Catching up with 10 DB-based members of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Beverly Au gets the lowdown on their extraordinary win at the 2019 Gramophone Classical Music Awards
To say that the DB-based members of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HKPO) are excited by their recent win at the 2019 Gramophone Classical Music Awards would be understatement – as they settle in for their photoshoot in DB Plaza, they are still on cloud nine. And rightly so. Being named Orchestra of the Year at the Gramophone Classical Music Awards is a big deal. In layman’s terms, it’s like taking home Best Picture at the Oscars.
“This award is a great honour, not just for our orchestra, but for all of Hong Kong. The support of our audience and sponsors played a huge role in making this achievement possible,” DB-based HKPO violinist Rachael Mellado says.
With its Orchestra of the Year award, Gramophone magazine, ‘the world’s authority on classical music,’ sets out to celebrate ensembles that have made an outstanding contribution to recorded music in the past year. What’s more, while the nominees are chosen by Gramophone’s editors, the winner is decided by a public vote. It’s testament to HKPO’s popularity with music lovers all over the globe that it placed first this year, beating nine other major international ensembles.
To add icing to the cake, HKPO’s achievement is a first for Asia. “We are especially proud since we are making history by being the first orchestra in Asia to receive this prestigious and highly acclaimed honour,” HKPO music director Jaap van Zweden explains.
At the award ceremony, held on October 16 in London, HKPO was honoured for its live recordings of the complete Ring Cycle by Richard Wagner – a massive project, which took the musicians four years to complete. Based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas, the Ring Cycle is a monumental work, with a total playing time of about 15 hours.
“I remember the Artistic Committee Meeting when Jaap first proposed recording the complete Ring Cycle, and some people didn’t believe it could be done. Yet, here we are, and it’s a great thing for all of us to celebrate,” Rachael says.
“The Ring Cycle, conducted by Jaap van Zweden and recorded live by Naxos Music Group, is a magnificent achievement,” James Jolly, Gramophone’s editor-in-chief said at the ceremony.
You can grab your copy of HKPO’s the Ring Cycle on Amazon.com.
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, www.hkphil.org