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Ponte Singers Concert 2019

2019 Ode to Freedom – Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Fall of Berlin Wall

17.11.2019
Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall

The purpose of a wall is to protect. But throughout history, how many walls have been built to hinder, to conceal, to oppress? These walls might permit us life, but only a life without freedom.
The Berlin Wall, the symbol of the Cold War, was torn down thirty years ago following a little accident. Why did the people of East Germany risk their lives and cross the border in pursuit of the reunification of their country? After all, they had been living with the wall for almost 40 years, and all this time they seemed to be doing just fine: the economy was stable, and they had jobs to support themselves. The answer is simple: because they wanted freedom. Freedom is especially important for an artist, because without artistic freedom, art becomes soulless, insincere, and boring. Life is precious; freedom, even more so. Freedom has always been man’s deepest desire, and this desire is something that transcends time and space.Freedom, a cause for which countless have sacrificed, can mean different things in different eras. In the 21st century, freedom for many people means democracy, human rights, and liberty of expression, including artistic expression. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the famous Leonard Bernstein brought together choir and orchestra members from East and West Germany and conducted a concert of Beethoven’s timeless Symphony No. 9, taking the liberty to change the word ‘joy’ in Schiller’s Ode to Joy to ‘freedom’. Thirty years later, Ponte Singers & Orchestra is now presenting another performance of ‘Ode to Freedom’. We are grateful to Mr Charles Kwong, who wrote Lux Aeterna for us in commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Thirty years later, faced with new difficulties, we continue to pray that democracy and freedom will ultimately prevail.

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Ponte Singers Concert 2019

2019 Musical in Concert

14.10.2019
Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

The greatness of Les Misérables lies not in its depictions of human nobility — of students fighting for freedom, a man adopting a child, a bishop helping a thief, a policeman upholding his duty — but in its message that no matter our roles in society, our dreams and aspirations, we are all fragile.
This human fragility is what makes stories so beautiful: beautiful not because they are flawless, but because they are so real, like a work of art that strikes a chord. Les Misérables, with its ensemble of characters — the rebellious criminal Jean Valjean, the austere police chief Javert, the revolutionary Friends of the ABC, and the lowly street urchins Éponine and Gavroche — is not merely a touching story of revolution, a dichotomous struggle between the good guys and the bad guys. It paints a picture encompassing the full spectrum of human experience, of individual stories, dreams, resolutions, choices, and regrets. There’s a Chinese saying that goes, ‘To avoid regret, rather than envy others, cultivate yourself.’ We are often quick to point blaming fingers at people, without stopping to understand the reasons behind their errors. Everyone pities Valjean and Fantine after reading their stories. But maybe if we didn’t read their story, we would criticize them like the workers in Valjean’s factory. My point is this: that in this dizzying pull between right and wrong, one must keep a heart of mercy. It is mercy that gives Valjean a chance to redeem himself from his sins and walk a righteous path; it is mercy that connects us all and builds a bridge between polar opposites. Indeed, in a world full of hatred, forgiveness is an indispensable skill, and one that we must continue to hone throughout our lives. That is the purpose of art: to arouse in us through storytelling a sense of sympathy that enables us to forgive others, and perhaps forgive ourselves, too. But of course, even mercy might not be enough to convert those who are incapable of self-reflection or devoid of humanity altogether. A common Chinese title for Les Misérables can be literally rendered ‘Tears of the Solitary Star’. This translation focuses on the experience of a single character, while the original French title, meaning ‘The Wretched Ones’, offers a wider view. One is micro, and one is macro; and both are valid views we can take in our pursuit to better ourselves and the world. In any case, here is a quote from Hugo that I hope you will enjoy: Toute la loi d’en haut est dans ce mot : aimer. ‘All the law from above is in this word: love.’

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Ponte Singers Concert 2019

2019 Rite of Spring Orchestral and ballet concert

3.3.2019
Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall

Classical Music and Ballet have always been a perfection combination. It is my dream to put them together on the same stage.
I believe that every musician and dancer are having the same thought as me. These two stories are the most classical and attractive masterpieces for both classical music and ballet. It is exceptionally difficult for a small-scale organization like us to organize this performance. I am so thankful to have several friends around me, taking up all the tedious works from ticketing, booklet, invitation, advertising to even projection and recording, and we made it! Someone ask, what drives Ponte to continue when it is so discouraging to organize performances in Hong Kong? The government never support activities of this scale, not to mention persuading private companies for arts sponsor. Would it be possible for a city to survive without art? In fact, there are lot of friends around me, who are well-educated but never walk into any concert hall, gallery, drama or ballet show in the thirty or forty years after they graduated from the college. However, we have a perfectly high number of students who attends international music exams every year, and they play really well! Amateur choir and music groups occupy every single night of all performing venues in Hong Kong. The government can proudly say that, Hong Kong is a city living with art. What is the problem then? Why do we always have the same small number of audiences in all these excellent art programme in the city? Honestly, we do can survive without arts. What we need here in Hong Kong is not some more excellent arts programme or one-off educational programme, but to promote the whole culture in a better arts atmosphere, bringing out the meaning behind every single music note or dancing step. No matter it is for western or Chinese music, human shares the same feeling with no boundaries of time and space. If we are able to bring the audience into the stories, crying and laughing with them, and allowing them to immerse in the true meaning behind every masterpieces, I am sure that Hong Kong will become truly an art center of the Far East. Our musicians are all born and grow up in Hong Kong. We are lucky to have the chance to study music overseas, endeavoring to bring the music and culture from Europe back to this city, and promoting our music and concerts to the rest of the world. I sincerely hope that you will enjoy the performance tonight. Please do support us, and allow us to bring music and arts into your life.

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Ponte Singers Concert 2018

2018 Die Erbschaft Viennese orchestral and choral concert

25.9.2018
Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall

It takes courage to perform these two masterpieces by Brahms and Bruckner here in Hong Kong.
It takes courage to tackle the technical challenges posed by the pieces; it takes more courage to present them to a Hong Kong audience. Ponte has eight years of experience performing works by composers like Mahler, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninov, but still it was not without some anxiety that we chose the pieces – two heavy, serious pieces – for this afternoon’s concert. Among our worries two stood out: Are we just driving people away with such a programme? And even if people aren’t driven away, would the concert be too heavy for them to enjoy? After all, for many people, music is something to be enjoyed. Of course, good music can be immensely enjoyable. But joys don’t always last – ‘even the beautiful must perish’, to quote the opening line in Nänie – and life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Faced with life’s difficulties, sometimes we need music that resonates with us on a deeper level – music that acknowledges our innermost feelings that we usually lock away inside ourselves; music that shares our sorrows like a good friend; music that gives eloquent expression to melancholic thoughts we can barely put into words ourselves; music that takes us to an otherworldly space where there’s no smartphones or conversation to distract us from listening to all the stories it has to tell. Life’s difficulties are inevitable, but at least we have music that can give us some peace of mind. It was way back in 2011 when I left for Vienna for my studies, but I’ve never abandoned my little wish to take the knowledge I gain abroad and transform it into something I can give back to Hong Kong. Indeed, this is what I’ve been trying to do in Ponte since its establishment eight years ago: to make music that can ‘build bridges between hearts’. Eight years have passed by in a blink: this afternoon’s concert, Die Erbschaft, is Ponte’s ninth. It hasn’t been an easy journey, and we’re forever grateful to everyone of you who took it with us. Die Erbschaft means ‘heritage’ in German, and I hope that with this concert, I can help pass on some of Vienna’s rich musical heritage to Hong Kong, thereby enriching our cultural scene.

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Ponte Singers Concert 2018

2018 Picnic with the Orchestra

29.7.2018
Central Harbourfront, Hong Kong

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Ponte Singers Concert 2018

2018 Canton Pop and Jazz Choral concert

2.6.2018
Jockey Club Auditorium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

This year, PONTE would like to bring to you a romantic concert with all Canton pop songs. All songs are newly arranged in Jazz and other musical styles. Other than the accompaniment of Ponte Jazz band, Ponte Singers and HK A- capella Academy, several local young lead-singer will also sing several love songs in the concert. You will definitely recognize all the love songs lying from the 80s to the recent hit pop. With our amazing lighting and lyrics projection, we ensure you a most romantic night of the year.

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Ponte Singers Concert 2017

2017 Sing Wah II Chinese choral concert

3.9.2017
Jockey Club Auditorium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Full Chinese choral programme

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Ponte Singers Concert 2017

2017 Romance orchestral concert

29.7.2017
Concert Hall, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts

Full Chinese choral programme

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Ponte Singers Concert 2016

2016 Mysterium misericordiæ – Mahler Symphony Concert

23.7.2016
St. dominic's church, Macau

24.7.2016
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Hong Kong

This year is an extraordinary jubilee year. Its theme, as announced by the Pope, is ‘mercy’.
Mercy is a fundamental part of humanity. And it is a curious one which, upon further inspection, reveals itself to be an emotion that seemingly comes from nowhere. When we see suffering people or witness unfortunate events, it is our immediate instinct to help them, to offer them sympathy. Occasionally, however, when you exercise your faculty of reason, you might stop and think: Could they be swindlers? Am my mercy being, perhaps, taken advantage of? And you stop, and you calculate for a little while if you happen to be a patient person; the less tolerant walk away without further hesitation, muttering to themselves that it is the mark of a wise man to avoid trouble whenever possible. It is for good reason that the Pope chose mercy, out of all possible themes, as the theme for this jubilee year. Our modern civilised lifestyle is too fast-paced; so fast-paced, in fact, that we have become completely occupied with sticking to a set of consistent, unchanging rules—one should do this, one shouldn’t do that—and have simply forgotten how to be merciful as a human being. We experience the same in learning music. We make every effort to memorise notes on the score, but in doing so, forget that the reason art moves us at all is that it brings us together. In occupying ourselves with symbols that tell us what to do and what not to do, we lose our raw, innate passion for music. Excessive concern with theories and methodologies disorientates us. In making music and exercising mercy, we should try to rid ourselves of our preconceptions so that we could reach into people’s hearts. This is an art that can only be mastered through experience. To be a merciful human being—in fact, to be a human being at all—takes courage. Ponte Singers began its musical journey six years ago, and went through ups and downs all along the way. What has been giving us the strength to go on in times of test is the wonderful feeling of reaching into people’s hearts. In the end, aims and objectives and targets and goals don’t really matter; the only thing that is important is that we have manifested our humanness. I quite enjoy the lyrics of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony.—We are all seeds that He has sown upon the soil of the Earth; we go through wind and rain, sleet and snow, and when we ripen, He harvests us, and takes us back to Heaven.

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Ponte Singers Concert 2015

2015 Voyage Orchestral and Choral Concert

6.9.2015
Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall

Welcome on board! We are delighted to have you with us today on Voyage. In tonight’s journey, we will share with you British repertoires composed by two prominent composers from the early 20th century.
It is not difficult to understand why both Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams delegated a full piece of composition to the sea to glorify their nation – between the 17th century and the 19th century, the British Empire's development based on sea power and naval dominance consolidated British overseas settler societies. The saying “the sun never sets on the British Empire” powerfully describes how the British Empire was once so expansive that it was always daytime somewhere in her Empire. To their nation, the sea was once the way to victory. Sailors’ courage is no doubt a key to victory - the courage of sailing towards an unknown region in unpredictable conditions as life could be under threat at any time. Nowadays, sarcastically, an expedition towards the unknown is regarded as an ignorant and immature act. Though we have no intention to encourage any of you to become a sailor, should we pause for a moment and look back – is every step we take too well planned that we have lost our courage to explore uncertainties in lives? Walt Whitman, the lyricist of A Sea Symphony acclaimed sailors’ courage to explore. We will be able to listen to how “courage” is beautifully praised in the four movements of A Sea Symphony. We cannot deny our predecessors’ courage to explore have substantially contributed to the human race. Many pioneers, whom were described as “captains” by Whitman, sacrificed their lives in searching for unexplored regions with the hope to uncover unknowns. It is our belief that everyone has the qualities in becoming a “sailor” and rediscovering his or her unique voyage. By delegating our lives to music, we have sailed on. Hope you will enjoy tonight’s musical and lyrical journey with us! Behold the sea, farther sail!

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Ponte Singers Concert 2014 Choir

2014 Star-crossed Orchestral Concert

18.8.2014
Jehovahjireh Concert Hall of the International Christian Quality Music

R.Schumann: Manfred Overture C.Schumann: Piano concert in A minor J.Brahms: Symphony No.2

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Ponte Singers Concert 2014 Orchestra

2014 Star-crossed Choral Concert

10.8.2014
Jockey Club Auditorium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Original movie and Choral Music Concert

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Ponte Singers Concert 2013

2013 Der Zyklus Orchestral and Choral Concert

3.8.2013
Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall

F.Mendelssohn: Hebride Overture C.Orff: Carmina Burana R.Wagner: Pilgrium’s Chorus (from Tannhäuser)

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Ponte Singers Concert 2018

2012 Primitivo choral concert

3.8.2011
Y-Theatre, Youth Square, Hong Kong

Full choral programme of world music

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Ponte Singers Concert 2011

2011 Sing Wah Chinese choral concert

20.8.2011
Jockey Club Auditorium Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts

Full Chinese choral programme

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Ponte Singers Concert 2010

2010 Inspirato choral concert

5.8.2010 & 6.6.2010
Li Hall, St John’s Cathedral, Hong Kong

Full choral programme of sacred music

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