Part of the Jockey Club Street Music Series, an annual programme of concerts and workshops taking place in venues across Hong Kong, the ‘Experimental Series’ is the brainchild of violinist and composer Kung Chi Shing. The first session took place at the Hong Kong Arts Centre’s McAulay Studio on 2 April, with five further dates confirmed before the end of 2016. A laboratory of sorts, Kung envisioned the programme as a forum within which musicians from diverse backgrounds – think rock, classic, experimental and spoken word (the last being the theme of its first session) – could share their respective creative processes, sparking innovative approaches to musical invention. The idea was to create a platform for experimental music, but not any particular style – hence academic and underground are free to rub shoulders on stage.
The turnout was good, the conversations carried on after the concert and the experiences were as intriguing as the one presented by experimental composer Alain Chiu. Chiu improvised digital music live in response to an unrehearsed dialogue between a violinist and an actor reading in Cantonese: thus presenting three media that explored the interactions and intonations of a language known for its varied tonalities. ‘If I achieve only a little something, it feels a lot already,’ says Kung, humble about his vision for the project. ‘I invite people for who they are and for their openness to the process – then perhaps a theme emerges,’ he adds, noting that not all sessions will be labelled. The next edition, on June 17, will include sound art, electric guitars and academic composition.