Orchestra fires three principals

Hong Kong’s traditional Chinese orchestra has sacked three principal players after the called for a change of management.  Hsin Hsiao-ling, Hsin Hsiao-hung and Liu Yang, principals of the orchestra’s gaohu, erhu and zhonghu sections, were fired with immediate effect. There is no immediate sign that the dispute is connected to the local democracy protests. nThe sackings were announced on the eve of the Chinese new year.

More here.

hong kong orch

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  • Unable to read that South China Morning Post article as it needs registration. But there’s enough in NL’s intro to form a reasonable opinion.

    The HK Chinese Orchestra was founded in the late 1970s and funded by the now defunct Hong Kong Urban Council (that body was absorbed into the government at the time of the 1997 handover). So the orchestra has always been run by civil servants and funded almost exclusively by the Hong Kong government. Some of its oft-changing managers have been good for the orchestra; others have not. Given the government’s attitude to the student (and other) protestors at the end of last year, it’s sad but hardly surprising that the present government mandarins will brook no opposition to its policies or the civil servants charged with implementing them.

    Ironically, the government also provides most of the funding for the increasingly excellent Hong Kong Philharmonic. Yet one cannot help wondering if a degree of government ear-bending helped ensure that the man who conducts and leads almost all of China’s top orchestras and orchestral-related events, Long Yu, became the Philharmonic’s new Principal Guest Conductor (as reported earlier in this blog).

    One also wonders what effect – if any – the recent anti-corruption shakeout at the Ministry of Culture in Beijing might have on Hong Kong’s major arts organisations. The Minister of Culture since 2008, Cai Wu, was recently sacked and an inspection team found several major failings including favouritism and under-the-table payments. I suspect there will probably be little overt interference, but whispers can be just as effective!

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