LSM Newswire

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pianist Rachel Cheung and CAST Philomusica Orchestra celebrates 15th anniversary of Hong Kong SAR

Sunday, October 28 at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Arts



Hong Kong pianist Rachel Cheung, 20, who was already winning international junior piano competitions when she was barely 10,  makes her Canadian debut Sunday, October 28, 7:30 p.m. at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Arts, 10268 Yonge Street (north of Major MacKenzie). The concert is presented by CAST (Chinese Artists Society of Toronto), and the Multi-Culture & Folk Arts Association of Canada.

She joins conductor Erhei Liang and the CAST Philomusica Orchestra in Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor in a concert that honors the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).

Also featured are two acclaimed Toronto-area soloists, violinist Conrad Chow (“full, sweet, seductive intensity of Chow's sound” – Halifax Chronicle Herald) and pianist Ka Kit Tam, who has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.  They join the CAST Philomusica Orchestra for Mozart’s Concerto for Violin and Piano in D major, K. Anh. 56 (315f); and play Chinese music for violin and piano.

As well, the concert will feature narration with orchestra, marking the 15th anniversary of the Hong Kong SAR with music arranged from songs reminiscent of Hong Kong. 

In addition, a violin ensemble of 100 children will perform popular Hong Kong songs.

Tickets, $28, $38 and $50, and $88 VIP ticket are available from  or by phone at 905-787-8811.  For more concert information, call (416) 733-4644

Featured soloist Rachel Cheung is the winner of numerous first prizes and awards in international piano competitions, including the 28th Alessandro Casagrande International Piano Competition in Italy in 2008; and Fifth Prize at the 16th Leeds International Piano Competition.  She was recently a semifinalist at the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.

Besides Rachel Cheung, all of the soloists have a Hong Kong connection.  Ka Kit Tam was born there. He is an active pianist, performing internationally, including in Japan, Germany, Poland, Vienna, Italy and North America. Conrad Chow was born in Toronto to parents from Hong Kong.  Critics have called him a “world-class talent” (Escarpment Views) who “perform[s] with passion . . . leaving the audience deeply intoxicated and spellbound” (Changshu Radio), and have hailed the “full, sweet, seductive intensity of Chow’s sound” (Halifax Chronicle-Herald). Conductor Maestro Liang currently is composer-in-residence with the Hong Kong city Choir.

The Chinese Artists Society of Toronto is headed by Maestro Liang and violinist Alec Hou.  The October 28 concert is presented with funding from the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office.

Currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at Yale University studying under famed pianist Peter Frankl, Rachel Cheung won the Elizabeth Parisot Prize as outstanding pianist of the 2011-2012 school year.

After starting piano lessons at 4, she was admitted to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts at 10, and received her Bachelor of Music Degree with First Class Honours in 2011.

Ms. Cheung has won numerous first prizes and awards in such international piano competitions as Italy’s 28th Alessandro Casagrande International Piano Competition in 2008, the 16th Leeds International Piano Competition, the 2004 Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition in Salt Lake City (First Prize and a Peer Jury Prize for the most popular finalist), and Ukraine’s 2003 International Competition for Young Pianists in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz.  In 2010, she was a semifinalist at the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.

Winner of numerous scholarships, Cheung has been honored by her native Hong Kong, where she frequently performs.  She made her debut at the Hong Kong City Hall and then in Uruguay through the sponsorship of the Hong Kong Chopin Society.  With her solo recital in 2005, she became the youngest soloist ever featured at the 33rd Hong Kong Arts Festival. She has performed as a soloist or with orchestras in China, the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, Poland, Taiwan and Singapore.  In May 2013, she will make her debut at the Royal Concertgebouw in the Netherlands and Bratislava, Slovakia.

Ms. Cheung’s debut DVD, Rachel Cheung – Keyboard Prodigy Live In Recital, Miami International Piano Festival 2005, was released in 2007 by VAIMUSIC.  Her first CD, under the Alpha Omega Sound label of the Chopin Society of Hong Kong, was released in 2009.

Born and raised in Toronto, violinist Conrad Chow currently teaches on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory's Young Artists Performance Academy.  Having started violin studies at age 3, he holds bachelors and masters degrees from Indiana University and his doctorate from the State University of New York.  His performance with one of his celebrated teachers, Ani Kavafian, was hailed as “ornate and satisfying” by the Albany Times Union.

A laureate at the 2006 International Stepping Stone Competition in Quebec, he has performed at such venues as the Salzburg Mozarteum, Qingdao Music Hall in China, UCLA and Disney Hall in LA, and Philadelphia's Kimmel Center. In 2010, he made his Weill Recital Hall debut at Carnegie Hall alongside flautist Samantha Chang and pianist Ellen Meyer. He was a performer and member of the faculty at the Summit Summer Music Festival in New York. Most recently, he performed and taught at the Shandong College of Arts in Jinan, China in December 2010.

KA KIT TAM, piano

Originally from HONG KONG, Ka Kit Tam has performed extensively in solo, chamber music and concerto performances throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and has been broadcast on many European networks.  As a member of the Canzone Trio, Tam made his New York debut at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. 

Prior to immigrating to Canada in 1998, Tam was professor of piano at the Royal Northern College of Music, England.  His piano students have won such international competitions as Holland’s Eduard Flipse International Piano Competition, Poland’s Young Rubinstein International Piano Competition, and England’s Dudley International Piano Competition. He has also served as a jury member on many international competitions.

Mr. Tam has been presented in concert at Koerner Hall and many other Canadian venues, as well as festivals and music schools, performed several concerti with the Canadian Sinfonietta, been on the faculty of the International School for Musical Arts, and featured as a Chinese-Canadian pianist in a documentary on OMNI Television. 

His international activity in recent years includes two summers at the Canna International Chamber Music Festival in southern Italy, a four-piano recital in Hong Kong in 2009 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre; and – with the Canzone Trio – performances at the 2nd Music in the Summer Air International Festival in Shanghai, and in Taiwan and other cities.

ERHEI LIANG, Conductor
Conductor and composer Erhei Liang trained at the Shanghai Conservatory and at Louisiana State University.  He has composed symphonies, concertos, chamber and electronic music, solo and choral works.  His music has been telecast and performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and other venues. An immigrant to Toronto in 1991, he is president of the Chinese Artists Society of Toronto, executive director of the Toronto Chinese Piano & String Teachers’ Association, artistic director of the Academy of Chamber Music for Young Musicians, and composer-in-residence of the Hong Kong City Choir, for which he has composed many choral works.  The Canadian Music Centre recorded his recent multidisciplinary work Songs of Love at its November 2009 premiere in Toronto.

The CAST Philomusica Orchestra was established in 2003, with violinist Alec Hou as artistic director. The orchestra has given numerous performances, under the batons of Tony Fan, Zhi-pie Liu and Shek Ko. It is currently under conductor Erhei Liang.

Chinese Artists Society of Toronto and the Multi-Culture & Folk Arts Association of Canada
Hong Kong SAR 15th Anniversary Celebration Concert
CAST Philomusica Orchestra conducted by Erhei Liang
Wai-Ching Rachel Cheung, piano
Conrad Chow, violin and Ka Kit Tam, piano
Violin ensemble of 100 children

Sunday, October 28, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Richmond Hill Centre for the Arts, 10268 Yonge Street

Schumann: Piano Concerto in A Minor
Mozart: Concerto for Violin and Piano in D major, K. Anh. 56 (315f)
Chinese music for violin and piano
Narration with music arranged from songs reminiscent of Hong Kong
Popular Hong Kong songs (children’s ensemble)

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