On 24th April, HKNME and the Osage Gallery hosted one of new music's most celebrated personalities, eminent violist Garth Knox, who oversaw and took part in the day's events.
The day began with a composer portrait concert featuring Garth Knox compositions, which showcases Garth's aesthetic diversity, ranging from the elegant Marin Marais Variations (2007/10) based on Les Folies d'Espagne by the titular composer, the quirky duo Viola Spaces for Two (2006), the unruly concertante chamber piece (aptly titled) Wild Animals (2011), as well as the ever lyrical Stranger (2014), a duet between the viola and the rarely heard viola d'amore. Guest musician Monica Johnston, a specialist in period viola performance, shared in the post-concert discussion - titled "The Violas in My Life" - her experience in mastering the viola d'amore, an instrument that enjoyed immense popularity back in the 17th Century, and the musical challenges in preparing a new work for this highly idiosyncratic instrument.
In the masterclass that followed, four young violists had the chance to play for and learn from Garth, gaining insights into works by Bela Bartok, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Garth himself. Even though COVID pandemic-restrictions has limited Garth to his Paris apartment, his rich musical thinking and passion for teaching is felt even from across the continent.
The day culminated in a recital of solo works for viola, performed by William Lane, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble's founder & artistic director, and Rebecca Tang, Emerging Artist under the HKADC Artistic Internship scheme. Cadenza, a piece for solo viola by Penderecki - which was performed in the masterclass - received a reprise in the recital, in addition to four other short works by young composers selected through HKNME's International Call for Scores 2020. The aesthetic diversity of these works were contextualised and further explored in the post-recital discussion, followed by a Q&A exchange between Garth, the composers and the public in attendance.
Link to programme:
Video highlights: available soon