HK Cellist Ray Wang plays Lalo’s Cello Concerto with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO)

Ray Wang photo

HK Cellist Ray Wang Plays Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D Minor with the PPO
By Michele T. Logarta

INTERNATIONAL cellist and renowned music teacher Ray Wang  has always loved French composer Edouard Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D minor for its charm and demands on musical technique.

But Wang’s attachment to the Cello Concerto is more a sentimental one.

“It’s a piece I love both for its tone and personal reason. Because I played this Concerto a lot with my mother when I was learning it at a younger age,” Wang, whose father also played the cello, explained.

Wang will play this piece with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) on OCTOBER 13, 8 PM at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.

Wang expressed the hope that Filipino music lovers will come and listen to the Cello Concerto that has long played second fiddle to the composer’s most famous work for the violin, “Symphonie Espagnole”.

“Perhaps it will attract those who know about his violin concerto and also wish to hear more of his music and come away finding out more (about the) Spanish style of this French composer,” Wang said.

Wang’s October performance marks his second with the PPO since 2013 and yet another, in a series of past collaborations, with PPO Music Director Yoshikazu Fukumura.

“I am excited to be invited back to perform with the PPO,” said Wang.  “PPO is a great Orchestra and I remember the Orchestra as a happy ensemble with spirit. I also have some colleagues from the days when we worked together with Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. I also look forward to seeing some of my former students again in October.”

“I met Maestro some time ago when he conducted the HK Philharmonic Orchestra and remained in touch. I played for him for quite a number of concerts back then.  Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” still remains my fondest memory,” Wang recalled.

Wang has performed in musical centers and festivals in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. His performances have taken him also to Chicago, Cremona, Florence, Havana, Ho Chi Minh City, London, Luxembourg, Manila, New York, Saarbrucken, Segovia, Vancouver and Verona. In addition to being an active performer of chamber music, he is also a sought after soloist who has performed with conductors and orchestras such as Yang Yang, Krzysztof  Penderecki, Macau Orchestra, Solistas de La Habana, Cellistra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra and the Guang Zhou Symphony Orchestra.

Wang is a founding member of the Hong Kong Virtuosi Society. He describes the group as an ensemble comprised of friends that got together to play chamber music with mixed instruments—such as sextet, octet and Nonet and mixed with winds and strings.

“Occasionally we also invite conductors to do demanding works such as chamber version of the Mahler’s Symphony and Strauss’ “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme”. It’s a self-funded group and therefore we often play only at the invitation of others,” Wang added.

Wang also serves as a music faculty member of the Baptist University and Chinese University of Hong Kong.  He has taught at many schools including Fu Jen Catholic University of Taiwan, National Taiwan Normal University, Tainan University of Technology, Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Singapore and Music Conservatories in Beijing, Giangzhou, Shanghai and Wuhan in China.

He is the Head of Junior Music Department and Senior Lecturer in Strings at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.  Wang has had many students who later went on to win top prizes in international competitions and establish successful careers.

Students today are much better informed with learning material, Wang said. “So, the demand of technical ability can be obtained with much better access and understanding.  What I share with students are the demand of disciplines, time management and to also develop a broader repertoire base. I am fortunate to have the background of playing first desk of a symphony orchestra and chamber music groups, which adds to the variety of choices to students.”

More than his knowledge and mastery of the cello, it is probably his love for the instrument that infuses his teaching and performance practice.

“Truly speaking, I grew up with the cello because my father was a cellist. I wasn’t a perfect child and practicing is what I learned to enjoy at a much later time. I am glad that I didn’t drop it…” Wang recounted.  “Practicing makes me love it (the cello) more these days versus learning to play it at a younger age. It’s like one can learn to use the same word for different times and phrases.”

For concert tickets, please call the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 and Ticketworld at National Bookstore at 891-9999.  For inquiries and subscriptions to the PPO 2017-2018 performance season, please call the CCP Marketing Department at 832-1125 local 1806.

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