The Orchestra was founded in 1977 and is the only professional, full-sized Chinese orchestra with 85 musicians in Hong Kong. It came under the management of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra Limited on 1st April, 2001 when the latter took over from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong. Under the leadership of the incumbent Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Yan Huichang (1997-date), and former Music Director - Ng Tai-kong (1977-1986), Kuan Nai-chung (1986-1993) and Henry Shek (1993-1997), the Orchestra has been promoting Chinese music as its mission.
The Orchestra is deeply rooted in the Chinese cultural heritage. Its performance format and repertoire include both traditional Chinese music and contemporary full-scale works. It also explores new frontiers in music through commissioning new works of various types and styles, and over the years, has commissioned more than 2,100 original compositions and arrangements. The Orchestra currently has an establishment of 85 musicians who perform in the four sections comprising bowed-strings, plucked-strings, wind and percussion instruments. Traditional as well as improved Chinese instruments are incorporated.