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Music talent hits the main stage

(The photo is provided by Information Services Department) "My Main Stage" Music Production Pilot Programme is a part of the Leisure & Cultural Services Department’s 2019-20 General Education in Arts Programme for tertiary students. Launched in September last year, its goal is to nurture a new generation of aspiring music talent.Mastering musicThe pilot programme’s founder Chiu Tsang-hei mobilised other music and songwriting professionals in the industry, like Eric Kwok and Chan Wing-him, to offer students advice. “I started the My Main Stage Music Production Pilot Programme three to four years ago. It was intended to hunt for potential music talent in secondary schools and prepare them for a career in the music industry. “The Leisure & Cultural Services Department suggested that I should expand the programme to tertiary institutes. So the pilot programme was included in the General Education in Arts Programme for tertiary students last year.” He explained that the assistance from the Government is crucial. It saved him from having to liaise with different institutes and made the recruitment process simpler. The pilot programme comprises a series of workshops, masterclasses, production coaching and performances aimed at elevating students’ music production skills. (The photo is provided by Information Services Department) Rachel Yu studied music at her university due to her passion for music as a youngster. Inspired by the touring talks held by eminent music producer and composer Chiu Tsang-hei, she entered the My Main Stage Music Production Pilot Programme early this year. “I joined this programme because I wanted to seek professional advice from very experienced tutors, for example, in writing lyrics, composing or music production. I wanted to polish up my musical skills,” said Rachel. In an achievement that took almost a year of hard work under the guidance of local music professionals, Rachel was able to produce the best version of her very own song.Coaching onlineFaced with the COVID-19 epidemic, Chiu said technology has played a vital role in making it possible for him to communicate with students while practising social distancing. He has made good use of video conferencing software and online teaching technology to stay in touch with students. “It enabled me to provide them with comments and critiques after I listened to their songs. It was just as easy for them to send their revised work back to me. “I could also use emails and other tech tools to help me so I didn’t have to rely on face-to-face teaching.” Rachel said Chiu’s support is invaluable as he has enlightened her on improving her vocals. “At first, I sang very badly but he forced me to practise every day. Every day I sent him a music demo of me practising the song. “For more than two weeks, I kept practising the song and my performance got better. When I recorded the vocal part, it was a lot better than before.” Trustworthy programmeAnother participant, Bu Yu, described the programme as a trusted platform to learn from local music professionals. “We did not have the chance to learn pop music production in secondary schools. We could only enrol in music school classes on the market. “Such classes may not be reliable and the teaching quality is not guaranteed. So I could only learn music production by myself before I joined the programme,” said Bu. One of the tutors is Arnold Chan who believes the pilot programme is a rare opportunity for students to learn as much as they can about music production in about a year. “I know a lot about the technical aspects of music production, for example, the mixing and recording process, compression, EQ - which is equalisation skills - and some balance skills. “The students would have to spend a lot of time if they had to learn these skills by themselves from the Internet and they may have some problem-solving issues that require help from us.” Arnold’s advice to students is to seize every opportunity to explore all aspects of music production if they truly want to excel in the music industry. “For top singer-songwriters and producers these days, they have to do all kinds of jobs. So I think they have to grasp as much experience as they can to try to meet professional standards.” (Information provided by Information Services Department)

【Intimate Portrait】Sense and Sensibility / Li Ka-fai, Ziggy

What do you associate when you come across adjectives such as fluffy, round and lovable? Most of us may think of girly knick-knacks or cartoons. But what if a man is drawn to fluffy stuff, and creates round and endearing characters? There is nothing “unmanly” about it, of course, and the male gender is fully entitled to “being cute”, too. Li Ka-fai, Ziggy is the man of cute. A graphic designer and illustrator by trade, Li has also dabbled in arts research and handicraft. While his mind is usually logical and practical as required by a designer, deep down he is also a man of sensibility. Bringing out forgotten childlike qualities and warm fuzzy feelings are some of the effects his works have on his audience.J: JCCACL: Li Ka-fai, ZiggyJ: What prompted you to embark on arts research? And what does being a freelancer mean to you? L: I had been teaching drawing part-time, and originally planned to be an arts teacher in a secondary or primary school upon my completion of a diploma in education. After an internship, however, I realised that teaching arts at school is not at all how I expected. It was difficult to concentrate on teaching with a heavy load of administrative duties, not to mention the big classes I had to look after. Therefore, I decided not to pursue a teaching career despite being offered a position. Coincidentally, at that time an acquainted professor invited me to assist with her research on arts theory, I accepted the offer and, five and a half years flew by, I had supported the research, as well as designed the interface of the related webpage and mobile application. Being a freelancer is a one-man band. There are definitely more things to learn than a normal desk job. I rather enjoy liaising with the clients. I used to be annoyed and unwilling to compromise when met with demanding clients. But I have since learned to identify their concerns and perspectives, which is quite useful in having a persuasive discussion. Whenever I finished a project, I feel “levelled up” and elevated to a new phase in life. J: Are your works usually inspired by everyday objects? What usually draws yourattention? L: I like to observe and take pictures of objects that resemble human faces, such as power sockets – with two circles and a straight line staring back at me as if they were alife. (Ed: This is called Pareidolia in study) Some years ago, I participated in the “Between Objects” exhibition at the Hong Kong Baptist University Communication and Visual Arts Building, which showcased our connections with everyday objects. For this exhibition, we borrowed three erasers and recorded their history, including the time spent with their owners. The interesting thing about erasers is that they are rarely used up completely, but seem to grow legs and would go missing suddenly. Meanwhile, for the work about a crayon – Getting Old in One Painting, I drew inspiration from human growth. When we grow up, our height increases, life experience accumulates with age. On the contrary, a crayon simply “ages” and reduces in size by every “living” day. J: There is a delicate if not youthful and feminine touch in your drawings. Is this soothing and adorable visual style somehow reflective of your mind? L: I am used to doodling with felt pens and markers. This is how my character Fat Boy, with beady eyes and a round figure, was created. At handicraft fairs, I am often told by customers that they are surprised to know these illustrative works are drawn by a man. I think this drawing style may be related to my preference for fluffy things, as they remind me of my comfort blanket from childhood. Even as a grown man, I am still rather childish (chuckles). Original article【JCCAC Intimate Portrait】: https://www.jccac.org.hk/?a=doc&id=7564

【Intimate Portrait】Heterotopia in Art / Sze Mei-ting Muses

Heterotopia is “the other space” – an existence that is both real and unreal, between physical space and utopia (virtual space). Besides cinema, museum and zoo, where else can we find heterotopia in reality? Graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and a Master of Arts Fine Art at the University of Reading (UK), emerging artist Sze Mei-ting, Muses has chosen ceramics as her primary medium for sculpture. Sze uses sculpture as her potent response towards different spaces. What would her ideal arts space look like? Perhaps her studio is an archetype of a heterotopia. J: JCCACS: Sze Mei-ting, Muses J: What motivates you to explore the themes of “animal rights” and “heterotopia”? S: After watching some videos on the ins and outs of slaughterhouses during my undergraduate years, I decided to become a vegetarian. It also led to my creation of a series of works on animal rights, including this photorealistic oil painting. On the front, viewers see the portrait of a pig, while the edges show patterns of pork meat. It alludes to the fact that a pig, no matter how “cute”, will eventually be consumed one day. Nevertheless, more recently I tend to touch less on animal rights in my arts because I think writing about it and activism are probably more effective and suitable. Besides, I prefer my artistic creations be purer in essence. Heterotopia is a concept elaborated by French philosopher Michel Foucault to address the differences between a real space and a utopian space, and to describe the otherness and significance when combining the two together. There are plenty of heterotopias around us, with zoo being an example. A zoo may look like a utopia for humans and animals, but in fact it is an illusion constructed in the realms of reality. An arts space also shares the same qualities between reality and virtuality. Therefore, I wish to challenge the boundary of this subject through the interaction between arts and space. J: The biggest differences between studying arts in Hong Kong and the UK... S: In Hong Kong, the bond between tutors and students is very strong and intimate. We keep in touch even after graduation. For example, I had the opportunity to learn from ceramicist and CUHK alumni Sara Tse after graduation. In Hong Kong, education is generally more inclined towards spoon-feeding, while in the UK it is more focused on academic freedom and proactive learning. Professors encourage students to delve into a topic they pick by themselves, and students are expected to be self-motivated and to dig deep with the resources available. Galleries and museums visits and internships during my time in the UK had been life-changing experiences for me. J: I understand that you were engaged in arts administration part-time at the Oi! arts space. What was the most memorable exhibition or arts programme you were involved in? S: “Play to Change” was a rather memorable programme that spanned more than two years. We co-organised 19 exhibitions with 19 different groups of architects. I was mainly responsible for arts administration, as well as translation and editing of promotional materials. The biggest reward from this programme is a true understanding of community arts. I was also able to learn from the architects for their insight and ingenuity on the handling of spaces. Original article【JCCAC Intimate Portrait】: https://www.jccac.org.hk/?a=doc&id=7740

Internship at Hong Kong Arts Centre Opens All Year Round

Are you interested in gaining experience in the arts and creative industry? Over the years, Hong Kong Arts Centre has offered opportunities to local and overseas university students to gain an exciting and fulfilling experience through our internship and volunteer schemes. Our internship programme provides an excellent opportunity for their students to explore their potential through hands-on work experience, gaining exposure to the different aspects in the operation of the Hong Kong Arts Centre. The learning experience is a stepping stone to a promising future in arts administration and arts education. Internship opportunities are available for the following categories:1. Events & Visitor Service; 2. Programmes (screening, exhibition, performance, learning);3. Strategic Development & Membership;4. Marketing & Promotion. Requirements1. University student aged 18 or above;2. Holder of the Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card or possess a valid visa permitting internship in Hong Kong; and 3. Be enthusiastic about our vision and mission. Application periodWe accept applications throughout the year, and opportunities are available on a full or part-time basis. How to applyPlease send your application with resume to hr@hkac.org.hk. Please visit the official website for more details.

Music & Dance

Orchestras in Hong Kong Want to find out more about music and dance? In Hong Kong, you will find many arts organisations that host music and dance programmes from time to time – making it easy to find what you are looking for. Here are just a few of them. If you are an orchestral music fan, a good place to start your discovery is to enjoy the performances of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. Music fantasy[Chinese version only] will lead you through a new experience of listening to classical music. Chinese music For Chinese music, Introduction to Chinese music [Chinese version only] introduces you to various Chinese musical instruments. For you Chinese opera fans, you can get a glimpse into ten of the distinct branches of Chinese opera in Introduction to Chinese opera [Chinese version only]. Music channels of RTHK You can also tune in to Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK)’s Radio 4 (classical music), Radio 5 (Chinese music opera) [Chinese version only] or Radio 2 (pop music) [Chinese version only] to enjoy your favourite music. Dance groups in Hong Kong If you are into dance performances, check out the programmes hosted by the Hong Kong Dance Company, the City Contemporary Dance Company and the Hong Kong Ballet. Performing venues Many music and dance performances take place in the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Hong Kong Arts Centre and the performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD). Other performances The LCSD presents a year-round programme of performances by visiting and local artists. The most updated performance information If you are looking for the most updated performance information, just visit the Latest Cultural Programmes or the official websites of the performing organisations. Major arts festivals Arts festivals bring fantastic programmes for your enjoyment year-round. Around February and March, you can enjoy the programmes of the Hong Kong Arts Festival. There are also the International Arts Carnival in the summer and the Thematic Arts Festival during October and November. The Young Audiences Scheme of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra If you would like to have more involvement in music and dance, you have many channels to choose from. The Young Audiences Scheme of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is designed for local full-time students aged from 6 to 25. Young Friends of Hong Kong Arts Festival Young Friends of Hong Kong Arts Festival is for full-time secondary and post-secondary students. Friends of Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra And Friends of Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra welcomes everyone to apply for. Being a member, you will enjoy special treats and exclusive activities offered by the organisers, and student members can enjoy free performances. Music & art-related programmes If you want a taste of performing on stage, there are many training courses and activities for you. Check out the training programmes and events organised by the The HKCO Orchestral Academy, Excel, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the Music Office (including the training classes, orchestras, choirs and music promotion activities). They lead you take your first steps into the performing arts.