MA Sicong (1912-1987): Nostalgia from Inner Mongolia Suite for violin and piano (1937)
Angel LAM (b. 1978): Mist of Scented Harbour for solo violin (2019) +
Austin YIP (b. 1985): Violin Concerto No. 1: Generation for violin and piano (2019) +
QIN Yong Cheng (1933-2015): Seaside Tone Poem for violin and piano (1962)
CHEN Yi (b. 1953): Memory for solo violin (2011)
Fung LAM (b. 1979): Monologue V for solo violin (2019) +*
Daniel LO (b. 1986): The Catalog: I (A-E) for solo violin (2019) +*
CHEN Gang (b. 1935): Sunshine Over Tashkurgan for violin and piano (1976)
+ denotes work commissioned by Patrick Yim
* denotes world premiere performance
About the Artists
Honolulu-born violinist Patrick T.S. Yim has performed as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral violinist throughout the world, including performances in 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. In recent years, he has performed concerti of Bach, Brahms, Bruch, Mozart, and Lalo. He has performed in the violin sections of the Hawaii Symphony and The Cleveland Orchestra, among others. He joined The Cleveland Orchestra on tours to New York City, Chicago, Bloomington, Iowa City, Miami, and major cities in Europe, including Paris, Milan, Brussels, Luxembourg, Cologne, Munich, and Vienna.
Yim has performed chamber music with members of the Juilliard, Emerson, St. Lawrence, Pacifica, and Ying Quartets, musicians from The Cleveland Orchestra and New York Philharmonic, and principal players from the Shanghai Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic. He has also performed at festivals in Canada (Banff and Toronto Summer Music Festival), China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, South Korea, and throughout the United States, including a recent performance in 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 violin soloist and conductor.
Yim has commissioned more than a dozen works and performed the works around the world at world-class museum galleries (Hong Kong Museum of History and the National Museum of Denmark), concert halls (Seoul Arts Center; Sheung Wan Civic Center and Tai Kwun Center for Heritage and Arts in Hong Kong; Goethe Institut in Kolkata, India; Arts Rotunda at the American University of Sharjah, UAE; Bactria Cultural Centre in Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Grusin Hall at the University of Colorado, Boulder), and as part of international music festivals (2018 Seoul International Computer Music Festival, the 2018 New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, the 2019 Flatirons Chamber Music Festival (Boulder, CO, USA), the 2019 Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival (Germany) and the New Music for Strings Festival (Reykjavik, Iceland).)
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 new works for solo violin by Michael-Thomas Foumai (Honolulu), Austin Yip (Hong Kong), and Yao Chen (Beijing). 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.
Yim has taught violin and chamber music and presented lectures at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Stony Brook University, the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory Department, the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, the Flatirons Chamber Music Festival, the Rushmore Music Festival, and the Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival (Germany). He has taught masterclasses and workshops in the United States, Germany, Denmark, Iceland, India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China.
He is a graduate with honors of the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was a student of David Updegraff and William Preucil and was awarded the First Prize at the Institute’s Darius Milhaud Performance Prize Competition for two consecutive years. At CIM, he studied chamber music with the Cavani Quartet and Peter Salaff of the Cleveland Quartet. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University where he studied violin with Philip Setzer, Jennifer Frautschi, and Hagai Shaham, and chamber music with the Emerson Quartet.
Yim was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the United States Department of State for his “outstanding musical performance on May 4, 2019 in Dushanbe, which contributed directly to the development of diplomatic and cultural ties between the United States and Tajikistan.”
Linda YIM: https://www.lindayimpianist.com/biography
Dynamic young Hong Kong-based pianist Linda Yim performs actively as a soloist and chamber musician worldwide. In addition to frequent solo and recital work, she is also a sensitive and masterful accompanist and ensemble musician. She has collaborated with many internationally renowned musicians including bass-baritone Hao Jiang Tian and clarinettist Julian Bliss. Linda has worked with a diverse range of orchestras and groups including the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Zuni Icosahedron and the Hong Kong Bach Choir. She has given performances in China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia and the United Kingdom. Other than the piano, she also plays the harpsichord and organ in orchestra performances.
As an active member of the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Linda is a keen advocate of modern works. She is frequently invited to perform in modern music festivals around the globe, including Shanghai, Malaysia and Cambodia, in addition to regular appearances in Hong Kong. She often participates in local contemporary music festivals and events such as the annual RTHK Radio 4 New Generation concert, Musicarama, the New Vision Arts Festival and events presented by Hong Kong Composers’ Guild. Linda also gives world premiere performances for local and overseas composers on a regular basis. Other notable contemporary music engagements have included a collaboration with the Stroma New Music Ensemble of New Zealand.
In 2012, together with the American pianist Thomas Rosenkranz, Linda formed the international piano duo Tattoo in the aim of providing a platform for composers to create new works for this combination. The duo’s plans for 2014–15 include recitals in Hong Kong and a series of educational performances in mainland Chinese universities.
In addition to her work as a performer, Linda is a passionate proponent of music education, both classical and modern. She is currently teaching at Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Institute of Education, HKU School of Professional and Continuing Education and CUHK School of Continuing and Professional Studies (CUSCS). In 2011, Linda began offering introductory courses in modern music, with the desire to deepen others’ understanding of the genre and inspire new talents. In 2012, she taught a course on accompaniment in the Diploma programme in Collaborative Piano Studies at CUSCS.
Linda’s musical journey began at a young age. Taking up the piano at the age of eight, she later graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, the Royal College of Music, London and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where she obtained her Master of Arts degree majoring in piano. During her studies, Linda’s achievements were recognised with numerous distinctions and a number of scholarships, including the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund in 1998 and 1999, and the Molly McAulay Memorial Scholarship in 2002. She has studied under renowned pianists including Shao Yuen Xin, Nancy Loo, Niel Immermann, Stephanie McCallum and the late Ukrainian master Irina Zaritskaya.
Welcome! It is my pleasure to present this recital Nostalgia. In designing this program, I have sought to create a space for reflection through an uplifting concert experience that celebrates the past, and offers hope and inspires a positive outlook on the future.
The tumultuousness of 20th century China proved a poignant backdrop for Chinese composers to write gorgeous, heartbreaking melodies longing for the celebrated past of the country. In this recital, I present three such works by Ma, Qin, and Chen, respectively, that, unfortunately, are not well-known beyond Chinese conservatories.
Just as Chinese composers reflected on an earlier time, I asked four Hong Kong composers to write music looking back on Hong Kong culture and history, to preserve treasured memories of the past through music written today. I am convinced that the innovative harmonies, rhythms, and colors of these brilliant new compositions by Hong Kong composers will leave listeners assured of the talent and ingenuity of Hong Kong and offer hope and a positive outlook on the future.
I hope you enjoy the performance,
MA Sicong: Nostalgia from Inner Mongolia Suite.
Born in 1913 in Haifeng, Guangdong, Ma Sicong was an accomplished violinist who studied at the Conservatoire de Paris and concertized around the world. He served as President of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and he is remembered as a prolific composer of violin music. Nostalgia for violin and piano, which is taken from his Inner Mongolia Suite based on traditional music of the Suiyuan region, is his best-known work.
Angel LAM: Mist of Scented Harbour. Notes by the composer.
Once upon a time, there was a village in the far-southeastern seashore. It was a small, quiet, humid village where fishermen and farmers lived. In its lush green forest, grew a tree that produces a rare, fragrant dark wood in the heartwood of its trunk. The fragrant resin is only produced when the tree gets sick. This scarce dark wood is highly praised in the Near East and Far East for its deep woody and floral fragrance to create incense. Its scent is said to be sacred, when the resin is ingested, it relieves pain. The price, it is like liquid gold. For centuries, people of this seashore harvested and shipped these dark woods to far away lands. But all this has long been forgotten.
Hundreds of years passed, the British colonized this quiet seashore town. One hundred years after that, it became an international financial metropolis. These beautifully scented woods and trees, which I have never heard of growing up, can still be found but are nearly extinct.
This is a little known history about my hometown, a city that still calls itself the Scented Harbour—Hong Kong.
II. Chrysanthemum garden
There are only a handful of nursery rhymes in my hometown’s dialect, my grandmother had recited many of them to me as a child. They are rhymes, not songs. In fact, only one rhyme had been set to music in this past century!
One of the rhymes in particular intrigued me as a child, translated as such:
Merry merry go round and round
In the chrysanthemums garden
Fried rice cakes, sticky rice sweets
Mother takes me to see the Dragon Boat Festival
But I don’t want to see
I want to see chicks
Chicks grow up,
Sell it at the market
How much is it worth?
How much is it worth?
It is worth three hundred coins!
When I was eleven, my father took me via a motorcycle ride to a rural part of southern China, two hours away from Hong Kong. We visited a fish farm. I met a little girl about 7 or 8 years old. We sat on the cold floor with flip-flops, she started showing me how to count the goldfish she had just scooped out from the fish pond. It needs to be categorized—oversized, undersized, deformed, and standard. She put her ice-cold hands in the water bucket, and scooped out each fish to examine them. She said to me, “I must categorize perfectly or my daddy will lose money.” I remember it was a windy winter day, the water temperature was not more than 10 degrees Celsius.
Rural ways of life is long lost in the memories of metropolitan Hong Kong, but I was able to glimpse at their lifestyle in the rural parts of Canton during the 1990s. Now, there are fewer and fewer of these countryside near Hong Kong.
That night, I could not sleep. I could not stop thinking about that little girl, even years later. I decided to set this rhyme to music.
This movement is an impressionist sketch on contemporary Hong Kong. I grew up during the “golden age” of the blossoming city. I witnessed the world’s best delivered to its door—over a few decades the city became a mega international metropolis. Since I was a child, it was always full of colors; neon street billboard signs lined every main street, a thriving gem-like harbor, and super fast-paced, efficient people served every walk of life. The busy, crowded streets at every corner and eateries were our way of life. It was our meaning of life! The city was affordable too, thanks to a well-maintained system and invaluable resources.
I sincerely wish Hong Kong will overcome its current trying challenges. I hope I didn’t allow any part of my fear and sadness spill into this score, my beautiful memories of Hong Kong.
Austin YIP: Violin Concerto No. 1: Generation. Notes by the composer.
Violin Concerto No.1: Generation is written for violin and symphonic band. The three movements work, bounded by a short “Prologue” and an “Epilogue”, depicts people of the Generation Z, Y and X in Hong Kong respectively. The first movement “Generation Z” is gloomy in nature, it depicts the difficult situations young people have at the moment. It is followed by a very busy second movement “Generation Y”, who are now at their thirties, working day and night for survival. The third movement “Generation X” has a mixture of moods, it begins and ends with quotations from the famous Cantonese opera Dainuifa, reminding the composer’s childhood memory of his parent’s musical interest. All the movements are played without pause. Sometimes, an optional cadenza (Omega) is played before the “Epilogue”. Violin Concerto No.1: Generation is co-commissioned by Hong Kong Festival Wind Orchestra and violinist Dr. Patrick Yim.
QIN Yong Cheng: Seaside Tone Poem.
Born in Liaoning Province, Chinese composer Qin is best known for his song My Motherland and Me. His compositions are beloved for the beautiful melodies and evocative imagery. In this work featuring the singing quality of the violin, Qin describes seaside scenery including gentle breezes of the wind, the rise and fall of the waves, the sound of flowing water, and passing clouds. The music builds to middle section cadenza for the violin and concludes in a contemplative, ponderous mood.
CHEN Yi: Memory. Notes by the publisher.
Truly masterful in her ability to marry Western performance ideals with the folk music of China, Chen Yi wrote this plaintive memorial work in tribute to the passing of her teacher, Professor Lin Yaoji. In the program notes, the composer speaks to her mentor: “I wish you could hear the tune in my Memory, which sounds like my painful cry out of your name in our Cantonese dialect. I expressed my deep sorrow in the music, to remember your fatherly mentorship.
Fung LAM: Monologue V. Notes by the composer.
While my orchestral compositions have become the backbone of my composition career, I feel that my solo/chamber works often showcase the more intimate and reflective side of my output. This work is the fifth and latest in my Monologue series, which began 20 years ago.
Daniel LO: The Catalog: I (A-E). Notes by the composer.
The topic of nostalgia reminded me of a book written by Hong Kong writer Dung Kai-cheung. The book contains 99 short novels on people and things that used to be very popular in 1998 to 1999. The brevity of the novels (each no longer than 1000 words) is suggestive of the short-lived fads. The title of this musical work points to the very book that offered me a source of inspiration.
This short composition contains 5 miniature movements (A-E) that run on from one to another without any pause in between. The movements could be played in any order as the performer wishes. More movements may be added to make a longer piece. This work is a tribute to Hungarian composer György Kurtág who is noted for using extremely short movements in an attempt to exhaust the expressivity possibilities of a musical material. I have in mind a collection of works on the same theme, each intended for a different instrumentation. This violin solo is the first of the series.
The musical material explored in this piece is derived from a familiar ringing tone that has gradually faded out of our city’s daily soundscape. That ringing tone has a very interesting melodic contour and I have used it as the basis for developing variations in the miniature movements.
CHEN Gang: Sunshine Over Tashkurgan.
Born in Shanghai, Chen is best known as the co-composer of the Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto. Sunshine Over Taskurgan is a virtuoso violin work that features the musical flavours of Central Asia. The work includes a passage in which the composer has the violin imitate the dombra, a traditional Kazak plucked instrument, and concludes with dazzling pyrotechnics.