HKU announces its 2019-2020 MUSE Season

Since 2013, My University Spotlight Encounters (MUSE) of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has presented innovative and educational programmes that enrich the imaginative atmosphere on campus and establish HKU as a leading centre of cultural activities. With a stellar line-up of artists and programmes, HKU MUSE announces the 2019-2020 season, the strongest in its 6-year history.


  • Season Opener: the Takács Quartet’s complete Bartók string quartets in 2 concerts
  • Russian Moments: 4 concerts on 5 Russian composers by 2 Russian pianists Lifschitz and Volodin
  • First Taste of Beethoven in 2019: Paul Lewis’ Diabelli Variations
  • Beethoven Vision—2020 at HKU: complete violin sonatas, complete string quartets, and more!

The season started with all Béla Bartók’s six string quartets presented by the Takács Quartet over the weekend, a rare chance to hear them all with one of their greatest interpreters. In collaboration with the Geneva International Music Competition, 2018 prizewinners clarinettist Vitor Fernandes and pianist Dmitry Shishkin will make their Hong Kong debut in October. (Earlier this year, Dmitry Shishkin has also won the 2nd prize of the International Tchaikovsky Competition). In November, pianist Paul Lewis will present one of Schubert’s finest sonatas, D. 894, and Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, with which Hong Kong audiences will get the first taste of MUSE’s offerings in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday.


In 2020, we celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday – please join us in a series of events that pays tribute to his creative vision. This carefully curated series is a year-long exploration that you’ve not seen before in Hong Kong!

In March 2020, German tenor Christoph Prégardien, accompanied by Roger Vignoles, will present Beethoven’s song cycle An die ferne Geliebte, alongside Schubert’s Rellstab-Lieder from Schwanengesang and Schumann’s Dichterliebe. In April, violinist Isabelle Faust and pianist Alexander Melnikov will deliver “the most stimulating and fascinating accounts” (BBC Music) of the complete cycle of violin sonatas in three concerts. Acclaimed Taiwanese lecturer in musicology Dr. Yuan-Pu Chiao has created a special event for HKU MUSE that delves into the composer’s creative relationship with literature, with performances by soprano Grace Lin, pianist Yi-Chih Lu, and HKPhil Quartet (violinists Jing Wang and Zhao Yingna, violist Andrew Ling, and cellist Richard Bamping). The celebration continues after the summer break, with the Oliver Schnyder Trio performing two favourite piano trios Archduke and Ghost, a public lecture by Yale Professor James Hepokoski, and the highly anticipated complete cycle of 16 string quartets by the Belcea Quartet.


Appointed as HKU University Artists, Russian pianists Konstantin Lifschitz and Alexei Volodin will pay tribute to five Russian composers in a series of four concerts. Listeners will hear some of the finest and most virtuosic Russian piano works, ranging from Medtner’s 12 mercurial Fairy Tales to the violence of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, in addition to Rachmaninov’s 24 Preludes delivered by two alternating pianos.

Another Russian moment in the 2019-2020 season will be the lecture-recital ‘Musical Pushkin’. This time, Dr. Yuan-Pu Chiao will share the stage with four Taiwanese artists, Grace Lin (soprano), Julian Lo (bass), I-Ching Li (violin), and Vera Hui-Pin Hsu (piano). They will take us on a one-of-a-kind musical tour of Russian literature, featuring art songs, opera excerpts, and other musical works inspired by Alexander Pushkin’s poems, theatre works, and other writings.


HKU MUSE takes pride in presenting the finest artists on the Grand Hall stage as well as featuring them in our classrooms. In this academic year, all four members from the Takács Quartet, Paul Lewis, Christoph Prégardien, Roger Vignoles, Konstantin Lifschitz, and Alexei Volodin will share their stories and insights in ‘Music in Words’ sessions, moderated by professors from HKU Department of Music: Prof. Giorgio Biancorosso, Prof. Chan Hing-yan, and Prof. Daniel Chua. In the third and final ‘Mostly Brahms’ lecture-recital, HKPhil principal violist Andrew Ling and pianist Nancy Loo will perform Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet in B minor and Schubert’s Piano Trio in E-flat major while highlighting the stylistic convergence and divergence between the two composers. Four guest artists will also be featured in this event: Kitty Cheung (violin), Liu Fangxi (violin), Kaori Wilson (viola), and Richard Bamping (cello). In an effort to bring the community together, as in the past two years, we welcome the arrival of Christmas with a festive Messiah sing-along concert. Featuring Hong Kong’s most sought-after soloists, Alison Lau (soprano), Samantha Chong (mezzo-soprano), Justin Li (tenor), and Caleb Woo (bass), with Die Konzertisten, HKU’s own Chamber Singers, and a chamber ensemble under Sanders Lau’s baton, we invite everyone to join in and experience Handel’s uplifting all-time favourite masterpiece together.


With several years in the making, HKU MUSE is proud to present its first book, In Time with the Late Style. Published by the Oxford University Press and written (in Chinese) by scholars Prof. Leo Lee and Prof. Henry Shiu, it is a literary exploration into music and the concept of ‘Late Style’. In line with the mission to inspire a life-long passion for the arts, the book aims to bring readers closer to great musical works and their creators, through interdisciplinary dialogues. Copies are now available in major bookstores in town. For details, please refer to the Chinese version of this press release.

Additional details can be found at

All concerts and learning events are presented by HKU MUSE, with support from HKU Department of Music.

Additional support is provided by Die Konzertisten, Geneva International Music Competition, Goethe-Institut Hong Kong,

HKU Endowment Funds for Music & Fine Arts, HKU Faculty of Arts, HKU University Artist Scheme, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Center, Dr. Alice Lam, and SHKP Reading Club.

Season brochure and photos download:

/Public Release. View in full here.