Business as usual for Hong Kong Sinfonietta as 2019/20 programme unveiled for music director’s Yip Wing-sie’s final season holding the baton

The Hong Kong Sinfonietta finds itself at a crossroads as it enters its landmark 20th musical season – with long-term musical director Yip Wing-sie having announced she will stand down at the end of the 2019/20 run, while a replacement … Continue reading Business as usual for Hong Kong Sinfonietta as 2019/20 programme unveiled for music director’s Yip Wing-sie’s final season holding the baton

Why 2018 welcomed the rebirth of the protest song – from Childish Gambino to Janelle Monáe

Pop music and politics have long enjoyed a dysfunctional relationship, marked by wary trysts and embarrassed silences. For every timeless, biting political anthem – for every What’s Going On or Fight the Power – there have been a dozen unfortunately, misinformed, garbled political diatribes by celebrities with more ego than insight. Which might be why, while musicians were once held up as the voice of their generation, recent times have seen increasingly media-savvy stars sidestepping ever-further away from having an opinion on anything. Until, that is, now. It was purportedly Ancient Greeks who first decreed that desperate times call for … Continue reading Why 2018 welcomed the rebirth of the protest song – from Childish Gambino to Janelle Monáe

The Beatles’ White Album at 50 – revisiting pop’s archetypal double album

Released 50 years ago today [November 22], The Beatles’ “White Album” is popular music’s quintessential double album. That doesn’t necessarily mean best – although The Fab Four’s eponymous entry surely ranks among a handful of contenders for that title – but simply the ultimate; the epitome of excess. The most representative, referred-to and replicated case of the beleaguered 2LP package. Double albums are stereotypically bloated, ego-fuelled, idiosyncratic, genre-hopping, directionless affairs as baffling as they are beautiful – all of which might serve as a fitting introduction to The Beatles’ ninth LP. Both the cause and effect of infamous infighting which … Continue reading The Beatles’ White Album at 50 – revisiting pop’s archetypal double album

As I Heard it Through the Grapevine turns 50, a look back at Motown hit machine

There might have been more than a touch of bravado at play when then-aspiring music mogul Berry Gordy dubbed his new Detroit home “Hitsville, USA” – but the iconic sign he hung outside not long after the 1959 purchase would feel like a quaint understatement just a decade later. By the end of the 1960s, Gordy’s Motown hit machine had clocked an incredible 79 Billboard top ten singles, spawning not just a generation’s soundtrack – while launching the careers of icons including Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder – but presaging a landmark era of racially integrated entertainment, affording … Continue reading As I Heard it Through the Grapevine turns 50, a look back at Motown hit machine

Meet the new maestro: Jaap van Zweden talks taking over the New York Philharmonic

This month is one Jaap van Zweden will never forget. At this moment, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra’s treasured music director will most likely be found studying a score or brandishing a baton backstage at New York’s iconic Lincoln Centre, where he is … Continue reading Meet the new maestro: Jaap van Zweden talks taking over the New York Philharmonic