Esplanade Presents


Jaap van Zweden conducts Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra with Alexandre Kantorow

(Hong Kong, France)

20 Feb 2024, Tue, 7.30pm

1hr 40mins

(Intermission: 1 x 20mins)

Esplanade Concert Hall

This event is over.

Jaap van Zweden (Conductor)
Alexandre Kantorow (Pianist)

"Mahler’s jubilant first symphony 'Titan' provided the orchestra the room to fully show off its full potential and (Jaap) van Zweden duly obliged with a vibrant reading of the work.”

The Straits Times


"Alexandre is Liszt reincarnated. I've never heard anyone play these pieces, let alone play the piano the way he does.”

Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Magazine


One of the top orchestras in Asia, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) and its Music Director, Jaap van Zweden return for a special performance featuring French pianist, Alexandre Kantorow.


HK Phil has gained critical acclaim worldwide through a diverse range of programmes. Notably, it was the first orchestra in Asia to be awarded the prestigious Gramophone Orchestra of the Year Award in 2019. Over the years, the orchestra has had the privilege of performing alongside luminaries such as Wang Yuja, Yo-Yo Ma, Evgeny Kissin, and Renee Fleming. After a seven-year hiatus, they are making their triumphant return to Esplanade.


During the concert, Music Director Jaap van Zweden and the orchestra will open the concert with Hong Kong composer Daniel Lo’s new work, Asterismal Dance, and close with Mahler’s groundbreaking first symphony, Titan.


Hailed by critics as the "young tsar of the piano” (Classica) and a “fire-breathing virtuoso with a poetic charm” (Gramophone), Alexandre is the first French pianist to win the International Tchaikovsky Competition. His outstanding achievements include being honoured the Professional Critics Association’s Musical Revelation of the Year in 2019 and Victoires de la Musique Classique’s Recording of the Year and Instrumental Soloist of the Year in 2020. Alexandre will make his debut in Singapore with Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, where virtuosity, madness genius, and a touch of the diabolical come together in the 24 variations.



Daniel Lo – Asterismal Dance*

*Commissioned by Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

Rachmaninov – Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Mahler – Symphony No. 1 ‘Titan’

Admission Age:
6 and above.
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Artist Information

Jaap van Zweden (Conductor)

Over the past decade, conductor Jaap van Zweden has made significant impact on the international music scene, spanning three continents. Currently serving as Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the New York Philharmonic (NY Phil), and he is set to take on the role of Music Director of the Seoul Philharmonic in 2024. He has made guest appearances as a conductor with renowned orchestras across Europe, including the Orchestre de Paris, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra. In the United States, he has conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic.


Maestro van Zweden has an extensive discography which includes the world premiere of David Lang’s prisoner of the state (2020) and Julia Wolfe’s Grammy-nominated Fire in my mouth (2019), both recorded with the NY Phil and released by Universal Music Group’s Decca Gold. With the HK Phil, he recorded Richard Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle, along with the recent recordings of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 10 and Dimitri Shostakovich’s Symphony nos. 5, 9 and 10, all under the Naxos label.


In recognition of his significant contributions to the development of the HK Phil and classical music in Hong Kong, Jaap van Zweden was honored with the Silver Bauhinia Star by the HKSAR Government. He was conferred the Honorary Fellowship by Lingnan University in 2020, an Honorary University Fellowship by Hong Kong Baptist University, and an Honorary Doctorate by The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2021. He also received the prestigious 2023 Concertgebouw Prize.


In 1997, Maestro van Zweden and his wife Aaltje founded the Papageno Foundation to support families of children with autism.

Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra


The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) is widely recognised as one of the leading orchestras in Asia. Established as a professional orchestra in 1974, it celebrates its 50th anniversary during the 2023/24 season. The orchestra collaborates with internationally renowned conductors and soloists, presenting over 150 concerts and attracting more than 200,000 music enthusiasts annually.


The HK Phil is dedicated to promoting the work of Hong Kong and Chinese composers, commissioning new works, nurturing local talent, and conducting extensive education and community programmes. Under the leadership of Music Director Jaap van Zweden since 2012, the HK Phil has toured Europe, Asia, Australia and extensively across China. Yu Long has served as Principal Guest Conductor since the 2015/16 Season, and Lio Kuokman was appointed Resident Conductor in December 2020.


The HK Phil won the prestigious UK classical music magazine Gramophone’s 2019 Orchestra of the Year Award—the first orchestra in Asia to receive this accolade. Recent recording projects with Maestro van Zweden include the complete Ring Cycle by Richard Wagner, Mahler’s Symphony no. 10 (concert version ed. Mengelberg/Dopper), and Shostakovich’s Symphony nos. 5, 9 and 10. In 2021, the HK Phil founded The Orchestra Academy Hong Kong, in collaboration with The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, with the aim of providing professional training and fostering orchestral careers for its participants.

Alexandre Kantorow (Pianist)


In 2019, at the age of 22, Alexandre Kantorow became the first French pianist to win the gold medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition. He also won the Grand Prix, an honour only bestowed three times in the competition’s history. Hailed by critics as the "young tsar of the piano” (Classica) and "Liszt reincarnated” (Fanfare), he has received numerous awards and invitations to perform at the highest international level.


Kantorow records exclusively with BIS, and his last two recordings featuring Brahms solo works and Saint-Saëns concerti 1-2 garnered the prestigious double Diapason d’Or of the year in 2022. The SACD Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos 1 & 2 recorded with the Tapiola Sinfonietta under the baton of Jean-Jacques Kantorow has been acclaimed as a "reference version of the Saint-Saëns concertos" by Resmusica and was chosen by Gramophone magazine as their "Editor's choice". His two previous recordings (Saint-Saëns concerti 3-5 and solo works by Brahms, Bartok, and Liszt) were both awarded the Diapason d'Or and Choc Classica of the year in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Gramophone magazine commended his performance as "another outstanding example of his virtuosity and artistry, displaying both skill and sensitivity throughout." His earlier à la Russe recital recordings also earned multiple awards and distinctions, including the 2017 Choc de l’Année (Classica), Diapason découverte (Diapason), Supersonic (Pizzicata) and CD des Doppelmonats (PianoNews).


Kantorow is a laureate of the Safran Foundation and Banque Populaire, and was named Musical Revelation of the Year by the Professional Critics Association in 2019. In 2020, he won the Victoires de la Musique Classique in two categories—Recording of the Year and Instrumental Soloist of the Year. In 2022, he assumed the role of artistic director for the Les Rencontres Musicales de Nîmes festival with violinist Liya Petrova and cellist Aurélien Pascal.


Born in France of Franco-British heritage, Kantorow studied with Pierre-Alain Volondat, Igor Lazko, Frank Braley and Rena Shereshevskaya.

Date & Time

20 Feb 2024, Tue


Esplanade Concert Hall
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