Petersburg” (Russia), NATS, Opera North, W. Byrd competition (USA), to name a few. She has also worked for several universities as a collaborative pianist and instructor including, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, The University of Northern Iowa and Michigan State University, as well as the Mariinsky Theater of Opera and Ballet and St. Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory. Natalia Tokar recorded Schumann’s Enigma, an album of sonatas for violin and piano by Robert Schumann together with Svetlana Tsivinskaya released in September 2016 under the Blue Griffin label (USA) and participated as one of the collaborative pianists for ABRSM vocal curriculum 2017-2018 CD.
Natalia TOKAR, piano
Isaac Droscha, bass-baritone & Artistic Director
Isaac Droscha is an operatic baritone who performs with various companies in the United States, Europe, Russia, and Hong Kong, most recently as Escamillio in Musica Viva’s production of Carmen in Hong Kong, and as Leporello in a production of Don Giovanni at the Estates Theater in Prague. He has performed numerous roles with the Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera New Jersey, Michigan Opera Theater in Detroit, Motor City Lyric Opera on Wheels, and Arbor Opera Theater, for which he serves as a board member. Other major roles include the title roles in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, the Musik Lehrer in Stauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, and Dr. Falke in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. Droscha is also a prolific concert performer of oratorio and art song, and has sung as a soloist with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, the Ann Arbor Sinfonietta, and the Pro Arte Orchestra of Hong Kong. Isaac received his Doctorate in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan on full scholarship, and is currently a lecturer and vocal teacher on the faculty of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Ilari Kaila is a Finnish-American composer and pianist, formerly based in New York City and currently working as Composer-in-Residence on the faculty of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His music has been described as “haunting”, “intriguing”, “engaging … soulful” (The New York Times), “lyrical” (Classic Melbourne), “powerfully resonating” (Helsingin Sanomat), and “melodically euphoric” (Rondo Classic). His recent works have been presented in a MATA composer portrait in New York with the Aizuri Quartet; at the 2015 Chelsea Music Festival in New York City and Taipei as the festival’s Composer-in-Residence; at the Metropolis Festival in Australia by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; on the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra’s tour of Japan; in Finland by the Joensuu Symphony Orchestra; as a Composer Fellow at the Intimacy of Creativity 2014 festival in Hong Kong; at the Banff Centre Summer Arts Festival in Canada; at the 2014 MATA Festival in New York City; the New York International Fringe Festival; and in the “100 Years of Independent Music” project by the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble and the Helsyd Piano Trio (Finland). He has worked with artists and ensembles including Olli Mustonen, the Escher Quartet, the Tanglewood New Fromm Players, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra’s chamber ensembles, among others, and has been awarded in the Mellon Foundation/ASO “Composer to Center Stage” competition, in the IC2014 World Premiere Concert Audience Vote in Hong Kong, and in the Composer Competition of the 9th International Piano Festival in Espoo. Kaila received his PhD in Music Composition from Stony Brook University in 2011, having previously studied at the Sibelius Academy. Before moving to Hong Kong, he taught at Columbia University in New York, and worked as a teaching artist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ilari Kaila, Composer-in-Residence