After nearly 40 years’ pursuit of excellence, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Chorus (CU Chorus) has become one of the best local university choirs. Rooted in Hong Kong with a global view, CU Chorus has performed not only at the local stage, but also in various cities in southern China and southeast Asia. With its high quality performances and innovative programmes, CU Chorus is dedicated to promoting and sharing the choral art with the public.
CU Chorus was founded in 1972 by a group of CUHK students. In the early days, the role of conductor was served by students. In the 1990s, the post Music Director and Conductor was established, and has been served chronologically by Dennis Ng, Yeh Cheung-shing, and currently Leon Chu. From a group that took part in joint-university singing contest by the Hong Kong Federation of Students, to one that organized annual performances, nowadays CU Chorus has developed its range of performances to include annual concerts, free campus concerts, overseas interflow performances, Christmas caroling, conducting workshops and charity outreach performances.
CU Chorus presented a number of popular programmes with diverse themes, through which many foreign composers and their works were introduced to the Hong Kong music scene. Performances in recent years include: The Sound of Atlas (2008) with characteristic choral pieces from around the world;Love is All Around (2009) with featured love songs throughout the ages; Hallowed be Thy Name (2010) with a showcase of sacred music – the root of choral music – in various styles; and the most recent Formosan Panorama (2011) with the newest outlook in Taiwanese choral music. In addition to having an influence on local choirs in expanding their repertoire, CU Chorus’ performances also made an impact through the internet: a YouTube video of CU Chorus received coverage in an Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, for its wide circulation among Jewish communities worldwide, to great resonance.
Since its establishment, one of CU Chorus’ missions is to promote local choral compositions. CU Chorus has regularly commissioned Hong Kong composers such as Dennis Wu, Samson Young, Andy So and Tang Lok-yin for new pieces. At the pace of one new piece per year,CU Chorus strives to help develop a choral voice unique to Hong Kong. In 2008 and 2009, CU Chorus was invited for demonstrative talks in Shanghai Normal University and Da-yeh University respectively, introducing Hong Kong Cantonese choral compositions to mainland and Taiwanese students, receiving much acclaim.
Over the years, CU Chorus has collaborated with numerous local and overseas artists. Recent examples include local percussionist Louis Siu, Taiwanese conductors Dirk Duhei and John Ku, and American conductor Paul Hondorp. Since the 1970s, CU Chorus has consistently engaged in interflow activities with choirs in mainland China and southeast Asia; cities visited include Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Tainan, Manila, Bangkok, Singapore and Johor Bahru. Beside interflow activities, CU Chorus was also invited to various guest performances overseas, including the 20th Macau International Music Festival in 2006, and the Thailand premiere of Mahler’s 3rd Symphony by Siam Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010.
To lay a better foundation for its never-ending artistic pursuit, CU Chorus established charitable organization status with “CU Chorus Association” (a limited company) in January 2012. The new governing body, with its finer division of labour in artistic, management and administrative aspects, could facilitate the collaboration of CUHK undergraduates, postgraduates and alumni in their efforts to boost CU Chorus — a group coming from and basing in CUHK — to ever-greater artistic heights.