In view of the reopening of performing venues on 19 February, the Hong Kong Arts Festival announces changes to in-venue programmes. Please visit this page for details.

2004 Hong Kong Arts Festival

October 16th, 2003

The Hong Kong Arts Festival today announced details of the 2004 Festival. Over 34 days from 3 February through 7 March 2004, the Festival will present a total of 110 performances of 51 different programmes featuring 36 performing groups, plus two exhibitions. An array of exceptional artists from around the globe will participate in the Festival, including 860 overseas and 450 local performers and crew members.

Mr Charles Lee, the Festival's recently appointed Chairman, said, "As a showcase for the best international and regional artists and also for the creativity of our own artistic community in Hong Kong, the Festival continues to be a major arts event on the Hong Kong cultural calendar and in the Asia Pacific region." He added, "The programme in the 32nd Arts Festival is rich and diverse, catering to different tastes and preferences, and offering something for everyone, young and old."

Mr Douglas Gautier, Executive Director, outlined the theme of the coming Festival. He said, "The theme for this Festival is 'families' - in the broadest sense of the word and the idea. This theme is reflected in the content of the music, theatre and dance programmes, notably in Romeo and Juliet, in Beethoven's only opera Fidelio, Tokyo Notes - about relationships in modern Japan, and satires on family and money in The Merry Widow as well as A Small Family Business."

At the same time, a number of real families will be performing in the Festival; namely, the guitarists Los Romeros and three generations of the distinguished Tan family in Beijing Opera. The Komische Oper Berlin and the London Symphony Orchestra are also themselves artistic ensemble "families" with long and valued traditions.

The influence of the greater family of African music can be heard in many forms in 2004's jazz programmes - Wayne Shorter and Bobby McFerrin - and also in world music - Orchestra Baobab and Gilberto Gil.

In addition, the music of the "Bach family" runs throughout the Festival and features strongly in the works of the Zurich Ballet and Compania Nacional de Danza, as well as the programmes of Angela Hewitt and Europa Galante. Meanwhile, the music of Dvo ak is at the heart of performances by the Prague Chamber Orchestra and the Petersen Quartet.

Mr Gautier also noted that the Festival's commitment to commissioning work from Hong Kong's best creative talents is maintained, with new works such as Fisher King & Handless Maiden; Flight; The Good, the Bad and Scarlett O'Hara; Recycled; B.O.B.* and VIVA Indie! Concert. The Festival will also feature an important photographic programme of new work, in which the idea of Home and Homeless - another "family" perspective - is explored.

ExxonMobil continues to support talented young artists: Chui-Yee Lee, Joyce Tang, Chet Lam, The Pancakes, Ketchup, and Pang Ho-cheung, presenting a range of programmes of both classical and contemporary music as well as theatre.

"While we are broadening the world and jazz programmes (20,992 seats) so that there will be more musical varieties offered to our audiences, we are also presenting two world-class ballet companies (Zurich Ballet and Compania Nacional de Danza), hopefully reaching 13,000 dance fans," said Grace Lang, Programme Director. "We have been building our Young Friends of the Festival and we envisage 6,000 participating this year," she added.

Last but not least, the Festival with On and On Theatre Workshop ventures into a new venue - the Cattle Depot Artist Village - in support of work by independent artists and the development of new performing venues.

The total operating budget for the 2004 Festival is approximately $58 million. The Festival received a subvention of $17.18 million from the Government through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and a $3.61 million donation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. In order to break even, the Festival hopes to raise $10.8 million through sponsorship and donations, and close to $25 million through ticket sales.

The Programme and Booking Guides are available at all URBTIX outlets from 22 October 2003. The audience can also catch a glimpse of some of this year's video and audio highlights on the Festival web site, or on a free VCD/CD-ROM/CD available now by returning a request form in the Programme and Booking Guide.

Advance Booking for the 2004 Hong Kong Arts Festival will be accepted by post, fax or on the Internet from 22 October through 22 November 2003, while Counter Booking will start on
29 November 2003. URBTIX Registered Patrons can call 2734 9011 to book Festival tickets from
22 October. Please check in the Programme and Booking Guide or visit the Hong Kong Arts Festival web site at for more details.

For further enquiries, please contact Ms Katy Cheng, Marketing Manager, at tel: 2824 3555 or the following Marketing staff members:


Music/Opera:Mr Andy Yau(
Chinese opera/Theatre/Dance/Exhibition:Ms Chris Lam(
Family Entertainment:Ms Alexia Chow(

Hong Kong Arts Festival web site is developed by Ion Global and supported by IBM China/Hong Kong Ltd.
The production of this VCD/CD-ROM/CD is sponsored by Eureka Digital Ltd.


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