Header image courtesy of Omar Cruz
Acclaimed Japanese composer-conductor Joe Hisaishi is finally making his long-anticipated return to Hong Kong! Famously known for his work on a range of Studio Ghibli animated films, the world-renowned maestro is back on tour, and Hong Kong is his next stop, where he will be performing for three nights from 22 to 24 June 2023.
Joe Hisaishi, whose career spans five decades, has written music for over 100 film scores, and released almost 40 solo albums. He is perhaps most known for his much-loved work with Studio Ghibli, starting with Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Of the 11 Studio Ghibli animated films Hisaishi composed for, 10 of them were directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
In 2004, Hisaishi became the music director of World Dream Orchestra, a new project launched in partnership with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. He was also appointed the artistic director of Nagano City Arts Centre in 2013, among many other achievements.
Hisaishi will perform at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall this June, once again collaborating with the award-winning Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) as well as Hong Kong soprano and opera singer Louise Kwong. It will be the composer-conductor’s third concert series in the city, following highly popular performances in 2010 and 2018.
He tells Localiiz that working with the HK Phil again and “music-making together” is something he looks forward to for his 2023 visit, in addition to reuniting with Kwong, who sang “the third and fifth movements in The East Land Symphony very beautifully in 2018.”
For his 2023 return, Hisaishi will present three pieces new to Hong Kong live audiences: Symphony No. 2, Woman, and the Princess Mononoke Symphonic Suite. Symphony No. 2 promises to take listeners on a musical journey of self-discovery, while Woman will showcase the strengths of an arrangement focused on strings, harp, percussion, and piano. Lovers of Studio Ghibli films will surely recognise the full Princess Mononoke Symphonic Suite, which has never before been performed live in Hong Kong in its entirety.
In conversation with Localiiz, the maestro shared that he hopes for the audience to experience the different aspects of his composing—minimal and film—as both styles are emblematic of the artist and it is a rare programme that the Hong Kong audience will be exposed to during the concert. While his history of collaborating with Miyazaki Hayao is long and legendary, the composer-conductor admits he “takes more minimal style” in music for all his composition compared to 30 or 40 years ago as his craft develops.
In anticipation of high demand, a ticket balloting and real-name ticketing system has been set up for the concert series through Urbtix. Although the balloting period has ended, there is still a glimmer of hope! Should there be any unsold or returned tickets after 20 June 2023, or unclaimed wheelchair seats on the day of the concerts, such tickets will be made available for public sale on each performance day from 10 am onwards on the Urbtix website or mobile ticketing app. A maximum of two tickets can be purchased per person, and the names of both concert-goers must be provided for identity verification purposes.
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“Cathay Proudly Sponsors: Joe Hisaishi in Concert”
When: 22–24 June 2023
Where: Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui