2004 Hong Kong Arts Festival Concluded with Enormous Success

March 09th, 2004

London Symphony Orchestra's outstanding performance brought the 2004 Hong Kong Arts Festival to its official finale on March 4.

The 32nd Hong Kong Arts Festival offered 52 performing arts programmes in 112 performances plus two exhibitions over 34 days and attracted an audience of 93,700, with ticket sales grossing HK$26.5m (US$3.41m), second highest in the Festival history. Average attendance was 87 per cent.

Among the 52 performing arts programmes, there were 38 overseas programmes and 14 local programmes. Five of the local programmes – Chet Lam, The Pancakes and Ketchup's VIVA Indie! Concert, Recycled, Shu Ning Presentation Unit's The Good, the Bad and Scarlett O'Hara, On & On Theatre Workshop's Fisher King & Handless Maiden, and Dick Wong's B.O.B.* were commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Festival, while Flight, an overseas programme with local and French artists, was also commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

The Festival's Young Friends Scheme continues to generate great interest among students. This year, some 4,800 students from 157 secondary schools and 20 colleges and universities attended 62 performances and rehearsals. This contributed an additional attendance of 9,600.

On top of regular programmes, the Festival Plus programmes are an increasingly important component. Fourteen talks, two lecture demonstrations, four workshops, five masterclasses, two exhibitions and fourteen meet-the-artist sessions were presented as part of Festival Plus. This year, the Festival also supported a ground-breaking conference on "The Business of Performing Arts" which attracted approximately 100 participants from major cities in China as well as Japan and Singapore.

This year the Festival was launched with a large scale outdoor programme Piazza Party outside the Cultural Centre. This innovation was supported by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

The Festival's sponsors continue to offer generous support. Besides major funding support from Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, there were 39 sponsors and over 200 individual and institutional supporters. Close to HK$10.8m (US$1.39m) was raised through sponsorship, donation, and advertising.

For the first time the Hong Kong Arts Festival was publicized in the Chinese mainland. The publicity programmes launched in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou were with support from the Tourism Commission of the HKSAR.

This year the Festival invited about 881 international artists and 448 local artists, booked 3,763 room nights, brought in 16 containers of props and equipment and over 9,000 kilos of air freight shipments, and created about 120 part-time jobs.

This year, 21 Festival programmes were sold out. Half of all programmes achieved 90 per cent attendance. Sold-out programmes included Komische Oper Berlin's The Merry Widow and Fidelio, London Symphony Orchestra, Zurich Ballet's Mozartina and Goldberg Variations, Bobby McFerrin, Jane Birkin's Arabesque, Gilberto Gil's BrazilBest of Gilberto Gil, Los Romero and their concerto concert with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Angela Hewitt Piano Recital, Prague Chamber Orchestra's Dvo ak Centenary Concert, Hong Kong Repertory Theatre's A Small Family Business, Recycled, Chui-Yee Li Cello Recital, Chet Lam, The Pancakes and Ketchup's VIVA Indie! Concert, Compagnie 111's I.J.K. and 2 Pianos 4 Hands.

Meanwhile, the Festival also announced some of the highlights to be staged in the coming 2005 Festival. They include: the Beethoven Symphonic Cycle performed by Frans Bruggen's Orchestra of the 18th Century, National Theatre Company of China, Cassandra Wilson, Nederlands Dans Theater, pianist Leif Ove Andsnes with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and a duo recital by violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt. Programme details will be released in August this year, and advance bookings will start in November.

A major international arts event and a premier arts event in the Asia-Pacific region, the annual Hong Kong Arts Festival is committed to presenting an annual festival of the highest artistic standard featuring artists from around the world together with leading artists from the Mainland and Hong Kong.

For more information, please contact the Festival's Executive Director Mr Douglas Gautier or Marketing Manager Ms Katy Cheng at (852) 2824 3555.


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