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Choir of King's College, Cambridge

Choir

  • The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge is one of the world’s best known choral groups. Every Christmas Eve millions of people worldwide tune into A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, a service broadcast by the BBC since 1928, making it the longest established annual broadcast in history. The same service has been broadcast in the USA by American Public Media since 1982. Additionally, Carols from King’s, a televised Christmas service also broadcast on Christmas Eve, celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2014. The Choir’s international fame and reputation, enhanced by an extensive recording catalogue, has led to invitations to perform around the world.

  • 国王学院合唱团毫无疑问是世界上最著名的合唱团之一,每个平安夜,人们都会哼唱A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols,而这一由国王学院和唱团演唱的颂歌自1928年就一直在BBC电台播放。在美国,美国公共广播自1982年开始广播这首颂歌。虽然合唱团平时主要在国王学院教堂为宗教仪式等演唱,其国际声誉显赫,经常接到无数来自世界各地的演出邀请。合唱团同时还录制有丰富的唱片集,自2012年起,合唱团开始有了自己的唱片标签。

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  • Highlights of the 2017/18 season included performances at the Vatican, Athens Concert Hall and a Bernstein anniversary concert with Britten Sinfonia in the Barbican. The Choir began the 2018/19 season in Prague with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment performing a rare arrangement of Dvorak Mass in D major for bass and two cellos as part of the Dvorak Festival. Later in the season, the Choir returns to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Birmingham Symphony Hall and North America. This is Stephen Cleobury’s last season as Director of the Choir as he is due to retire in the summer of 2019.


    The College launched its own record label in 2012 with Nine Lessons & Carols. In 2014, the Choir’s recording of Fauré’s Requiem remained on the UK classical chart for 28 weeks making it one of 2014’s best-selling core classical albums, and the 2015 release of 1615 Gabrieli in Venice was the first classical album to use Dolby’s new Atmos technology, reproducing the acoustic of the Chapel. Recent releases include a critically acclaimed Bach St John Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music and Duruflé Requiem with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The Choir also has a back-catalogue of more than 100 albums released with EMI and Decca.


    The Choir exists thanks to King Henry VI who, in founding the College in 1441, envisaged the daily singing of services in its magnificent Chapel, which remains the primary purpose of the Choir’s sixteen choristers, fourteen choral scholars and two organ scholars. A number of famous people have attended events in the Chapel including British monarchs, from Elizabeth I to the present Queen; political leaders such as Winston Churchill and Mikhail Gorbachev; and Charles Darwin, who loved the Choir so much that he engaged the Choristers to come and sing in his rooms when he was at Cambridge.


    The Choir owes much to the five musicians who have maintained its consistently high standards over the course of the last 140 years: A.H. Mann (1876), Boris Ord (1929), David Willcocks (1957), Philip Ledger (1974) and, since 1982, Stephen Cleobury. Since 1870, the choristers have been educated across the river from the College at King’s College School and receive scholarships from King’s College to help pay for their education. By the time they leave the Choir they are able to take with them valuable musical skills, with many aspiring to return to the Choir as choral scholars. The choristers are selected at audition, advertised nationally, when they are in Year 2, 3 or 4 (ages 6 to 9) at their school. Boys usually enter the Choir in Year 4 (ages 8 to 9).


    For full information about King’s College School and the life of a Chorister, please see www.kcs.cambs.sch.uk. Stephen Cleobury is always pleased to hear from potential members of the Choir, choristers, choral scholars and organ scholars. Those interested are invited to contact the Choir office (01223 331224 // choir@kings.cam.ac.uk).

Future tour
Australia Tour, July - August 2019
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge will start a 9-concert tour in Australia this summer, conducted by future Music Director Daniel Hyde. From July 20 to August 6, the Choir will perform in Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Performances

20 July 2019                                                                                              Perth Concert Hall, Perth, Australia

22 July 2019                                                                                            Adelaide Town Hall, Adelaide, Australia

23 July 2019                                                                                          Adelaide Town Hall, Adelaide, Australia

25 July 2019                                                                                            Llewellyn Hall, Canberra, Australia

27 July 2019                                                                                            Hamer Hall, Melbourne, Australia

29 July 2019                                                                                           Sydney City Recital Hall, Sydney, Australia

1 August 2019                                                                                Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, Australia

3 August 2019                                                                                     Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

6 August 2019                                                                                            Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, Australia

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Past tour
US Tour: Minneapolis, Washington, New York
March 2019
Two years after their last tour to the US, The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge return for a 3-concert tour, conducted by Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury.

The tour will visit St Paul Cathedral, Minneapolis; National Cathedral, Washington DC and St Thomas Fifth Avenue, New York. The Choir will perform a mixed programme including works from their new recording to be released soon.

Performances

28 March 2019
Saint Paul Cathedral, Minneapolis-Saint Paul

30 March 2019
National Cathedral, Washington D.C.

1 April 2019
St Thomas Fifth Ave, New York

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Past tour
Symphony Hall, Birmingham
December 2018
For their final Christmas tour of the year, the Choir of King's College, Cambridge performed in Birmingham's Symphony Hall.

Programme:

Britten, Ceremony of Carols
Ord, Adam lay ybounden
Poston, Jesus Christ the apple tree
arr. Cleobury, Joys seven
Pa,rt Bogoroditse Dyevo
Weir, Illuminare, Jerusalem
arr. Pearsall, In dulci jubilo
arr. Preston, I saw three ships
Vaughan Williams, Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Judith Bingham, Ancient Sunlight: ‘Infancy’, ‘Betrothal’, ‘Annunciation’
Piae Cantiones, Up, good Christen folk
Medieval, Nowell sing we now all and some
Howells, A spotless rose
arr. Cleobury, Away in a Manger
Rutter, What sweeter music
arr. Ledger, Stille Nacht
Matthias, Sir Christèmas

Performances

17 December 2018                                                                              Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK

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Past tour
Royal Festival Hall
London, December 2018
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge performed this December in the Royal Festival Hall, London. Once again, the Choir was accompanied by Philharmonia Orchestra for this annual Christmas concert. Crouch End Festival Chorus joined them for this performance, alongside with Rhian Lois - soprano, Marta Fontanals-Simmons - mezzosoprano, James Way - baritone, Roderick Williams - tenor.

Programme:

Bach, Magnificat
Piae Cantiones, Up, good Christen folk
Poston, Jesus Christ the apple tree
arr. Cleobury, Joys seven
Rutter, What sweeter music
arr. Preston, I saw three ships
Darke, In the bleak mid-winter
Mathias, Sir Christèmas
Cullen, Joy to the World
Humperdinck, Evening Prayer from Hansel and Gretel
Rutter, Shepherd's Pipe Carol
Delius, Sleigh Ride
Vaughan Williams, Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Adam arr. Rutter, O Holy Night
arr. Willcocks, O come all ye faithful
Vaughan Williams, O little town of Bethlehem
arr. Willcocks, Hark! The herald angels sing

Encores:

arr. Cleobury, Jingle Bells
arr. Ledger, Silent Night

Performances

13 December 2018                                                                                          Royal Festival Hall, London, UK

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Past tour
Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam
December 2018
Stephen Cleobury and the Choir of King's College, Cambridge return to Amsterdam to perform English Choral Classics and Christmas Carols in the Concertgebouw.

Programme:

Britten, Ceremony of Carols
Ord, Adam lay ybounden
Poston, Jesus Christ the apple tree
arr. Cleobury, Joys seven
Pa,rt Bogoroditse Dyevo
Weir, Illuminare, Jerusalem
arr. Pearsall, In dulci jubilo
arr. Preston, I saw three ships
Vaughan Williams, Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Judith Bingham, Ancient Sunlight: ‘Infancy’, ‘Betrothal’, ‘Annunciation’
Piae Cantiones, Up, good Christen folk
Medieval, Nowell sing we now all and some
Howells, A spotless rose
arr. Cleobury, Away in a Manger
Rutter, What sweeter music
arr. Ledger, Stille Nacht
Matthias, Sir Christèmas 

Performances

11 December 2018
Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Past tour
St James the Great, Hanslope
September 2018
In September 2018, the Choir of King's College, Cambridge performed in St James the Great Church in Hanslope.

Programme:
BYRD, Ave verum corpus
PALESTRINA, Magnificat primi toni a8
BYRD, Haec dies
VICTORIA, Nunc dimittis tertii toni
BACH, Prelude and Fugue in C major, BWV 547
MOZART, Ave verum corpus
BRUCKNER, Christus factus est
ELGAR, O hearken Thou
STANFORD, For lo, I raise up
PARRY, My soul, there is a country
LEIGHTON, Paean
WALTON, Jubilate Deo
V. WILLIAMS, Rise heart! Thy Lord is risen
BERKELEY, The Lord is my shepherd
FINZI, God is gone up

Performances

23 September 2018
St James the Great, Hanslope, UK

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Past tour
Dvořák Prague Festival
Prague, September 2018
The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge shared the stage with great artists, in Prague’s Rudolfinum, as part of the Dvořák Prague Festival 2018.

Led by Director of Music Stephen Cleobury, the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge performed alongside with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, soprano Pavla Vykopalová, mezzosoprano Markéta Cukrová, tenor Aleš Voráček and baritone Roman Hoza.
They performed Elgar, Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op. 20; Schubert, Mass No. 2 in G major, D. 167 and Dvořák, Mass in D major, Op. 86.

Performances

16 September 2018
Rudolfinum, Dvořák Prague Festival, Prague, Czech Republic

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Past tour
Summer festivals
United Kingdom, Ireland, July 2018
The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge inaugurated this year’s summer festivals tour on July 11th 2018. With Director of Music Stephen Cleobury, the Choir performed around the United Kingdom and Ireland, with performances in Cheltenham Festival, Limerick for the 850th anniversary concert of Saint Mary’s Cathedral and Ryedale Festival in Ampleforth Abbey.

Performances

11 July 2018
College Chapel, Cheltenham Festivals, Cheltenham, UK

16 July 2018
Saint Mary’s Cathedral, 850th anniversary concert, Limerick, Ireland

18 July 2018
Ampleforth Abbey, Ryedale Festival, UK

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Past tour
Summer Festivals
Europe, July 2017
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge commence their bi-annual tour of European summer festivals. Led by Director of Music Stephen Cleobury, the Choir returns to St Malo Cathedral to perform as part of the Festival of Sacred Music and will perform debut concerts at Kreuth International Music Festival and Verbier Festival in addition to a service participation in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.

The programmes cover music evocative of English choral tradition such as William Byrd Ave Verum Corpus and Henry Purcell I was Glad, amongst other works.

Programmes drawn from the below:

Bach Prelude in B, BWV 554i (organ solo by Richard Gowers)
Brahms Warum ist das Licht gegeben?
Brahms Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein rein Herz
Britten A Hymn to the Virgin
Bruckner Locus iste a Deo factus est
Byrd Ave Verum Corpus
Byrd Haec dies quam fecit Dominus
Couperin Offertoire sur les Grands Jeux
Couperin Organ solo by Henry Websdale
Duruflé Toccata (organ solo by Richard Gowers)
Duruflé Ubi Caritas
Elgar Give unto the Lord
Fauré Cantique de Jean Racine
Gabrieli Exultavit cor meum in Domino
Gabrieli O magnum mysterium
Howells Nunc Dimittis (Collegium Regale)
Messiaen O sacrum convivium
Monteverdi Cantate Domino
Monteverdi Adoramus te, Christe
Poulenc Hodie Christus natus est
Purcell Jehovah, quam multi sunt hostes mei
Purcell I was glad
Purcell Remember not, Lord, our offences
Reubke Sonata on the 94th Psalme - Fugue (organ solo by Richard Gowers)
Tomkins O sing unto the Lord
Tomkins When David Heard
Vaughan-Williams Valiant-for-truth
Walton Missa Brevis (no Gloria / Credo)

Performances

21 July 2017
St Malo Cathedral, Festival of Sacred Music, France

22 July 2017
Notre Dame Cathedral Paris (service participation), France

24 July 2017
Internationales Musikfest Kreuth am Tegernsee, Germany

26 July 2017
Verbier Festival, Switzerland

29 July 2017
Worcester Cathedral, Three Choirs festival, UK

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Past tour
North America
America and Canada, March - April 2017
Conducted by Director of Music Stephen Cleobury, the Choir and its two Organ Scholars performed 6 concerts in America and Canada following their visit there in 2015.

The Choir performed various programmes to include works from a number of their recent recordings, including Hymns from King’s, Evensong Live 2016, Gabrieli 1615, Faure Requiem and English Hymn Anthems.

In addition to the Choir's performances, the King's Men and Organ Scholars also performed a short recital at the Mormon Tabernalce in Salt Lake City on Thursday 30 March.

Performances

24 March 2017
Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, California, USA

26 March 2017
Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

27 March 2017
Benaroya Hall, Seattle, Washington State, USA

29 March 2017
St Thomas Aquinas Church, Logan, Utah, USA

30 March 2017
Cathedral of the Madeline, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

1 April 2017
First Presbyterian Church, Midland, Texas, USA

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Past tour
Return to China
Asia, July - August 2016
The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge returned to Asia in summer 2016. Since their China debut in October 2010, the Choir have visited China multiple times and enjoy their regular visits. This tour included visits to Hong Kong, Nanjing, Tianjin and Beijing.



Performances

27 July – 3 August 2016

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Past tour
Stockholm and Västerås Cathedrals
Europe, April 2016
Stephen Cleobury
Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury and the Choir of King's College, Cambridge returned to Sweden to mark the 80th anniversary of its first ever international tour which visited Lund Cathedral, the Engelbrektskyrkan in Stockholm and Uppsala Cathedral in 1936.

The programme included Hubert Parry's Blest Pair of Sirens, which was performed at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding, contrasted with the solemn, yet dramatic, Lo, the full, final sacfice by Gerald Finzi.   

The Choir also performed other works by composers with links to Cambridge – Stanford studied and was Professor of Music at Cambridge, Vaughan Williams studied there, as did Charles Wood, whose music was also heard on the Choir’s 1936 tour. King’s alumnus Robin Holloway later taught there and his recent King’s commission is included along with that of Judith Bingham.

Performances

16 April 2016
Stockholm Cathedral

17 April 2016
Västerås Cathedral

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Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, December 2015

Amidst their annual Christmas recordings for BBC Television and Radio and other UK engagements, the Choir made a return visit to the world-renowned Amsterdam Concertgebouw in December, performing a programme of English Choral Classics and Christmas Carols.


15 December 2015
Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam


Programme


MENDELSSOHN Ave Maria
DURUFLÉ Requiem
-interval-
POULENC 4 Christmas motets
MESSIAEN La Vierge et l’Enfant from La Nativité
Arr. WILLCOCKS God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
DARKE In the bleak mid-winter
ORD Adam lay ybounden
Arr. DE PEARSALL In dulci jubilo
RUTTER Dormi, Jesu
Arr. WILLCOCKS The Angel Gabriel
GOLDSCHMIDT A tender shoot
Arr. WILLCOCKS Ding, dong, merrily
Arr. WILLCOCKS Hark the Herald Angels Sing

German Festivals, Summer 2015

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge performed at four of Germany’s most renowned summer festivals, performing a programme of all British music, from Byrd to Britten.


The programmes designed by Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury, highlight ed interesting links to King’s College and Cambridge. Tye and Gibbons were King’s choristers, and Hacomplaynt a Provost. Byrd's 'O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth' refers to Elizabeth I , who is known to have visited the chapel. Vaughan Williams, Harvey, Britten, Howells and Stanford are also composers with wider Cambridge connections to other Colleges.


9 July 2015
Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern


11 July 2015
MDR Musiksommer


12 July 2015
Choriner Musiksommer


15 July 2015
Rheingau Musik Festival


Works included
TYE Omnes gentes plaudite manibus
GIBBONS See, the Word is incarnate
HACOMPLAYNT Salve Regina
BYRD O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth
TYE Gloria from Missa 'Euge bone'
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Credo from Mass in g minor
HARVEY l love the Lord
BRITTEN A Hymn to the Virgin
BRITTEN A Boy was born (theme)
HARVEY Veni Creator
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Valiant-for-Truth
And others by Howells and Stanford

USA Tour, March 2015

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge returned to the US for a 5-concert tour, conducted by Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury.


The tour visited St Thomas Fifth Avenue, New York; National Cathedral, Washington DC; St Paul Cathedral, Minneapolis; 4th Presbyterian Church, Chicago (as part of the Symphony Center Presents Series) and Church of the Incarnation, Dallas. The Choir performed a mixed programme including works from their recording, English Hymn Anthems and works by Faure, Poulenc and Howells.


20 March 2015
St Thomas Fifth Ave, New York


21 March 2015
National Cathedral, Washington D.C.


23 March 2015
Saint Paul Cathedral, Minneapolis-Saint Paul


24 March 2015
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago


26 March 2015
Church of the Incarnation, Dallas

Festive Season, December 2014

Following five star reviews of their recording of Fauré Requiem, the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, has released Favourite Carols from King’s as its fifth disc on the King's label. The CD brings together a collection of the most popular carols featured in A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols over the years, recorded by the current Choir. Simultaneously, the Choir released its first DVD on the label, which is a recording of the 2013 Carols from King’s service, as broadcast by the BBC last year.


The Choir’s Christmas season performances begin at Barbican Centre, London on 6 December with a performance of Bach’s Magnificat and Respighi’s Lauda per la Nativita del Signore alongside Britten Sinfonia and soloists including Intermusica singers mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately, soprano Mary Bevan and tenor Ben Johnson. 
16 December sees the Choir travel to Edinburgh’s Usher Hall for a performance including a selection of carols in addition to the Poulenc Christmas Motets and Praetorius Magnificat Quinti Toni. The Choir returns to London the following day for their annual appearance as part of Raymond Gubbay’s Christmas Festival at the Royal Albert Hall, performing with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Philharmonia Chorus. 
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Carols from King’s, which will be televised on BBC2 on Christmas Eve, preceded by a 60 minute documentary on the history of the service as well as a separate broadcast of a restored version of the first Carols from King’s in 1954, conducted by Boris Ord. Also on Christmas Eve, the Choir will sing in A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in King’s College Chapel, broadcast live by BBC Radio 4.


 


6 December 2014


Barbican Centre, London


16 December 2014


Usher Hall, Edinburgh


17 December 2014


Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival, Royal Albert Hall, London

Musikfest Erzgebirge, September 2014

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge travels to Marienberg in Germany to perform as part of the Musikfest Erzgebirge on 19 September, where its concert will be broadcast live on Deutschland Radio.
The programme reflects a bridge from England to German Saxony, the region in which the festival takes place, with the first half comprised of English works and the second half German. 
Returning to the UK, the Choir performs the following weekend at All Saints Weston Green in Surrey on 28 September. The programme ranges from Renaissance to 21st century, and reprises some works from the Erzgebirge programme as well as Monteverdi’s Adoramus te Christe and Cantate Domino in the madrigal style, a Bach organ solo and Nigel Cassidy’s setting of Psalm 100, Jubilate Deo. 


19 September 2014


Musikfest Erzgebirge, Marienberg


28 September 2014


All Saints' Church, Weston

Australia Tour, Summer 2014

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury tour Australia this summer for eight concerts between 21 July and 2 August. This is the Choir’s first visit to Australia in over a decade, since their last tour in 2001. They perform concerts in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and Adelaide, including a performance at Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.
The Choir are performing two programmes on the tour. The first features Fauré’s Requiem, performed with organ, and baritone and treble soloists from within the choir. The second programme focuses on more intimate works, ranging from Renaissance to 21st century.


Both programmes include three contemporary Australian compositions, each commissioned by Stephen Cleobury for King’s annual Christmas service A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols. Peter Sculthorpe’s The Birthday of thy King was commissioned for the 1988 service; Brett Dean’s Now comes the Dawn for the 2007 service, and Carl Vine’s Ring out, wild bells for the 2012 service.


20 July 2014


National Art School, Sydney


21 July 2014


City Recital Hall, Sydney


22 July 2014


Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne


24 July 2014


Perth Concert Hall, Perth


26 July 2014


Sydney Opera House, Sydney


27 July 2014


Hamer Hall, Melbourne


29 July 2014


QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane


31 July 2014


Canberra School of Music, Canberra


2 August 2014


Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide

Asia Tour, Summer 2013

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge travel to Asia for a 5-concert tour in August. Concerts take place in Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore. The Choir are delighted to be making a return visit to both the NCPA in Beijing and The Esplanade in Singapore, following successful performances in recent years. The Choir are also known to the audiences of Seoul and Hong Kong however are pleased to perform for the first time at the Seongnam Arts Center in Seoul and at two venues in Hong Kong: Sha Tin Town Hall and Hong Kong City Hall.
In Beijing and Hong Kong the Choir perform a mixed programme of English songs by Stanford, Parry and Vaughan Williams as well as works by Schubert, Widor and Wolf’s Sechs Geistliche Lieder.
The Choir will be joined by local ensemble and soprano for the concerts in Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore. The programme includes two Mozart works, Schubert’s peaceful yet dramatic setting of Psalm 23 ‘The Lord is my shepherd’, and the Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo of Haydn, known as the ‘Little organ mass’ for its extensive organ solo in the Benedictus, which is performed by the Choir’s organ scholar. The major work in the second half is Vivaldi’s Gloria.


8 August 2013


Seongnam Arts Center, Seongnam


10 August 2013


NCPA, Beijing


14 August 2013


Sha Tin Town Hall Auditorium, Hong Kong


15 August 2013


City Hall Concert Hall, Hong Kong


17 August 2013


The Esplanade, Singapore

Kirsten Mackay
Manager
+44 20 7608 9935
kmackay@intermusica.co.uk

Margaux Roubichou
Coordinator
+44 20 7608 9944
mroubichou@intermusica.co.uk

If you have any queries, please fill in the form below, and we will be in touch soon