Festival Artists

James Ehnes has established himself as one of the foremost violinists of his generation. Alongside his concerto work, he maintains a busy recital schedule. He performs regularly at the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Center Chicago, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Ravinia, Montreux, Chaise-Dieu, the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg, Festival de Pâques in Aix, and in 2009 he made a sensational debut at the Salzburg Festival performing the Paganini Caprices.

Ehnes has an extensive discography and has won many awards for his recordings including a Gramophone Award for his live recording of the Elgar Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis and the Philharmonia Orchestra. His recording of the Korngold, Barber and Walton violin concertos won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Instrumental Soloist Performance’ and a JUNO award for ‘Best Classical Album of the Year’. Recent releases include sonatas by Beethoven, Debussy, Elgar and Respighi, and concertos by Britten, Shostakovich and Prokofiev, as well as the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Manze, which was released in October 2017.

Ehnes began violin studies at the age of four, made his orchestral debut with Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal aged 13 and graduated from The Juilliard School in 1997, winning the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2010 was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.

James Ehnes plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715.

Praised by critics for his passionate expression and dazzling technique, pianist Andrew Armstrong has delighted audiences around the world. He has appeared in solo recitals and with orchestras in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States and in chamber music with violinist James Ehnes, cellist Robert deMaine, the Elias, Alexander, American and Manhattan String Quartets, as a member of the Caramoor Virtuosi, the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, and Amelia Piano Trio. His solo recordings feature works by Rachmaninov, Mussorgsky, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, and the world premiere recording of Bielawa’s Wait for piano & drone (Cordelia Records). He has also released several award-winning recordings with his longtime recital partner James Ehnes including works by Bartók, Prokofiev, Tartini, Leclair, Franck, and Strauss. Andrew is devoted to outreach programs and playing for children. In addition to his many concerts, his performances are heard regularly on National Public Radio and WQXR, New York City’s premier classical music station.

Laureate of the prestigious 2015 Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition, violinist William Wei received this critical acclaim for his final round Shostakovich Concerto performance from the newspaper Le Soir “…he burns all his passion and freedom in the music till the end.”

Other important solo appearances include the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall, and the Bruch Scottish Fantasy with the Juilliard Orchestra and Mendelssohn double concerto with Sejong Soloists at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

In addition, William has toured for performances with the Belgium National Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Taipei Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan String Academy, and Mainzer Virtuosi. His festival appearances range from Green Mountain Music Festival in Vermont, to Casalmaggiore music festival in Italy, and venues such as Henry le Boeuf Hall in Belgium, Gasteig Concert Hall in Munich, and Cremona Stradivari Museum (Museo del Violino). William has collaborated with renowned musicians Gil Shaham, Marin Alsop, Jahja Ling, Nai Yuan Hu, Cho Liang Lin, Orion Weiss and Gilbert Varga.

William began his violin lessons at age five in his native Taiwan. He recently completed his Bachelor of Music Degree studies at Juilliard with Hyo Kang and I-Hao Lee, as a recipient of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation Scholarship. Mr. Wei performs on an Antonio Stradivarius violin, Cremona, 1683, ex-Cobbett, on loan from Mr. Higgin Kim, Chairman of Byucksan Engineering Co. Ltd through the Stradivari Society of Chicago and Sejong Soloists.

Violist Paul Laraia has a multifaceted career as chamber musician, soloist, string quartet violist, and new music performer.  Acclaimed for offering “long lines with lyricism and poise”, Paul has in recent seasons been soloist with the orchestras of Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Bogata, New Jersey, Nashville, and St. Paul.  As a member of Sejong Soloists and violist of the Catalyst Quartet since 2013, Paul has performed globally in major venues such as Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, the Kennedy Center in DC, Seoul Arts Center, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, and Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series.  Major festival appearances include Yellow Barn, Sarasota, Festival Del Sole, Sitka, Banff, Grand Canyon, and Cornell’s “Mayfest”.

Paul began his viola studies with Brynina Socolofsky, pursuing advanced study with CJ Chang and Che-hung Chen. He completed his bachelor’s degree at New England Conservatory of Music under Kim Kashkashian, with full scholarship.

In 2011 Paul won First Prize at Detroit’s Sphinx Competition by unanimous vote, and maintains a close relationship with the Sphinx Organization and its mission.   

Paul is committed to bringing the highest level of performance to all people, exploring the boundaries of what is traditionally presented as “classical music”.  His Quartet has presented concerts to inner city schools, Native American Reservations, hospitals, nursing homes, and to communities with limited access to classical music.

Korean-born cellist Na-Young Baek made her American debut with the Philadelphia orchestra in 2000. She has also appeared as soloist with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, DuPage Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, and the Korean Chamber Ensemble. Recent highlights include playing Dvorak Cello Concerto with Wonju Philharmonic Orchestra at Seoul Arts Center and Greenwich Village Orchestra in New York City.

She was the youngest winner in history of the prestigious Choong Ang Times competition in Korea and was also awarded the “Virtuoso Prize” at the first Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Moscow, Russia. She won the first prize in Hudson Valley Philharmonic Competition and the Holland-America Music Society Competition. An avid chamber musician, she has performed at Marlboro Music Festival, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Casals Festival in Prades, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Isaac Stern Seminar in Israel. At 15, Ms. Baek entered Curtis as a student of Orlando Cole. She pursued studies with Aldo Parisot on a full-scholarship at Yale School of Music, where she received the “Aldo Parisot Prize.” After the Artist Diploma program at Juilliard, she completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Stony Brook University, where she studied and performed with Colin Carr. Her dissertation, “Historically Informed Playing of Bach Suite No. 5”, was based on the comparison of the fifth cello suite with the corresponding g minor suite written for the lute.

Critically acclaimed Canadian violinist Jing Wang is one of the most versatile and dynamic violinists of his generation. Since his solo recital debut in Marseilles, France at the age of six, Wang has garnered prizes in top international competitions, including the first prize at the 2007 Irving M. Klein International Strings Competition. In 2003, Wang was awarded the “Young Soloist of the Year” by Les Radios Francophones Publiques, a broadcast network of four countries including France, Canada, Switzerland, and Belgium. As a part of the award, Wang’s first CD album including works by Beethoven, Ravel and Gershwin was released in Europe.

Wang has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras in Europe and North America, including Czech Radio Philharmonic, the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, l’Orchestre National de Lorraine, l’Orchestre de Picardie, the Metropolitan Orchestra of Montreal, and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He has played with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta and in November will perform with China Philharmonic under Maestro Osmo Vanska. He has collaborated with renowned conductors such as James DePreist, Claus Peter Flor, Yoav Talmi, Jacques Lacombe, Joseph Rescigno and Anne Manson.

Wang’s chamber music performances and solo recitals at major venues, such as National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and Lincoln Center, received critical acclaim and his performances are heard frequently on CBC Radio-Canada. Additionally, Wang is one of the founding members of Ensemble75, a chamber music series based in Dallas, Texas.

Under Maestro Graeme Jenkins, Wang was the Concertmaster of the Dallas Opera from 2010-2013. He previously served as guest Concertmaster for the Kansas City Symphony under Maestro Michael Stern and the San Antonio Symphony under Maestro Sebastian Lang-Lessing. Appointed by Maestro Jaap van Zweden, Wang is currently Concertmaster of the Hong Kong Philharmonic since 2013. He plays a 1760 G.B. Guadagnini violin, a loan arranged by the Y. S. Liu Foundation.

A native of Hong Kong, Andrew Ling is currently the Principal Violist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He has performed solo performances with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra to critical acclaim. In the past, he had assumed the role of concertmaster at the IU Concert Orchestra, the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, and the principal violist of the IU Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ling had recently conducted the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra educational project in rehearsal for the late Maestro Lorin Maazel. He also conducted the Seinäjoki symphony orchestra and Kuopio Symphony Orchestra in Finland. He is also the guest conductor for Hong Kong Baptist University symphony orchestra. He has worked with maestros including Jaap van Zweden, Edo de Wart, Leonard Slatkin, Lorin Maazel, to name a few.

Ling began studying the violin at the age of six under the tutelage of the late Professor Lin Yaoji of the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing. As a child, he toured around the world as a violin soloist with the Hong Kong Yip’s Children’s Choir, He has also collaborated with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and the China Film Philharmonic Orchestra, and has given recitals in Hong Kong, the North America and Europe.

Ling is an active chamber musician, having performed with Cho-Liang Lin, Jaime Laredo, the Shanghai String Quartet and has been invited as a guest artist at the Chamber Residency of Banff Centre in Canada and the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival.

A dedicated music educator, Ling has directed The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Orchestral Fellowship Scheme as well as been invited to teach at the NTSO Youth Music Camp in Taiwan. He is currently an adjunct faculty member of the Hong Kong Baptist University and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

Ling completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at the Indiana University, and have studied at Rice University in Houston. He has had a broad musical education having studied with Henryk Kowalski, Ik-Hwan Bae, Alan de Veritch and Cho-Liang Lin.

Richard Bamping has been the Principal Cellist of the HK Phil since 1993. He has performed with many of the finest musicians of recent history—Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Leonidas Kavakos, Mstislav Rostropovich, Carlo Maria Guilini, Valery Gergiev, Leonard Bernstein, Lorin Maazel, Sir Colin Davis and Claudio Abbado, to name but a few.

Bamping has performed many of the staples of the solo cello repertoire with orchestras from Europe to the Far East. He has a great passion for playing chamber music with friends and colleagues whenever he gets the chance.

Bamping’s cello, dated 1674 was made in Cremona by Andrea Guarneri and is one of only nine surviving examples of his work.

Zhao Yingna currently holds the position of Principal Second Violin of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Prior to coming to Hong Kong, Zhao has attended the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin where she received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. While in Germany, she was the Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin. In 2005, she was first appointed concertmaster and soloist of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra, which collaborated with world-renowned conductors such as Christoph Eschenbach, Christopher Hogwood, Herbert Blomstedt, Ivan Fischer, and Mikhail Pletnev.

Zhao was a first prize winner of the International Violin Competition, “Andrea Postacchini” in Italy. She was also a winner of the “Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben” of Hamburg, in recognition of which she was awarded a Carlo Giuseppe Testore violin from the German Music Instruments Foundation.

Korean violinist, Rami Yoo, is a graduate of Peabody Conservatory of Music (Master of Music), and Yonsei University. She performed as the member of Korean Symphony Orchestra, Festival Orchestra of Seoul Arts Center, and KT Chamber Orchestra. Ms.Yoo also performed in numerous solo recitals including at the Seoul Arts Center, Youngsan Art Hall, Sejong Chamber Hall, and LA Korea Center. She participated and performed in the Asia-Pacific United Orchestra Europe tour in 2012 and Vienna Music festival.

Ms. Yoo was a violin faculty at the Yonsei University, Yewon School of music and Seoul Arts Center Music Academy for young artists in Korea.

HKGNA Friends & Stars of Tomorrow

Cheung Man Ting Grace has an innate musical talent and was first introduced to the piano at the age of three. In 2011, Grace studied Piano with renowned pianist Ms Eva Lue and later was admitted to the Pre-Junior Music Programme of Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA). At the age of eight, Grace gained a distinction in the ABRSM Piano Grade Eight Examination. Now, Grace is taking the Junior Music Programme and studying with Professor Eleanor Wong in HKAPA.

Grace has garnered a host of awards and competition prizes. In 2011, she was awarded Champion of the Children Group C of German Irmler Competition in China. In 2013, she won 1st place in Grade Four of Graded Piano Solo and 1st Place in Piano Solo of Chinese Composers (Junior) at the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival. She also won 1st Prize in Junior Class A of Professional Category of the 2nd Japan-Hong Kong International Music Competition and Children Class C and in Piano Solo of Chinese Composers (Junior) of Chopin Memorial Prize of 2013 Hong Kong International Piano Open Competition. In 2014, she won Gold Award in “Age Group 6 – 8” of Gifted Pianist Contest and 1st Place in ABRSM Piano Grade 7 Class of Liszt Memorial Prize of 2014 Hong Kong International Piano Open Competition. In 2015, she won 1st Place in Grade Six of Graded Piano Solo and the Piano Solo of Chinese Composers (Intermediate)at Hong Kong Music Festival as well as she received ABRSM Piano Grade 8 Music Exam – Distinction. She also won The 79th Steinway & Sons International Youth Piano Competition (Hong Kong & Macau Regional Competition) – 1st Prize (Amateur Class Group A). In 2016, Grace won 1st place in Grade Seven of Graded Piano Solo. She won the 1st Prize in HKGNA Music Competition 2016.

Grace is currently studying at Diocesans Girls’ School.

Elanna Mak 14 years old and studying at Hong Kong International School. This year, she won First Prize at the American Protégé International Strings Competition on Solo Viola and made her Carnegie Hall debut in June 2018. Elanna was also the Principal Violist of the Asian Middle Schools Honor Orchestra 2018 and Principal Violist of the prize-winning Hong Kong International School Middle School Strings Orchestra.

A gifted multi-instrumentalist, Elanna was one of the youngest invited guests at the Hong Kong Generation Next Arts Festival 2014 (playing piano) and Musicus Society Festival 2017 (playing violin and viola). She has performed on stage with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mantua Chamber Orchestra and played at some of the most prestigious concert venues in Asia, including the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Hong Kong City Hall. She has been invited to perform with the world-renowned Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra on violin in January 2019.

Elanna has had the privilege of participating in masterclasses and lessons with Dong Suk Kang, David Takeno, Pavlo Beznosiuk, Michael Ma, Klaus Manfrini, Gian Paolo Peloso, Felix Ungar and Jeremy Williams. Elanna is also an active chamber musician and soloist with the elite Hong Kong Camerata Strings, playing both violin and viola. An ardent supporter of several charities, she hopes to use her talents to serve her community locally and globally.

Wong Sze Yuen has won top prizes in many prestigious competitions including First Prize in the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition in Asia, the Asian Youth Music Competition and the International Competition Hamburg Composers – ICoM Piano Award in Germany. He also won Second Prize in the Korea International Competition for Young Pianists and Grand Prize in the 2016 HKGNA Music Competition. He was invited to perform in the Paris Salle Cortot Hall, Shanghai Concert Hall and as soloist with the Hong Kong Pan Asia Symphony Orchestra.
Wong Sze Yuen graduated the junior division at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) and is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s degree at HKAPA under the tutelage of Professor Gabriel Kwok with full scholarship.

Wong Sze Yuen made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall 2017 as Grand Prize Winner in the 2016 HKGNA Music Competition.

International award-winning pianist Liyan He’s major teachers include Gabriel Kwok (The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts), Chengzong Yin, Zhe Tang(Shanghai Conservatory of Music) and Jintian Kang(Shenzhen Arts School).

Hailed as the Young Talent from the Far East for his concert in Israel, Liyan has Performed at Carnegie Hall, Peking University, the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Festival, Pianofest in the Hamptons, Beijing International Music Festival, and Academy, and HKGNA Music Festival. He has performed concertos with Xiamen Philharmonic, Hong Kong Youth Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Tak Ming Philharmonic, and HKAPA Symphony Orchestra under the batons of Song Gao, Wing-heng Pak, Colin Touchin, and Alan Cumberland. In the past 2017-2018 season, Liyan performed in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Ningbo, Wuhan, Changsha, Yinchuan, Shantou in China, Trossingen in Germany and Singapore. Liyan also working with Harmonica player Gordon Lee and Flutist Nancy Wong as an ensemble called Encore Trio, released their first album in the early 2018.

Born in Heilongjiang, China, Ethen Yang started learning erhu when he was twelve. Losing his eyesight due to sickness did not deter him from pursuing his interests in music. He had been taught by two renowned mainland China artists, Aping Li and Bolin Gan.

After migrated to Hong Kong in 2014, Ethen has worked with different musicians and organizations, local and overseas, such as Asian Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic and represent Hong Kong to perform in the 9th International Abilympics in Bordeaux, France in 2016. He was awarded Gold Medal in The 5th and 6th International Chinese Instrumental Competition (Erhu Category), and The Most Outstanding Performer Award (Children and Youth) in “Cross All Borders: Hong Kong Festival Showcasing New Performing Artists with Disabilities 2015”. Ethen is supported by the Lee Hysan Foundation.

Lee Shing experienced serious vision impairment due to congenital retinitis pigmentosa. Despite his gradual worsening eyesight, Lee Shing continued with a strong pursuit of piano music. He obtained the ACTL Performance Diploma provided by the Trinity Guildhall with an outstanding grade.
He gave his first solo piano recital in 2009. He performed with musicians from the Royal Academy of Music HK Alumni Association in St. John Cathedral for “Musical Bridge – A Charity Concert for the Arts with the Disabled Association Hong Kong”.
He was awarded both The Most Outstanding Artistic Achievement Award and The Most Outstanding Performer Award at “Cross All Borders: Hong Kong Festival Showcasing New Performing Artists with Disabilities 2011”.
Lee Shing also participates in various international exchange events. In 2015, he was invited to perform as HKGNA/ADA Musical Angel in “HKGNA Young Virtuoso Concert 2015” at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Mr. Patrick Yeung, general manager of Cathay Pacific, Taiwan and Korea has a longtime passion for classical music and philanthropy. Mr. Yeung started his singing journey as a member of the St. Paul’s Co-Educational College choir under the baton of Mr Jimmy Chan. Mr. Yeung has performed as a soloist in numerous charitable/fundraising concerts in Hong Kong and has helped raised money for many charities including Medecins Sand Frontieres Hong Kong, Arts with Disabled Association, LifeLine Express, and Opera Prima Society to name a few. Mr. Yeung has performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and Opera Hong Kong. He has performed extensively in Asia and US, including Beijing, Singapore, Taiwan, Manila, Shanghai and New York’s Carnegie Weill Recital Hall. Mr. Yeung has been studying Bel Canto singing with world renowned professor NI Cheng Feng since the late 90’s.